March 02, 2014 - Spacewar.com (AFP)
Brussels - NATO allies on Sunday urged the deployment of international observers to Ukraine and said the alliance sought "to engage" with Moscow at NATO-Russia talks.
"We urge both parties to immediately seek a peaceful resolution through dialogue, through the dispatch of international observers under the auspices of the United Nations Security Council or the OSCE," said a statement issued after almost eight hours of talks between NATO's 28 ambassadors.
NATO condemned Russia's military escalation in Crimea and expressed "grave concern" about the Russian parliament's authorisation to deploy armed forces in Ukraine.
Any such action would be "a breach of international law" and would contravene the principles of the NATO-Russia Council and NATO's Partnership for Peace, it said.
The allies also said the NATO-Ukraine Commission had met at Kiev's request, adding, "we intend to engage with Russia in the NATO-Russia Council."
Asked to elaborate, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said many members had asked for a meeting with Russia and that there would be one, but he gave no timing.
The statement called on Russia to "honour all its international commitments, to withdraw its forces to its bases, and to refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine.
"We urge both parties to immediately seek a peaceful resolution through dialogue, through the dispatch of international observers under the auspices of the United Nations Security Council or the OSCE," the allies added.
They called also for "an inclusive political process in Ukraine based on democratic values, respect for human rights, minorities and the rule of law, which fulfils the democratic aspirations of the entire Ukrainian people."