NATO will hold an extraordinary meeting of foreign ministers on Friday to discuss Russian military build-up on the border with Ukraine, the alliance said in a statement made Tuesday.
In a video call, the ministers will discuss Russia and “other European security issues,” the statement said. The meeting takes place a few days before a NATO-Russia council, which Russian officials will attend on January 12th. a meeting announced by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg last month.
Tensions between Moscow and the West have increased in recent months, and US officials have warned Moscow could plan a full-scale invasion of its neighbor after it more than 100,000 troops on the border.
The EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell is currently on a two-day visit to Ukraine, which includes a trip to the Eastern Front, where Russia-backed separatists are fighting against Ukrainian government forces.
The two NATO meetings are linked, said an alliance representative. The conference call of NATO foreign ministers on Friday “is part of the ongoing coordination between NATO allies on security in Europe resulting from Russia’s military build-up in and around Ukraine. The meeting is also an opportunity to discuss the upcoming sequence of engagements with Russia, including in the NATO-Russia Council on January 12th. “
Moscow, concerned about the alleged rearmament of Ukraine by the West, has announced that it will demand legally binding guarantees from NATO for the use of weapons and eastward expansion.
A number of other meetings between the Western powers and Russia are planned to ease tensions.
Moscow will hold talks with Ukraine, Germany and France on Thursday in the so-called Normandy format, the Russian state news agency Interfax reported Monday. US and Russian officials will also hold security talks on Monday in genf.
On January 12, the NATO-Russia Council will take place ahead of a broader meeting on January 13 involving the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the US and its NATO allies, and Russia , Ukraine, Georgia and other former Soviet states.