NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe visits Ukraine
General Sir Richard Shirreff, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, headed up a NATO delegation that visited Ukraine from 23 to 27 July 2012 for high-level discussions on operational cooperation and support for defence reform.
When in Kyiv, on 24 July, General Sir Richard Shirreff met the Ukrainian Defence Minister, Dmytro Salamatin, and the Chief of the General Staff and Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Lieutenant-General Volodymyr Zamana. They discussed the current status of cooperation between Ukraine’s armed forces and NATO, as well as ways to improve collaboration and enhance Ukraine’s operational capabilities.
“You have started a great job of reforming all spheres of activity of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Today, such reforms are taking place in almost all NATO armies. We are ready to provide any support to Ukrainian soldiers and help them along the way,” said General Sir Richard Shirreff.
Minister Salamatin highlighted the importance of cooperation with NATO. “For us, the experience of the Alliance is a valuable asset. The better we learn it, the more effective our actions will be as the part of multinational units in joint missions and operations,” he said.
Lieutenant-General Zamana briefed the NATO delegation on the ongoing reform process in the Ukrainian armed forces and on defence cooperation with NATO. “Ukraine and its Armed Forces see themselves in the European community. Today, we are doing everything to be prepared for effective joint actions with our partners from the armies of the leading world countries,” he said.
On 25 July, the NATO delegation visited the Hetman Sahaidachny Frigate of the Ukrainian Navy in Sevastopol, which is expected to be deployed in support of NATO's counter-piracy operation off the Horn of Africa in 2013.
In Sevastopol, General Sir Richard Shirreff met the Acting Commander of the Naval Forces of Ukraine, Vice Admiral Yuri Ilyin. “Today’s visit has been the second high level visit of this kind in the last two years. We take this as a positive signal since such visits testify to the fact that the Ukrainian Navy enjoys a high level of cooperation with the fleets of leading world countries,” said the Vice Admiral after the meeting.