NATO's military assistance to Ukraine only escalates tensions: Russia

MOSCOW – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) continues to give military assistance to Ukraine, which the Russian Foreign Ministry says is exacerbating the country's internal crisis.

"NATO countries are boosting the supply of weaponry to Ukraine and training its military personnel, not with the illusory goal of maintaining peace and security, but to merely add fuel to the fire," said Maria Zakharova, the Ministry's Spokesperson.

She voiced fear during her weekly briefing that these measures could lead to a large-scale civil war in Ukraine. According to her, the United States has given Ukraine USD2.5 billion in military aid since 2014, including more than USD400 million this year alone, according to reports.

Russia does not believe NATO's vow not to expand eastwards because the words are not backed up by actions, according to Zakharova. Russia has every right to relocate military units on its sovereign territory, but it has no intention of aggression, the Spokesperson said, in response to allegations that it is building up forces along Ukraine's borders.

Sergei Ryabkov, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister, and Dmitry Kozak, the Kremlin's Deputy Chief of Staff, met Karen Donfried, the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, in Moscow earlier on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Ukraine and the security issue in Europe.

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