NATO urges Moscow to wirthdraw armed forces from Ukraine's Crimea

North Atlantic Council communique says Russia`s military action against Ukraine is a breach of international law and contravenes the principles of the NATO-Russia Council and the Partnership for Peace.

North Atlantic Council communique says Russia`s military action against Ukraine is a breach of international law and contravenes the principles of the NATO-Russia Council and the Partnership for Peace.

BRUSSELS - NATO members have released a statement saying that Russia must respect its obligations under the UN Charter, on which peace and stability in Europe rest.

"Military action against Ukraine by the forces of the Russian Federation is a breach of international law and contravenes the principles of the NATO-Russia Council and the Partnership for Peace," said the NATO statement.

"We call upon Russia to honor all its international commitments, to withdraw its forces to its bases, and to refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine," said the North Atlantic Council (NAC) of NATO after its meeting of member countries in NATO headquarters, Brussels to discuss the events unfolding in Ukraine.

The communique, agreed by all 28 members of NATO, said the North Atlantic Council condemned the Russian Federation’s military escalation in Ukraine`s Crimea, and expressed grave concern over the permission by the Russian parliament to use Russian armed forces on the territory of Ukraine`s Crimean Autonomous Republic.

NATO called on Russia to de-escalate tensions and honor its international commitments, including those set out in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, the Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation between Russia and Ukraine of 1997, and the legal framework regulating the presence of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

The alliance urged Moscow to withdraw its forces to its bases, and to refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine.

The communique also said both parties must immediately seek a peaceful resolution through bilateral dialogue, with international facilitation, as appropriate, and through the dispatch of international observers under the guidance of the UN Security Council or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

NATO members made clear that they would stand by Ukraine as a valued partner for the alliance and a founding member of the Partnership for Peace, reiterating their support for Ukrainian sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and the right of the Ukrainian people to determine their own future, without outside interference.

They also pointed out an inclusive political process in Ukraine based on democratic values, respect for human rights, minorities and the rule of law, which fulfills the democratic aspirations of the entire Ukrainian people.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the NATO-Ukraine Commission convened after the North Atlantic Council meeting at Ukraine’s request, adding that they intend to engage with Russia in the NATO-Russia Council.

On Saturday, Lithuania and Latvia called upon the North Atlantic Council, the decision-making body of NATO, to hold an extraordinary session on Ukraine, citing security concerns.

On Saturday, Putin requested Russia’s Parliament to pass a motion to deploy Russian troops in Crimea, after Sergey Aksenov, the prime minister of the autonomous Republic of Crimea, called "for assistance in guaranteeing peace on the territory of the autonomous Republic of Crimea." The Kremlin said it would not disregard the appeal.

Claiming control of the security forces in the country, Aksenov said that the military, police and other security services would receive orders directly from him, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

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