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NATO foreign ministers to discuss Russian military buildup, Belarus border crisis

NATO foreign ministers will discuss the most pressing security issues, including the Russian military buildup near Ukraine and the migration crisis on the Belarus border in their upcoming meeting next week, the NATO chief announced on Friday.

The top diplomats of NATO countries will meet in Riga, Latvia, Nov. 30-Dec. 1.

The ministers will discuss Russia’s continuing military buildup in and around Ukraine which is “unprovoked and unexplained,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters.

“It raises tensions and it risks miscalculations. Russia must show transparency, reduce tensions and de-escalate,” Stoltenberg said, adding that NATO keeps its “defense and deterrence strong while remaining open for dialogue.”

He said the ministers would also talk about the migration crisis on the border with Belarus, which he called “a cynical exploitation of vulnerable people to put pressure on our allies Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.”

Stoltenberg on Sunday will travel to the Lithuanian capital and then to Riga together with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

“Close cooperation between NATO and the European Union is essential to counter this hybrid campaign, which aims to destabilize our countries,” Stoltenberg said.

The NATO ministers will also examine the security situation in Afghanistan, Ukraine and Georgia, as well as NATO’s role in promoting stability and security in the Western Balkans region amid rising tensions between Serbia and Kosovo and the separatist ambitions in Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Serb entity, the Republika Srpska.

NATO’s next Strategic Concept and the alliance’s contribution to international arms control will also be addressed.