Pro-Russian protesters reinforce their barricade Thursday outside the regional state administration building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. (Anatoliy Stepanov / AFP via Getty Images)
SOFIA, BULGARIA — NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has urged Russia to pull back its troops from Ukraine’s borders and enter a dialogue respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty.
The alliance’s chief said Russia’s attempts to draw new dividing lines in Europe by force, to limit the sovereignty of Ukraine, and to recreate a new sphere of influence over other countries run contrary to international norms.
After meeting Friday with Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, he said NATO is taking steps to deal with the instability created by Russia’s “illegitimate” actions. Bulgaria, Ukraine and Russia border the Black Sea.
Rasmussen called for a political solution for the crisis, saying the alliance was not discussing military action over Ukraine. He also urged a halt to the decline in defense budgets. On Thursday he visited the Czech Republic.