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NATO skeptical of Russia's intentions of sending peacekeepers into Ukraine

A NATO representative remarked on Wednesday the belief that a Russian-led humanitarian mission into Ukraine, as proposed by the Russian foreign ministry, could be used as "an excuse to send troops into eastern Ukraine," further destabilizing the country.
By JC Finley   |   Aug. 6, 2014 at 1:40 PM  |  Updated Aug. 6, 2014 at 2:38 PM   |   Comments

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BRUSSELS, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- NATO expressed concern Wednesday that Russia's proposal to send Russian peacekeepers into Ukraine could be a pretext for invasion.

Russia's foreign ministry has suggested sending a Russian-led humanitarian mission into Ukraine, an initiative that was expected to be discussed at an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council Tuesday evening.

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said her organization is concerned Moscow would use "the pretext of a humanitarian or peacekeeping mission as an excuse to send troops into eastern Ukraine."

To date, she noted, "Russia has amassed around 20,000 combat-ready troops on Ukraine's eastern border. The latest Russian military build-up further escalates the situation and undermines efforts aimed at finding a diplomatic solution to the crisis. This is a dangerous situation."

Lungescu acknowledged that while "We're not going to guess what's on Russia's mind ... we can see what Russia is doing on the ground -- and that is of great concern."

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