NATO chief says Russia is attacking Ukraine

NEWPORT, Wales, Sept 4 (Reuters) - NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday that Russia was attacking Ukraine, stepping up Western rhetoric against Moscow at the start of a summit of the U.S.-led alliance.

“We are faced with a dramatically changed security environment. To the east, russia is attacking Ukraine,” he told reporters on arrival for the NATO summit in a golf resort outside the Welsh city of Newport.

When asked about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans for a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, Rasmussen said the alliance welcomed efforts to find a peace settlement but what counted was what was happening on the ground. Moscow denies it has troops in Ukraine but NATO says Russia has more than 1,000 soldiers operating in the country.

He said he was sure NATO allies would consider seriously any request from the Iraqi government for assistance in dealing with a growing insurgency by Islamic State militants. (Reporting by Adrian Croft, writing by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Paul Taylor)