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NATO: Russia could use humanitarian excuse to invade Ukraine

Ukrainian soldiers rest in a camp near the southern Russian town of Gukovo, 5 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, on August 4, 2014. AFP Photo/Sergei Venvavsky

BRUSSELS: Russia has amassed around 20,000 troops on Ukraine's eastern border and could use the excuse of an humanitarian or peacekeeping mission to send them into Ukraine, NATO said in a statement Wednesday.

"We're not going to guess what's on Russia's mind, but we can see what Russia is doing on the ground - and that is of great concern. Russia has amassed around 20,000 combat-ready troops on Ukraine's eastern border," NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said in a statement.

"The latest Russian military build-up further escalates the situation and undermines efforts aimed at finding a diplomatic solution to the crisis. This is a dangerous situation."

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Wednesday the threat of a direct intervention by Russia's military in Ukraine has risen over the last couple of days.

NATO's statement said it was concerned Moscow could use "the pretext of a humanitarian or peacekeeping mission as an excuse to send troops into Eastern Ukraine."

 

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