MOSCOW, November 18 (Sputnik) – Russia could continue down a path of isolation if it does not stop fuelling the conflict in southeastern Ukraine, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday.
"The crisis is caused by actions taken by Russia. Russia has a choice. It can either be part of a peaceful, negotiated solution, or Russia can continue on the path of isolation. The international community calls on Russia to be part of a negotiated solution to the crisis in Ukraine. We call on Russia to pull back its forces, to respect the Minsk agreement and stop fuelling the conflict in Ukraine by supporting the separatists," Stoltenberg told reporters as he arrived at the EU Foreign Affairs Council Meeting in Brussels.
The Secretary General added that he welcomed the efforts of the European Union and in particular the German Chancellor Angela Merkel to work toward a peaceful solution to the Ukrainian crisis.
On Monday, Stoltenberg expressed his support for the recent economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union. However, the NATO Secretary General refused to discuss details of the EU foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels, where tighter restrictions against Russia were debated.
The discussion on a new round of sanctions targeting Russia came in the wake of Stoltenberg's announcement that NATO had extensive evidence of the movement of Russian military equipment near Ukraine. The Russian Defense Ministry has denied the claim, stating that no military equipment had been given to independence supporters in the eastern Ukraine.
NATO has repeatedly accused Moscow of its involvement in the Ukrainian crisis, including allegations that Russia has sent tanks and troops to the conflict zone. However, none of the claims have been supported with any evidence.