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NATO insists that Russia has not withdrawn troops from the border with Ukraine

He criticizes that Moscow still does not send its response in writing to start the diplomatic channel

The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, has indicated this Wednesday that a Russian military de-escalation is not perceived on the border with Ukraine and has stressed that Moscow has still not responded in writing to the last letter sent by NATO, which would initiate the path diplomatic mission to address security issues with Russia.

“We do not see any withdrawal of Russian troops and that contradicts the message in favor of diplomatic efforts. It remains to be seen if there will be a Russian withdrawal, we see that they have increased the number of troops and more are on the way. At the moment there is no de-escalation” , the former Norwegian prime minister bluntly assured before the meeting of NATO defense ministers this Wednesday and Thursday in Brussels.

At a time when Moscow claims to have begun to withdraw the troops it maintains on the border and defends continuing dialogue with the United States and NATO, Stoltenberg stressed that the Atlantic Alliance is closely following the evolution of events at the gates of Ukraine and Russia maintains the means to be able to carry out an invasion without prior notice.

“That they move some tanks does not confirm a withdrawal,” said NATO’s political chief, stressing that the trend of recent months is the massive increase in Russian military capabilities in this area.

NATO Defense Ministers are discussing this Wednesday the situation in Ukraine, given the growing tensions with Russia due to its military deployment on the border, a meeting in which they will study whether to reinforce their presence in Eastern Europe with the creation of new battalions of combat.

On the table will also be the latest announcements from the Kremlin about the withdrawal of its forces in Ukraine and Belarus and its willingness to continue diplomatic negotiations, a message that NATO sees with “cautious optimism” but that it considers should be accompanied by a withdrawal of troops and heavy equipment that keep alive the Russian threat against the neighboring country.

At the same time, regarding the possibility of diplomatically channeling the crisis in Ukraine, Stoltenberg has reiterated that the military organization is ready to sit down to negotiate shared security issues with Russia, but has warned that if Moscow opts for military aggression “it will pay a high price”. “We hope that you will choose dialogue instead of confrontation,” he stressed.

Along these lines, he has lamented that the messages in favor of dialogue issued by the Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, have not been accompanied by a written response from Russia at the moment.

NATO sent a letter to Moscow at the end of January, in response to the Russians’ proposals, also in writing, on security issues. The Kremlin then demanded guarantees that NATO would not expand into Eastern Europe, alleging that this expansion poses a threat to its security.

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