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Published:March 2nd, 2014 18:11 EST

NATO Urges Russia to De-escalate Tensions in Ukraine

By SOP newswire3

American Forces Press Service

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen today urged Russia to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine, according his statements contained in a NATO news release.

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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen comments on the situation in Ukraine before the meetings of the North Atlantic Council and the NATO-Ukraine Commission in Brussels, March 2, 2014. NATO photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Rasmussen commented on the situation in Ukraine before attending meetings of the North Atlantic Council and the NATO-Ukraine Commission in Brussels.

I have convened the North Atlantic Council today because of Russia`s military action in Ukraine. And because of President Putin`s threats against this sovereign nation, " Rasmussen said in the release.

Following a Ukrainian pro-democracy coalition`s recent ouster of Ukraine`s pro-Russian government, the Russian military has been reported to be operating in and around the Crimea region in southeastern Ukraine, where the Russian Navy`s Black Sea Fleet has its principal base in Sevastopol on the Black Sea. The Crimea region is home to an ethic-Russian majority populace.

What Russia is doing now in Ukraine violates the principles of the United Nations Charter, Rasmussen said in the release. Russia`s actions in Ukraine, he added, threaten peace and security in Europe.

Russia must stop its military activities and its threats, " Rasmussen said. Today we will discuss their implications, for European peace and security and for NATO`s relationship with Russia. Afterwards, we will meet in the NATO-Ukraine Commission. "

NATO supports Ukraine`s territorial integrity and sovereignty, Rasmussen said.

We support the right of the people of Ukraine to determine their own future without outside interference, " he said. And we emphasize the need for Ukraine to continue to uphold the democratic rights of all people and ensure that minority rights are protected.

Ukraine is our neighbor, " Rasmussen continued, and Ukraine is a valued partner for NATO. "

Rasmussen said NATO urges all parties to urgently continue all efforts to move away from this dangerous situation.

In particular, I call on Russia to de-escalate tensions, " he added.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia