16:33 06.08.2014

NATO says Russia can use humanitarian mission to invade eastern Ukraine

2 min read
NATO says Russia can use humanitarian mission to invade eastern Ukraine

NATO expressed its concern that Russia could use the pretext of a humanitarian or peace-keeping mission as an excuse to send troops into eastern Ukraine, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said on Wednesday.

"Russia has amassed around 20,000 combat-ready troops on Ukraine's eastern border. The latest Russian military build-up further escalates the situation and undermines efforts aimed at finding a diplomatic solution to the crisis. This is a dangerous situation," she said.

NATO is concerned that Moscow can use "the pretext of a humanitarian or peace-keeping mission as an excuse to send troops into Eastern Ukraine", she said.

"We're not going to guess what's on Russia's mind, but we can see what Russia is doing on the ground – and that is of great concern," Lungescu said.

The Alliance continues to call on Russia to withdraw its troops from the border with Ukraine, to cut the flow of weapons and gunmen across the Ukrainian border and influence the separatists to make them lay down their weapons and stop the violence, the spokeswoman said.

She said that the worsening of a humanitarian crisis is in eastern Ukraine, which is controlled by pro-Russian separatists, was due to Russia's actions to destabilize the situation in Ukraine.

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