Return to diplomacy, NATO, France tell Russia

NATO head Stoltenberg attends meeting in Paris
French Defense Minister Florence Parly and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian greet NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before their meeting in Paris, France December 10, 2021. Bertrand Guay / Pool via REUTERS

December 10, 2021

PARIS (Reuters) – The crisis in Ukraine can only be resolved through diplomacy and Russia must make every effort to reduce tensions, NATO and French officials said on Friday, warning of dire consequences. if Moscow launches a military intervention in Ukraine.

Russia has massed troops on the border with Ukraine, where Kremlin-backed rebels are battling the Kyiv government, raising fears that the country may be preparing to invade.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied he intends to attack Ukraine, but he has resisted what he sees as NATO’s eastern expansion and the deployment of military assets near its borders.

“Russia must de-escalate, respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity (and) get back on the diplomatic track. The crisis requires a political and diplomatic solution,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference in Paris.

Speaking alongside French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Defense Minister Florence Parly, he said the alliance stood in favor of Ukraine’s bid to join NATO.

Presidential adviser to Lithuania Asta Skaisgiryte said that US President Joe Biden on Thursday promised Central European NATO members more military support amid concerns about a Russian military buildup on the border with Ukraine. Lithuanian presidential adviser Asta Skaisgiryte said.

Mr. Skaisgiryte told reporters that Mr. Biden also reassured allies that Washington would not make any deal with Russia on the region behind their backs.

“Any attack on Ukraine’s integrity will have huge strategic consequences,” Le Drian told a news conference.

(Reporting by John Irish in Doha; Editing by Catherine Evans) Return to diplomacy, NATO, France tell Russia


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