NATO Secretary General statement after the extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission
We have just held an extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, following the serious escalation of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. The meeting was held at Ukraine’s request.
Despite Moscow’s hollow denials, it is now clear that Russian troops and equipment have illegally crossed the border into eastern and south-eastern Ukraine. This is not an isolated action, but part of a dangerous pattern over many months to destabilise Ukraine as a sovereign nation.
Russian forces are engaged in direct military operations inside Ukraine. Russia continues to supply the separatists with tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery and rocket launchers. Russia has fired on Ukraine from both Russian territory and within Ukraine itself. Moreover, Russia continues to maintain thousands of combat-ready troops close to Ukraine’s borders. This is a blatant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It defies all diplomatic efforts for a peaceful solution.
Today, we expressed strong solidarity with Ukraine. At the Wales Summit next week, we will meet President Poroshenko to make clear NATO’s unwavering support for Ukraine.
We condemn in the strongest terms Russia’s continued disregard of its international obligations. We urge Russia to cease its illegal military actions, stop its support to armed separatists, and take immediate and verifiable steps towards de-escalation of this grave crisis.
Questions and Answers at the press point by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen following the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission
Question : (Wall Street Journal) Prime Minister Yatseniuk this morning said he wanted Ukraine to move toward NATO membership and I wanted to ask for your reaction to that whether it came up at all at today’s meeting and whether it will be discussed at the Summit in Wales.
Secretary General : First of all let me stress that we fully respect Ukraine’s decisions as regards Ukraine’s security policy and alliance affiliations. This is a fundamental principle that each and every nation has an inherent right to decide itself on security policies and its alliance affiliations.I’m not going to interfere with political discussions in Ukraine but let me remind you of NATO’s decision taken at the Bucharest summit in 2008 according to which Ukraine will become a member of NATO provided of course Ukraine so wishes and provided that Ukraine fulfil the necessary criteria. In the meantime Ukraine has decided to pursue a so called non-alliance policy, we fully respect that, we fully respect if the Ukrainian Parliament decides to change that policy because we adhere to the principle that each and every nation has a right to decide itself without interference from outside and we hope that other nations adhere to same principle.
Question : (Wall Street Journal) Was ... (inaudible) discussed at the meeting today?
Secretary General : It was not discussed in today’s meeting.
Question (News agency UNIAN) : Secretary General, we right now are in a completely new situation but I would like to repeat an old question. How NATO can really help, or NATO member countries Ukraine institutions, thank you.
Secretary General : At the Summit in Wales next week we will take decisions as to how we will enhance our cooperation with Ukraine. Among other initiatives, we are establishing four trust funds to finance concrete initiatives within four areas; logistics, command and control, cyber defence, and help to military personnel, including wounded personnel. I’m very pleased that already at today’s meeting several Allies announced concrete financial contributions to these trust funds and it was signalled that more announcements may come forward at the Summit in Wales next week. The whole purpose of these trust funds is to finance activities that can assist Ukraine in reforming and modernising the armed forces with a view to making them stronger to defend Ukraine.