BRUSSELS - NATO on Friday accused Russia of escalating the Ukraine conflict, while pretending to call for its de-escalation, as the British media reported Moscow was sending troops into its neighbor's territory.
NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said the alliance was checking eyewitness reports in two British newspapers that a column of at least 23 Russian military vehicles had crossed into Ukraine overnight.
"If confirmed, they are further evidence that Russia is doing the very opposite of what it's saying. Russia has been escalating the conflict, even as it calls for de-escalation," she said in response to a question from Reuters.
"It is high time that Russia did what it says it wants to do, which is to contribute to a peaceful solution. Russia needs to pull back its troops, stop the flow of arms and fighters over the border with Ukraine, stop supporting the separatists and engage in a genuine and sincere dialogue with Ukraine."
Meanwhile, Ukraine confirmed the Russian military incursion Friday, saying the troops had come from a breakaway pro-Russian eastern checkpoint.
"A Russian military column crossed the border from the border post Izvariné" Ukraine military spokesman Olexiï Dmytrachkivski told AFP. "We do not have information on the number of vehicles in the convoy."