NATO Touts Increased Forces Amid Ongoing Ukraine Talks

As heads of state gathered this week to discuss the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, signs of increased military posturing emerged from Washington and Europe, as the White House considered arming Ukrainian troops against separatist rebels and NATO signaled that it would beef up its presence on the border to aid Ukraine.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Ukraine this week to join German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, who are planning to introduce an initiative that they say would end the fighting and would be “based upon the full territorial integrity of Ukraine,” according to Hollande. Merkel and Hollande are set to travel to Russia next week to present the plan to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Speaking from a news conference in Kiev, Kerry called on Russia to agree to a cease-fire, pull back troops and weapons from Ukraine, and close their neighboring borders.

The Russian government has repeatedly denied that it has been sending military personnel and equipment into Ukraine. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told CNN that Kerry’s speech “just shows the unwillingness and inability of the United States to participate in settlement of the Ukrainian crisis.”

“As for Russian tanks, allegedly crossing Russian-Ukrainian border, we’ve commented on this before—there are no Russian tanks or army in Ukraine, such accusations are not true,” he added.