BRUSSELS, November 5 (RIA Novosti) — NATO should prompt Kiev to enter into dialogue with the representatives of Donbas to show its commitment to reach peace settlement in Ukraine, Russian permanent representative to NATO Alexander Grushko told RIA Novosti Wednesday.
"If NATO was really interested in stability in Ukraine, it would more actively prompt the authorities in Kiev to enter into a lasting dialogue with Donbas representatives who obtained their mandates at the elections, in line with Minsk agreements," Grushko told RIA Novosti.
Grushko criticized NATO for accusing Russia of supporting independence fighters in Ukraine without providing any evidence. In particular, the permanent representative cited the statements of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and General Philip Breedlove, the supreme NATO commander in Europe, on the alleged Russian forces' activities near the border with Ukraine.
"These statements are not substantiated by any facts and usually appear exactly in the time when the Western effort in support of the negotiations process is needed," Grushko added.
Relations between Russia and NATO have deteriorated amid the crisis in Ukraine. The alliance has repeatedly accused Russia of meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs, sending troops to Ukraine, and went as far as to claim that Moscow planned to invade Ukraine. However, none of these statements were supported with any evidence.
After Crimea's reunification with Russia in March 2014, NATO has boosted its military presence close to Russia's border, specifically in Poland and the former Soviet Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
Following the elections of the local governments and representatives of the legislative bodies in Luhansk and Donetsk people's republics on Sunday Kiev has refused to participate in bilateral talks with the representatives of eastern Ukraine.