The G7 foreign ministers and the head of EU diplomacy on Monday called on Russia to stop its “provocations” and to engage in “de-escalation” at the borders of Ukraine where it has concentrated troops.
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“We call on Russia to end its provocations and immediately de-escalate tensions in accordance with its international obligations,” they said in a joint statement.
“These large-scale troop movements, taking place without prior notification, constitute a threat and a factor of destabilization”, they stressed, also calling on Moscow for “transparency” in terms of military movements “as it has committed to doing. at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
They also reaffirmed their “unwavering support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders” and praised “Ukraine’s restraint” in the new tensions.
Ukraine, which fears the Kremlin is looking for a pretext to attack it, has accused Russia of massing more than 80,000 troops near its eastern border and in Crimea, annexed by Moscow in 2014.
According to Kiev, the pro-Russian separatists also have 28,000 combatants and more than 2,000 Russian military advisers and instructors in the territory they have controlled since 2014 in the east of the country.
The United States warned Moscow on Sunday against any aggression in Ukraine. “There will be consequences,” warned US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is expected in Brussels on Tuesday for discussions with NATO Allies on several hot issues, including Russian-Ukrainian tensions.
The head of Ukrainian diplomacy, Dmytro Kuleba, will also visit NATO on Tuesday for talks on Russian troop movements.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on NATO to speed up his country’s membership in order to send a “real signal” to Russia. But NATO is observing the greatest caution on this request.
Russia, for its part, claims that Kiev is preparing an offensive against the rebels, threatening to come to the rescue of the population in the separatist zones, where hundreds of thousands of Russian passports have been distributed.