NATO stands with Ukraine, steps up practical support
NATO Foreign Ministers on Tuesday (2 December 2014) stated their political and practical support for Ukraine as its new government embarks on key reforms. “We remain committed to assisting Ukraine speed up reforms and we are enhancing our support so that Ukraine can better provide for its own security,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC).
The NATO ministers held talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin who participated in the meeting via video link from Kiev. Ministers discussed the challenging developments in and around Ukraine, and reviewed progress made since the last meeting of the NUC at the Wales Summit in September. At the meeting NATO Foreign Ministers declared that the trust funds and projects on command, control, communications and computers, logistics and standardisation, cyber defence, military career transition and medical rehabilitation are operational. A fifth trust fund to help rehabilitate wounded soldiers has also recently been set up. Mr. Stoltenberg said the trust funds “are a concrete signal” of NATO’s support. “They will help make Ukraine’s defence forces more modern, more transparent, and more effective. And they will help some of those affected by the conflict.”
The Secretary General also stressed that that “in the face of Russia’s continued and deliberate destabilisation of Ukraine, NATO will continue to show firm political support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity”. Mr. Stoltenberg reaffirmed NATO’s support for a political settlement of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis. “The Minsk agreements remain a framework which could pave the way for a peaceful solution”, he said. “Ukraine has made genuine efforts to respect its commitments. But Russia and the Russian-backed separatists have not. We call on Russia to honour its obligations. This includes withdrawing its forces and military equipment from Ukrainian territory and along the Ukrainian border. Providing for effective international monitoring of the border.” Ministers further condemned Russia’s military build-up in Crimea, and expressed concern over Russia’s stated plans for further military build-up on the Black Sea.
Secretary General Stoltenberg congratulated Ukraine on the success of October’s elections, saying “they confirmed Ukraine’s choice for democracy, unity, and European integration.”