World Bulletin / News Desk
Russia's destabilizing influence in the region is global not regional and enduring not temporary, the senior NATO commander warned on Wednesday.
"We must strengthen our deterrence in order to manage this opportunistic confidence," U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove told reporters at the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Turkey's southern Antalya province.
Referring to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Breedlove said a permanent solution might be possible that respects states' independence, territorial integrity and international boundaries.
Pro-Russian forces have been battling Ukrainian troops for more than a year, resulting in at least 6,000 deaths, according to the UN. NATO claims Russia is heavily involved in backing the separatists.
NATO and Ukraine voiced concern on Wednesday about Russian statements on the possible future stationing of nuclear weapons in Ukraine's Crimea region, which has been annexed by Moscow.
"We are ... deeply concerned by statements of the Russian leadership with regard to possible future stationing of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems in Crimea, which would be destabilising," NATO and Ukraine foreign ministers said in a joint statement after meeting in Turkey.
The statement also demanded that Russia stop its "continued and deliberate destabilisation of eastern Ukraine".
Turning to the fight against ISIL in Syria, Breedlove said an equip-and-train program in Turkey for Syrian opposition groups was nearly finalized.
Breedlove, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, said the U.S. was working closely with Turkey to identify and vet suitable candidates for the program.Last Mod: 14 Mayıs 2015, 10:06