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NATO's Stoltenberg Claims "Documented Evidence" Of Russian Military Presence In Ukraine, OSCE Chief Says No

For the 4th time in February, NATO dispatched Typhoon jets to track a Russian Il-20 today over The Baltic Sea. However, as fighting rages in Ukraine - despite the apparent market excitement at a truce deal - today's biggest news is NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's claims that his alliance has evidence of Russian military presence in Ukraine, despite the 'independent' OSCE chief having stated he saw no Russian troops in Ukraine's east. One wonders if NATO has YouTube proof like that of the American-accented fighter we recently noted.



As TASS reports, NATO Secretay General Jens Stoltenberg claimes that the intelligence service of the alliance has some documented data of Russian military presence in eastern Ukraine. Stoltenberg announced it on air of the Kommersant FM radio.

According to Stoltenberg, the militias of eastern Ukrain wouldn't have been able to achieve the success they are demonstrating without Russia's support.


He said that NATO receives data on Russian military presence in Ukraine from the intelligence services, journalists and other sources but presented no concrete facts.


Moscow has repeatedly denied alleged presence of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in late January that those accusing Russia of sending troops and weapons to the conflict-torn south-eastern Ukraine need to substantiate their accusations with proof.


“We hear a lot about the flow of Russian troops and arms,” Lavrov said speaking at his annual news conference. “And every time I respond that if one speaks with such certainty, than one should present some facts. However, no one is either capable or willing to present the facts.”


The West repeatedly accused Moscow of its alleged military involvement in the embattled south-eastern Ukraine and imposed a wide range of sanctions in regard to Russia. Moscow dismissed the allegations and answered with retaliatory sanctions against the West last summer. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that those Russians taking part in combat operations in the southeast of Ukraine were volunteers and not mercenaries.

However, as TASS reports, the OSCE chief saw no Russian troops in Ukraine's east,

Lamberto Zannier, secretary general of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), told a forum on OSCE’s project coordination in Ukraine he could not confirm the movement or the presence of Russian forces there, while noting certain restrictions on observers’ work, including difficulties with movement in combat zones.


Commenting the new settlement agreements reached on Thursday in Minsk, Zannier said they are the best of existing opportunities to put an end to the conflict in Ukraine's east. However, he said, pullback of heavy weapons does not mean demilitarization of the conflict zone. The Organisation will specify locations, to where the weapons will be taken.


Representatives of the OSCE said during discussions of implementation of the agreements they are ready to provide general monitoring at the border between Ukraine and Russia if their security is guaranteed.

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