Joint press point
with NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller and the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Volodymyr Groysman
Thank you very much.
Prime Minister Groysman, welcome to NATO Headquarters. It’s a real pleasure and honour to see you here today, sir.
The Secretary General regrets very much being unable unwell today and unable to meet with you today.
We just discussed the serious situation in eastern Ukraine and NATO’s support for your country.
Since Russia’s aggressive actions began three years ago, NATO has stood by Ukraine. This will not change. Last night, I chaired a special meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission where we discussed the latest facts on the ground. Every single Ally took the floor to express strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
NATO does not, and will not, recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and we condemn Russia’s continuing destabilisation of eastern Ukraine.
We are deeply concerned by the recent spike in violence. The ceasefire has been violated almost every day for the last two years. But last week, the OSCE, the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe, registered over 10,000 ceasefire violations in a single day. Including with heavy equipment banned under the Minsk Agreements. We have seen the heaviest fighting in the past two years. We must not accept this as the “new normal”. It is essential that OSCE monitors are granted free access to all of Ukraine. Up to the border with Russia, as required by the Minsk Agreements. So I call on all parties to honour their commitments.
Russia has a special responsibility in this regard. Ukraine is continuing on the path of reform and anti-corruption despite these very difficult circumstances. And the Prime Minister and I just had a very serious discussion about the continuation of the reform process in Ukraine. I commend you on your efforts.
I encourage Ukraine to continue to press ahead with such reforms. NATO will continue to provide political and practical support to Ukraine. Through our Comprehensive Assistance Package, and through Trust Funds.
- We are supporting a Regional Airspace Security Programme, to help Ukraine better handle air security incidents.
- Our Medical Rehabilitation programme has helped over 150 servicemen and women of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
- Our Defence Education Programme has trained nearly 800 Ukrainian military personnel last year.
- We have provided anti-corruption training and advice to Ukrainian ministries and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau.
- And we are helping Ukraine to establish a centre to monitor and investigate cyber security incidents.
Overall, we are also helping Ukraine reform its security and defence institutions.
To enable Ukraine to better defend itself.
And resist the threat of hybrid warfare.
Prime Minister Groysman, again, welcome to NATO, a very warm welcome.
We look forward to continuing to work closely with you and your colleagues.
Please sir, you have the floor.
DYLAN WHITE [Acting Deputy Spokesperson]: Thank you, we’ll go to Unian please.
Q: Good afternoon here, my name is Irina Somer, Ukrainian News Agency Unian. I have a follow up question for Deputy Secretary General. Because you got invitation from Ukrainian Prime Minister to visit Ukraine together with the North Atlantic Council because last time it was hundreds years ago, when do you think this visit can take place? And another question on yesterday NATO Ukraine Commission I saw in the news that it was written that NATO will increase political pressure on Russia. So how exactly you see it to happen? And question for Prime Minister.
[Interpreted]: Prime Minister did you, did you achieve any results in the headquarters? These results that you have expected?
ROSE GOTTEMOELLER (NATO Deputy Secretary General): In terms of our upcoming visit, I support an effort by the North Atlantic Council to visit, to visit Ukraine. It is a matter of scheduling, it’s something that has to be worked out but I am recommending the visit and it hasn’t been a hundred years since I visited Ukraine, it’s just been actually I think two years ago which is too long, I need to come back again. So I’m very much looking forward to a near term visit and I was honoured and pleased to hear an invitation from the Prime Minister not only for the North Atlantic Council which I think is a terrific idea but also for me personally to visit Ukraine and I’m looking forward to that opportunity soon. In terms of our support for Ukraine you heard how the, the group around the table yesterday when we had our extraordinary meeting of the NUC, the commission that is the NATO Ukraine special body, we heard unanimity around the table. So at a very high level there is strong support from all the allies to Ukraine and to, to the efforts Ukraine has underway to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty. I can also say from the point of view of this institution, this institution also supports Ukraine very, very strongly and prominently with the Secretary General himself frequently speaking out in support of Ukraine and Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty but also in terms of the many programs that we have underway which I outlined in my remarks. So I think we have not only a kind of moral strength in our support for Ukraine but we’re backing it up with concrete programs as well.
