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Russia-Ukraine Tensions Escalate

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NATO foreign ministers called on Russia to de-escalate, warning they stand in solidarity with Ukraine.

This came as tensions between Russia and the US have further soured a day before top officials from both countries are set to meet, with Moscow moving to expel US diplomats.

Speaking from Riga, Latvia, where NATO foreign ministers have gathered for a summit,

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg condemned the build-up of Russian troops and military equipment near the Ukrainian border.

“We see Russian military build-up, we see heavy armour, we see drones, and combat-ready troops.”

“Russia needs to be transparent, and they need to reduce tensions, and de-escalate,” he added.

He stressed that although Ukraine is not a NATO ally, it is “a high partner”.

“We provide support, political, practical support. Allies provide training, capacity building, equipment, and I am absolutely certain that allies will recommit and reconfirm their strong support to Ukraine also during the meeting today,” he said.

Kyiv said there is a link between the situation along its border and the migrant crisis between Belarus and EU. Russia plays a part, he further added.

The EU-Russian relations have witnessed a setback over several issues, mainly Kremlin-

orchestrated cyber-attacks and election interference, the frozen conflict in eastern Ukraine, and the poisoning and jailing of opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, the EU has imposed a set of tight sanctions on Russia.

Russia’s Putin responded positively to the suggestion and expressed willingness to participate in the planned summit.

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