The American envoy to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) said on Tuesday that the U.S. and its allies want Russia to take concrete actions to de-escalate tensions on Ukraine’s border, amid fears that Moscow is prepared to launch a large-scale invasion of the former Soviet state.
The U.S. ambassador to NATO, Julianne Smith, said the U.S. expects Russia to pull back the forces it has massed on Ukraine’s border and commit to engaging with the Minsk agreements, the 2014 diplomatic protocol intended to end fighting in eastern Ukraine.
“We want to see the full implementation of the Minsk agreements with Russia pulling back its forces. But if Russia pursues confrontation, there will be serious consequences,” Smith told reporters during a briefing from Brussels, ahead of a meeting of the NATO-Russia council and set for Wednesday.
The Minsk agreements are a step-by-step guide written between 2014 and 2015 aimed at resolving war in Ukraine’s east, where Ukrainian government forces are battling Russian-backed separatists.
Kyiv and Moscow recommitted to a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine in December, in what was viewed as a welcome confidence-building measure amid Russia’s massing of more than 100,000 troops on the Ukraine’s border and ahead of the diplomatic meetings in Europe. (Read more from “US Wants Russia to Pull Back Troops From Ukraine’s Border” HERE)
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