Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s Secretary-General, on Tuesday urged Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to pull back all troops and heavy weapons from Ukraine as well as to stop supporting the pro-Russian separatists in the region.
Stoltenberg said that he spoke to Lavrov after a meeting in Brussels in Belgium and mentioned that he was concerned over military actions carried out by Russia.
“We also discussed the need for transparency, especially when we have an increased military presence along our borders...for NATO it is important to do whatever we can to avoid that incidents are spiralling out of control,” said Stoltenberg.
Russia has repeatedly denied accusations of sending forces to help the rebels in eastern Ukraine but has admitted that there are Russian nationals fighting in Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk regions alongside separatists.
However, Sunday’s arrests of two alleged Russian officials in eastern Ukraine raised questions over the presence of Russian soldiers in the region.
Over 6,200 people have been killed in the fighting between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists, which started in April 2014 after the separatists gained control of large parts of the two regions.
The fighting broke-out one month after Russia annexed Crimea, Ukraine’s southern peninsula.