A NATO official said on Thursday that Russia has still not implemented the Minsk agreements in full and is persisting with efforts to undermine Ukraine’s political aspirations.
Ted Whiteside, NATO's Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, also told a conference in Budapest that while during the Cold War, deterrence meant stationing hundreds of thousands of troops in Central Europe, NATO will not do that now.
"We need mobile forces nimble enough to come to the assistance of others," Whiteside said in a speech.
Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his French counterpart, Jean-Marc Ayrault, urged Ukraine on Monday to push ahead with reforms needed in order to implement the Minsk peace agreement signed last year in February.
Russia puts the blame for the delay in implementing the agreement on the Kiev government, which is yet to apply measures that would increase autonomy for the eastern regions and allow local elections. Ukraine, meanwhile, says that Russia violates the agreement by sending troops and weapons to back up the rebels.
“We need a readiness from the Russian side to implement the Minsk deal… but we also need Ukraine,” Steinmeier said at Berlin’s Tegel Airport before flying with Ayrault to Kiev.
Earlier last month, the head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which monitors the implementation of the ceasefire, said he was deeply concerned about signs the conflict was escalating despite the peace agreement.
Over 9,000 soldiers and civilians have been killed since the conflict began in April 2014, when pro-Russian rebels rose up after Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimea region following the ousting of Kiev's pro-Russian president by mass protests.