BRUSSELS: NATO is calling talks Sunday on the escalating crisis in Ukraine, the head of the alliance said Saturday.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who heads the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, said on Twitter that he was summoning its 28 ambassadors for emergency talks in Brussels on the “grave situation in Ukraine.”
“NATO Allies coordinate closely on grave sit in Ukraine. North Atlantic Council will meet tomorrow followed by NATO-Ukraine Commission,” he said.
Diplomatic sources said the ambassadors would meet at 1200 GMT with the Ukraine-NATO encounter expected three hours later at 1500 GMT.
“Urgent need for de-escalation in Crimea,” Rasmussen said. “Russia must respect Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity & borders, including with regard to movement of Russian forces in Ukraine.”
Meanwhile Poland’s Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said on Twitter he had asked for a ministerial-level emergency NATO meeting next week on Ukraine.
Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski said earlier his country “could feel threatened by a potential Russian military intervention” in neighboring Ukraine.
Sunday’s NATO meeting comes 24 hours ahead of crisis talks in Brussels between the EU’s 28 foreign ministers.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton urged Russia to refrain from deploying its armed forces in Ukraine and to abide by international law.
Any movement or stationing of troops should comply with international law and commitments, “notably under the UN Charter and the OSCE Final Act, the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 as well as bilateral treaties such as the one regulating the stationing of the Black Sea Fleet.”