Support to separatists "undermines Russia's denials about their military presence in Ukraine"
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Following the shelling of Mariupol, NATO strongly condemmed the escalation of violence by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.
NATO strongly condemned the escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine, following an extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC) on Monday 26 January. The meeting, which was called at the request of the Ukrainians, followed a weekend which saw an upsurge in violence in eastern Ukraine, with the shelling of the port city of Mariupol by Russian-backed separatists.
NATO Ambassadors received an update on the situation in the east of Ukraine from Ihor Dolhov, Ukrainian Ambassador to NATO, and General Koval, Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine.
Following the NUC meeting, the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gave the following statement:
“We condemn the sharp escalation of violence along the ceasefire line in eastern Ukraine by Russia-backed separatists.
This comes at great human cost to civilians. We express our condolences to the Ukrainian people for these tragic losses. Thirty civilians were killed and around a hundred were injured in the attack launched on residential areas of Mariupol. The attack was launched from territory controlled by separatists backed by Russia.
Such indiscriminate attacks are unjustified and unacceptable.
The aggressive actions and provocative statements of the separatists are in direct contradiction with the Minsk agreements.
Yet despite its repeated commitments to work for a peaceful solution, Russia continues to provide them with support, training, equipment and forces.
In recent weeks, Russia has supplied hundreds of pieces of advanced equipment, including rocket systems, heavy artillery, tanks, armoured vehicles and electronic warfare systems.
We call on Russia to stop its support for the separatists immediately, to stop destabilising Ukraine and to respect its international commitments.
We urge all parties to continue all efforts without delay to achieve a peaceful solution, in full conformity with the Minsk agreements.
We reaffirm that an independent, sovereign and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to security in the Euro-Atlantic area.”
Following the meeting, Sir Adam Thomson, UK Permanent Representative to NATO, also tweeted the following remarks:
“The UK continues to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”
“Continued support to separatists with troops &heavy artillery, undermining Russia’s denials about their military presence in Ukraine”
“Russian backed separatists violate Minsk, extend beyond the line of contact and indiscriminately target civilian areas”
“Shelling of Mariupol resulted in civilian deaths and shows #Russian backed separatists extending beyond line of contact”