The sanctions clause is still present.. an extraordinary meeting of NATO to discuss the crisis with Russia

The foreign ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will discuss, on Friday, the tension between Kiev and Moscow, and the Russian military reinforcements on the border with Ukraine.

The meeting – which is being held on an exceptional basis and via video technology – discusses a number of options in the face of what NATO members describe as a Russian escalation against Ukraine, and sanctions remain an option on the table in light of the constant Western threat to impose them.

Today’s meeting comes in light of preparations for a meeting to be held next week between representatives of NATO and Moscow, and days after the visit of the European Union Foreign Policy Commissioner Josep Borrell to the Ukrainian region of Donbass, where he met part of the Ukrainian forces present there.

While NATO seeks a strong and united position on supporting Kiev, Moscow continues to stress time and time again that it will not accept any approach by the alliance to its borders.

Dmitry Kozak, deputy director of the Russian presidential administration, said that Germany and France stressed the importance of the Minsk agreements to resolve the situation in southeastern Ukraine.

After a meeting in Moscow that included representatives of Russia, France and Germany within the framework of the Normandy Quartet concerned with settling the crisis in the Donbass region, Kozak affirmed his refusal to find alternative formulas for the Quartet, and in return, it was agreed to continue contacts with the participation of Ukraine, to speed up the process of resolving the conflict in the southeast of this country.

European insistence

For her part, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stressed today, Friday, that Europe must be a party to any negotiations to reduce tension between Russia and Ukraine.

In comments ahead of crucial security talks scheduled between the United States and Russia next week, von der Leyen said during a press conference in Paris, “Whatever the solution, Europe must be involved.”

Ukraine had accused Russia of mobilizing up to 100,000 soldiers near its borders in preparation for its attack by the end of January, and Western statements about unusual Russian military build-ups on the border with Ukraine have been repeated.

However, Russia denied that it was planning to invade Ukraine, and described reports of a possible invasion of this country as false propaganda, accusing Kiev of planning a military escalation in the Donbass region, and this region in eastern Ukraine has been witnessing since 2014 a military conflict between government forces and pro-Russian separatists.

Russia is raising the issue of security guarantees in response to Ukraine’s bid to join NATO, and Moscow has made proposals to limit NATO’s military influence in the former Soviet republics.

On the other hand, the United States and other Western countries have warned Russia that it will face severe consequences – including harsh economic sanctions – if it attacks Ukraine.

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