In connection with the build-up of Russian military forces on the border with Ukraine, the NATO North Atlantic Council issued a statement urging Russia to stop the escalation.
The text of the statement was released late Thursday by the headquarters of the alliance.
“We are gravely concerned by the substantial, unprovoked, and unjustified Russian military build-up on the borders of Ukraine in recent months, and reject the false Russian claims of Ukrainian and NATO provocations. We call on Russia to immediately de-escalate, pursue diplomatic channels, and abide by its international commitments on transparency of military activities,” the statement reads.
The North Atlantic Council stated “it is seriously assessing the implications for Alliance security of the current situation.” “We will always respond in a determined way to any deterioration of our security environment, including through strengthening our collective defense posture as necessary. NATO will take all necessary measures to ensure the security and defense of all NATO Allies. Any further aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and would carry a high price. NATO will continue to closely coordinate with relevant stakeholders and other international organizations including the EU,” the Alliance said.
In addition, the North Atlantic Council reiterated its support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, and called on Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukraine in accordance with its international obligations and commitments. “We support the right of all countries to decide their own future and foreign policy free from outside interference. NATO’s relationship with Ukraine is a matter only for Ukraine and the 30 NATO Allies. We firmly reject any attempts to divide Allied security,” the Alliance said.
At the same time, the allies conformed that they are “ready for meaningful dialogue with Russia.” “We reiterate our long-standing invitation to Russia for a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in the near future. We are aware of Russia’s recent European security proposals. We are clear that any dialogue with Russia would have to proceed on the basis of reciprocity, address NATO’s concerns about Russia’s actions, be based on the core principles and foundational documents of European security, and take place in consultation with NATO’s European Partners. Should Russia take concrete steps to reduce tensions, we are prepared to work on strengthening confidence-building measures. The OSCE is also a relevant platform,” the statement reads.
(c) Interfax Ukraine