MOSCOW (Sputnik) — NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday accused Russia once again of allegedly providing independence fighters in eastern Ukraine with weapons and military equipment.
“Russia has transferred in recent months over one thousand pieces of equipment, tanks, artillery and air defense systems. They have to withdraw this equipment and stop supporting the separatists,” Stoltenberg said in a joint press conference with Italian prime minister in Rome.
Since the start of the Ukrainian conflict in April 2014, the West has repeatedly accused Russia of its alleged meddling in the fighting, including sending troops and arms to the embattled region.
In late January, Jens Stoltenberg said NATO saw an increase in Russian equipment deliveries to eastern Ukraine, including tanks, artillery and armored vehicles. The Secretary General’s statement dubbed Ukrainian president, who said Russian troops, tanks and heavy artillery were present on the Ukrainian territory.
Russia has denied all the claims, saying they were groundless. Moscow has also raised concerns over NATO's increased military presence in eastern Europe and the Black Sea over the past several months, saying it could disrupt strategic balance in the region.