NATO’s secretary-general has voiced concern Russia may be attempting to “stage a pretext” for an attack on Ukraine following reports of shelling in the country’s conflict-hit east.
Jens Stoltenberg’s warning, delivered at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, came amid competing claims from across the front line in Ukraine’s years-long war with Moscow-backed separatists.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said pro-Russian forces had shelled a kindergarten in what he called a “big provocation”.
For its part, the Kremlin said Moscow was “seriously concerned” about reports of an escalation after the separatists accused government forces of opening fire on the territory they hold four times in the past 24 hours.
Al Jazeera’s Neave Barker reports from Brussels, Belgium.
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