Samaras, NATO chief meet in Athens

Rasmussen says Ukrainian armed forces must not get involved in the crisis

The Ukraine crisis and European defense were at the center of talks Friday between Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

“I condemn the outrageous bloodshed in Ukraine. I urge all parties to stop this tragic spiral of violence," Rasmussen said during a press conference with Samaras as he wrapped a two-day visit to Athens which included attending an informal meeting of EU defense ministers.

The NATO chief urged the Ukrainian government to ensure that the country's armed forces do not get involved in the crisis.

“The Ukrainian military and special forces should not turn on the people of Ukraine. That would have severe consequences for our partnership with Ukraine. The only way forward is dialogue. So I welcome all efforts to find a peaceful solution,” Rasmussen said.

The two men also discussed European efforts to develop military capabilities. “We all need Europe to be strong, so that we can continue to protect our values, and our interests,” the secretary general said.