US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned Russian President Vladimir Putin over the current situation in Ukraine, saying that “NATO territory is inviolable.”
"Putin's Russia is playing by a different set of rules," Kerry said during a speech at the Atlantic Council's tribute to NATO and the European Union on Tuesday.
"Today Russia seeks to change the security landscape of Eastern and Central Europe," he said. "Whatever path Russia chooses, the United States and our allies will stand together in our defense of Ukraine."
"And most important, together we have to make it absolutely clear to the Kremlin that NATO territory is inviolable. We will defend every single piece of it," he warned.
Kerry also described the events in Ukraine as a “wake-up call” for the US and its NATO allies.
"Together we have to push back against those who want to change sovereign borders by force," the top US diplomat said.
"We find ourselves in a defining moment for our trans-Atlantic alliance; Our strength will come from our unity," he said. "This moment is about more than just ourselves - the fact is that our entire model for global leadership is at stake."
The US accuses Russia of violating Ukraine’s sovereignty by stirring up pro-Russia protests in eastern Ukraine.
Russia denies the allegation, saying the protests have begun spontaneously against what it calls the illegitimate interim government in Kiev.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that the crisis in the eastern European country is the result of the West’s weak policies.