BRUSSELS, November 17 (Sputnik) — NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference on Monday he welcomed rounds of EU sanctions imposed on Russia so far, but refused to comment on the recent meeting of EU foreign ministers who considered tighter curbs on Moscow.
"When it comes to the economic sanctions imposed by the European Union, I welcome the sanctions – but then I will not now speculate on what the European Union will do at the meeting they have today," Stoltenberg said in Brussels, Belgium.
The NATO chief stressed he believed sanctions to be "important" because they made it "very clear that it has a cost to behave in the way Russia is behaving, and there has to be a reaction; and the sanctions impose a cost on Russia as long as they behave in the way they do".
Earlier today, European Union foreign ministers met in Brussels to discuss the situation in eastern Ukraine. According to the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, its chief, Linas Linkevicius, called on his EU colleagues to consider new sanctions against Russia in the wake of NATO reports about alleged troops movement close to east Ukrainian borders.
The debate came after Jens Stoltenberg told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera last Friday that the alliance had extensive evidence of the movement of Russian military equipment near Ukraine. Russia's Defense Ministry stressed no Russian military equipment or ammo had been provided to independence supporters in eastern Ukraine.
Relations between Moscow and NATO have deteriorated amid the crisis in Ukraine. The military bloc has repeatedly accused Russia of meddling in the Ukrainian crisis, including sending troops to Ukraine, and went as far as to claim that Moscow planned to invade its neighbor. However, none of these statements were supported with any evidence.