NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg admitted that Russia had pulled in a large number of troops to the Ukrainian border. However, he stressed that one should not speculate on a potential new invasion of the territory of Ukraine by Russian forces yet.
What we see around Ukraine now is a large Russian military build-up. We see an unusual concentration of forces. And we also know that Russia has demonstrated both the will and the capability to use military force against Ukraine before. We saw that when they illegally annexed Crimea, and we have seen it over many years in the way they operate supporting the separatists in Donbas. So therefore, I think none of us should speculate too much about this... We call on Russia to be transparent on their military activities, to reduce tensions, and to prevent any escalation. This is a clear message from all NATO Allies," he stated during a joint press conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba in Brussels.
Stoltenberg once again stressed NATO members' adamant support for the Ukrainian side and their readiness to respond to aggressive actions on the part of Russia. The Secretary General added that the exercises of the Alliance countries and its allies in the Black Sea region in no way threatened the Russian Federation.
The Head of the Ukrainian MFA stated that it was too early to judge Moscow's plans with regard to Ukraine, but Ukraine must be ready for any scenario.
Context. Over the past few weeks, Western media have been actively spreading information about the concentration of Russian forces near the Ukrainian border. Earlier, Kuleba suggested that by pulling in troops to the Ukrainian border, the Kremlin was probably looking for an opportunity to make headway deeper into Ukrainian territory.
At the same time, the Russian Federation stated that the redeployment of military equipment and soldiers inside the country is an internal matter of Russia. Moscow also stressed that this information was "low-quality bogus stories".
Last week, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated in a video address to the citizens that in the eighth year of the war, the information about the massing of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border was nothing new. He added that the dissemination of such data "can help the enemy to become part of the information war and cause the country no less harm than hostilities."