NATO and Russia to meet over Ukraine crisis
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
BRUSSELS – The NATO alliance announced it will meet with Russia in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss the crisis in Ukraine.
Russia accepted Tuesday NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen`s proposal to discuss developments in Ukraine.
After a separate consultation meeting of the alliance`s decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council, Rasmussen said Russia`s grip on Crimea presented "serious implications for the security and stability of the Euro Atlantic area."
"Despite repeated calls by the international community, Russia continues to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and continues to violate its international commitments," Rasmussen added.
On Monday, reports mentioned a Russian ultimatum that Ukrainian forces in Crimea should surrender to Russian troops on the ground.
In a press conference Tuesday, Russia`s President Vladimir Putin denied having issued the ultimatum. He said military operations in Crimea were a possibility, but not currently necessary.
The North Atlantic Council`s meeting Tuesday came at Poland`s request that NATO implement Article 4 of its alliance`s treaty.
NATO`s Article 4 proposes a collective defense in the case that Allied countries feel their “territorial integrity, political independence or security” is threatened.
On Saturday, Putin requested that Russia’s Parliament pass a motion to deploy Russian troops in Ukraine’s Crimea region, after the autonomous Republic of Crimea`s Prime Minister - Sergey Aksenov - called "for assistance in guaranteeing peace on the territory of the autonomous Republic of Crimea."
The Kremlin said it would not disregard the appeal.
Russian armed troops remain in Crimea, where they have taken control of all top institutions, important roads and airports, in a move that the West considers a violation of international law.
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