NATO warns Russia over re-escalation of conflicts in Ukraine

Euro-Atlantic alliance warns Russia over upsurging violence that gradually undermines fragile peace in eastern Ukraine, saying that Moscow’s support for separatist rebels in order to enable them to gain more territory would be unacceptable

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

The NATO Alliance warned Russia on Wednesday over the renewed conflicts in eastern Ukraine where a fragile peace was endangered since the beginning of this month between Russian-backed separatist rebels and Kiev army.  

The NATO said in a statement that the rebels’ attempts at gaining more Ukrainian territory by the Russian support would be “unacceptable” since the parties have pledged to abide by the truce that was settled in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, seven months ago.

The Alliance said the upsurging conflicts have been undermining relative peace and stability in the region and added that the issue has been exhaustively discussed among the member states which recommend the belligerents to restrain the ongoing conflicts.

"Russia has a special responsibility to find a political solution. Any attempt by the Russian-backed separatists to take over more of Ukraine's territory would be unacceptable to the international community," NATO deputy spokeswoman Carmen Romero said in the statement.

Last week, the Ukrainian military reported that pro-Russian separatist rebels have launched the heaviest artillery attacks in the restive eastern region, hereby, warned on the further escalation of 15 months of military conflict.

Ukraine and the separatist forces based in Donetsk and Luhansk provinces in the Donbass region have been conflicting since the annexation of Crimea by Russia last year.

A Western and Russian mediated ceasefire was imposed on the parties twice under the auspices of Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

But the fragile peace has been frequently violated by both Kiev forces and the separatists since February deal that was reached in the Belarussian capital Minsk.

The fresh conflicts that caused to death of dozens of soldiers, rebels and civilians since the last week have been intensified around the southern port city of Mariupol which straddles between the rebel-held Donbass region and the annexed Crimea.

Ukrainian army spokesman Andriy Lysenko claimed that the separatist attacks aimed to seize Starohnativka - a small town between Donetsk and Mariupol - which is a vital corridor to the Crimean Peninsula to where Russia has no direct land access.

Moscow is planning to construct a bridge over the Kerch strait in order to bind Russia with Crimea which was considered as “novoRossiya (new Russia),” when Russian President Vladimir Putin once termed the Tauric Peninsula after its reunification with the Russian Federation.

Previously another Ukrainian military spokesman Yaroslav Chepurny had warned that Mariupol was under offensive threat posed by the pro-Russian separatists due to its strategic importance.

"The main danger [to Mariupol] - is in the further approach routes to the city - from the direction of Granitnoe, Starohnativka. We knew about this and were prepared," Chepurny said.  

Since Ukrainian authorities have shown two Russian soldiers who were captured during a battle with the pro-Russian separatists in June, both Ukraine and the West started to voice up against Russia’s alleged role in the country’s restive east.

The West increased pressure over Moscow which has long been accused of its military support, including of sending weapons and troops to fight on behalf of the separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk.

The NATO has been warning Russia since the very beginning of this year for its responsibility and increasing involvement in the ongoing separatist war in eastern Ukraine.

Russia denies such allegations and accusations made by both Kiev and the West and says that its soldiers have only been patrolling the porous borders with the eastern Ukraine.

Putin several times reiterated that the Kremlin was still committing the truce which he perceives as balanced and fair and said if Russia did not agree with its contents, it would not have signed it.

According to the UN figures, nearly 6,900 people have been killed and 16,000 people wounded during more than 15 months of fierce fightings between Kiev army and the separatist rebels in Ukraine.


TRTWorld, Reuters