These developments are even more worrying as they coincide with a major escalation in Russian military involvement in Eastern Ukraine since mid-August, including the use of Russian forces. In addition, Russian artillery support – both cross-border and from within Ukraine – is being employed against the Ukrainian armed forces. We have also seen transfers of large quantities of advanced weapons, including tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and artillery to separatist groups in Eastern Ukraine. Moreover, NATO is observing an alarming build-up of Russian ground and air forces in the vicinity of Ukraine.
Instead of de-escalating the situation, Russia continues to escalate it, despite the efforts of the international community to find a political solution to the crisis. This can only lead to Russia’s further isolation. I strongly urge Russia not to take further provocative actions, to stop destabilising Ukraine and to take genuine steps to resolve this dangerous situation with full respect of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and international law.