NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the strengthening of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine continues. Earlier this month, Western intelligence services found that Russia had assembled 75,000 to 100,000 troops there.
“We see them gathering more and more armed forces – artillery, combat troops and tanks,” he said in Brussels on the sidelines of a meeting with Romanian Prime Minister Ciucă.
Stoltenberg has also said he wants to talk to the Russians as soon as possible. “We remain open to consultations and I intend to convene the NATO-Russia Council as soon as possible in the new year.”
This council is an advisory body in Brussels where NATO and Russia can discuss security issues. She last met in July of last year. Russia did not accept the following invitations.
Hard iron kremlin
The Kremlin said on Friday the hard requirement that NATO distances itself from Ukraine and withdraws virtually all of its troops and weapons from former Warsaw Pact member states such as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
President Putin reiterated this request today. In a speech to senior Russian officers, he blamed NATO for rising tensions. NATO has spread further and further east since the late 1990s. “The situation has gotten worse and worse,” Putin said. “And now we’re in a situation where we have to sort it out somehow.”
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