VOLODYMYR GROYSMAN (Prime Minister of Ukraine): [Interpreted]: I am satisfied with this working meeting. I would like to underline that what we have heard today is that the unanimous full scale support of Ukraine in this difficult times. We appreciate very highly our common cooperation, joint cooperation with NATO in all these spheres and we are grateful for this all around support. I would like to underline that we have an action plan and the government has approved it, the President will sign it soon, it means that we will enhance our cooperation through using different tools including trust funds which are been created today and that have to get support from the allies. It’s in the education, education of our military and many others spheres which include our cooperation, we have talked separately today that we will enhance our cooperation in the direction of our emergency services in Ukraine. That I would like to underline that those events that took place in Adviivka, we managed to control, to take control of the situation due to the professionality and competence of the workers of our emergency service. But if we manage to strengthen their technical equipment possibilities, equipment capacity that will help us to resist Russian aggression. And I would like to express again my personal gratitude for this very resultative talk for the fact that Ukraine is constantly in the radar and in the focus of the General Secretary, of you personally, of the North Atlantic Council and we think that after such contacts our task is to enhance our cooperation. We have a very precise plan of action which will allow us to implement reforms and they will be on the NATO standards, according to the NATO standards. So we are going on and our interaction is helping us to provide reforms.
DYLAN WHITE: Danish Media please.
Q: Mina Skau of the Danish News Agency Ritzau. Question for the Prime Minister. After the recent change at the top in Washington and the different political signals from the president and some of his top officials, are you still confident that, and I would say also what President Trump has said about President Putin and Russia, are you still confident that the U.S. stands by Ukraine and you have the unwavering support of the United States?
VOLODYMYR GROYSMAN: [Interpreted]: I am sure that the new president, newly elected President Trump, he is a leader, he will always fight for democracy and democratic values. And I am also certain that he will continue to be a world leader. This is my personal opinion, I believe in that and I’m sure it will happen. You know that recently there was a telephone conversation between the President of Ukraine, President Poroshenko with the President of United States, and they have agreed that there will be, the visit from our president to America will take place very soon and I hope it will be very resultative. And I really reiterate that I do believe that the United States of America will always support justice and I think justice is now on the side of Ukraine.
DYLAN WHITE: Thank you. Lady in the front please.
Q: Allana Bromovich (sp?), 112 Ukraine. [Interpreted]: I have a question to both speakers, talking about the changes of the, establishment in USA. Well there are some programs from NATO supporting Ukraine in the context of what Trump said about doubting about NATO and diminishing their financing, would it influence the programs that run with Ukraine? And did you discuss whether the new diminished funding of NATO from United States will diminish support for Ukraine? Did you discuss it today?
ROSE GOTTEMOELLER: President Trump has not been supporting diminished funds for NATO, he has been supporting that all allies step forward and increase defence burden sharing. Meaning that allies who are not at this moment spending two per cent of their gross domestic product or GDP on defence need to up their game as we say. They need to increase their investments in defence and provide additional resources to this alliance. So this is a goal that has been shared by a number of U.S. presidents for as long as I can remember. George W. Bush, President Obama, they all supported this goal and the Secretary General and I, Jens Stoltenberg and I definitely have been pushing this goal as a very, very important one. It was also inscribed in two important summit documents starting in Wales and then again reemphasised at Warsaw just this past summer that this is an area where a number of allies have to pay attention and have to plan for more defence spending. So in answer to your question I think that and I expect and hope that there will be more resources available for the NATO alliance, I can’t say what proportion of those would be devoted to programs or projects with Ukraine but I do and I think I laid out the vigorous already agenda of cooperation that we have. So I think that enhanced resources for this alliance can only be helpful to our joint programs and projects with Ukraine.
DYLAN WHITE: If that’s, thank you very much that’s all we have time for. Thank you.
ROSE GOTTEMOELLER: Thank you.