U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned Western powers Tuesday “there is no military solution” to the Ukraine crisis, as NATO prepares to upgrade its combat readiness in eastern Europe.
Ban said he was greatly concerned at developments in Ukraine and wanted to avoid further deterioration in a crisis “that has been developing into a very chaotic and dangerous situation”.
“It has regional and even global implications,” he told reporters during a visit to New Zealand.
“That is why I have been reaching out to Ukrainian and Russian authorities, the highest authorities, to address this issue and sit down together and resolve it peacefully through dialogue.”
Ban acknowledged Western concerns about gains in eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian insurgents, who Kiev says are backed by Russian forces but Moscow insists are separatist rebels.
“I know the European Union, the Americans and most of the Western countries are discussing very seriously among themselves how to handle this matter,” he said.
“What is important at this time is that they should know there is no military solution in this. There should be a political dialogue for a political solution, that is the more sustainable way.”
His remarks come as NATO prepares for a summit in Wales this week where is it set to bolster its capability in eastern European member states spooked by Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
The summit will boost NATO’s rapid response force, creating a spearhead of several thousand troops which can deploy within days to regional hotspots, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Monday.
A U.N. report last week estimated nearly 2,600 people had been killed since the conflict erupted in eastern Ukraine in mid-April, with about 430,000 people fleeing their homes.
The United States and the European Union have imposed a series of sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis, the worst standoff between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.