Ukraine crisis: No sign Russian troops are withdrawing from border, says Nato chief

His statement came before the Romanian President said the US plans to increase the number of troops stationed at the Mihail Kogalniceanu base

There is no evidence to suggest that Russia is withdrawing troops from its border with Ukraine, the chief of Nato said on Tuesday before a meeting of the military alliance in Brussels.

But ahead of Nato negotiations, the first to be held between foreign ministers of the alliance to discuss its response the Ukrainian crisis, Nato Chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said: “ Unfortunately, I cannot confirm that Russia is withdrawing its troops."

“This is not what we are seeing," he added.

Following Rasmussen's comments, Romania's President Traian Basescu said that the US has asked to increase the number of troops and aircraft it has stationed at a the Mihail Kogalniceanu Black Sea air base in eastern Romania.

Washington wants to add up to 600 troops to the 1,000 currently stationed at the air base, as well as military aircraft "for specific missions," President Basescu explained on Tuesday.

The US has used the base as an equipment store and deployment hub in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Rasmussen's statement came after Russian President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a telephone call that around 500 Russian troops are being withdrawn from the Ukrainian border, according to her office.

Since the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February, Moscow has sent tens of thousands of its forces to the border - a move that has raised fears over its territorial ambitions and its plans of an incursion into other parts of the country.

During Nato negotiations, ministers will consider options ranging from stepped-up military exercises and sending more forces to eastern member states, to the permanent basing of alliance forces in those countries - a step Moscow would view as provocative.

Read more: Darth Vader to stand as Ukrainian presidential candidate
British troops to mobilise in joint Nato military exercises in eastern Europe
Ukraine does not work as ‘unified’ state warns Sergey Lavrov

Asked if Nato could station forces permanently in the small former Soviet Baltic states, Rasmussen said: "We are now considering all options to enhance our collective defence, including further development of our defence plans, enhanced exercises and also appropriate deployments."

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told reporters as he arrived that he would welcome “some more prominent Nato presence in Poland.”

Since the Crimea crisis erupted, the United States has increased the number of US aircraft in regular Nato air patrols over the Baltic States and has beefed up a previously planned training exercise with the Polish air force.

Meanwhile, Russian officials warned Ukraine, which is not a member the military alliance, against integration with Nato on Tuesday. Moscow warned that Kiev's previous attempts to move closer to it had had unwelcome consequences.

“[Past attempts] led to a freezing of Russian-Ukrainian political contacts, a headache between Nato and Russia and ... to a division in Ukrainian society,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick