NATO warns Russia to remove military forces in Ukraine

By @preciousvsilva on
Putin attending news conference in Moscow
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia, December 17, 2015. Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted on Thursday that the country has deployed personnel in Ukraine. This prompted the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to call out Moscow to remove the troops, citing Russia's social responsibility to take out forces in line with the peace terms agreed upon last February.
Russia has denied consistently that it has military presence in Ukraine although there has been piling evidence on the matter. This changed during a press conference on Thursday.
"We never said there were no people there who carried out certain tasks including in the military sphere," Putin said in the conference. He reiterated that having regular Russian troops is different from what they are doing in Ukraine.
“What he said today is basically the same as we have stated all along,” Wall Street Journal quoted Jens Stoltenberg, secretary-general of the NATO. “He has confirmed Russia has personnel in eastern Ukraine and these personnel have conducted military activities. That is what we normally call soldiers.”
Stoltenberg explained how tensions in Ukraine have escalated. Russian-backed separatists are increasingly violating the ceasefire agreement. “There is a real risk of a resumption of violence,” added Stoltenberg. Ukraine still does not have full control of its borders. Russia still has not withdrawn all its troops or equipment.”
Putin addressed concerns on the corruption, Russian economy, Syria and the tensions with Turkey in the press conference. He also maintained that if shooting down Moscow's warplane was an accident, Turkey should have contacted Russia first before NATO.
“Someone in the Turkish leadership tried to lick the Americans in a particular place. I don’t know whether the Americans needed that,” said Putin. The president repeated Russia's commitment in its Syria campaign. The country will also be working towards a political resolution along with the United States as he believes that Russia's goal is in line with the objectives of the U.S.
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