NATO stands firm in support for Ukraine
NATO Foreign Ministers have reconfirmed their full support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and have called on Russia to cease its destabilisation of eastern Ukraine. Under the chairmanship of Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the Allied ministers met with their Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin in a session of the NATO-Ukraine Commission in Antalya, Turkey on Wednesday (13 May 2015).
“We strongly condemn Russia’s aggressive actions in eastern Ukraine” the Secretary General said, calling on Russia “to fully abide by international law.” Mr. Stoltenberg also underscored that “Russia’s annexation of Crimea is illegal and illegitimate; we do not and we will not recognize it.”
The Secretary General further expressed concerns about Russian “statements about possible future stationing of nuclear weapons and delivery systems in Crimea”. He added that NATO is “concerned by Russia’s efforts to further build up its presence in the Black Sea region,” warning that “this could have further implications on regional stability.”
While stressing that the Minsk agreements remain “the best chance to settle the conflict”, the Secretary General warned that we see “an increase in ceasefire violations, primarily by the separatists; continued Russian support for them, and the continued obstruction of the work of OSCE monitors”. He underlined that “this is in contradiction to the Minsk agreements.”
On behalf of all Allies, the Secretary General called on Russia to stop destabilising eastern Ukraine; withdraw its support for the separatists; withdraw its forces and military equipment from Ukraine and along the border; and fully support a political solution.
Mr. Stoltenberg welcomed Ukraine’s efforts to promote reform and reconciliation, and urged the Ukrainian government to continue on this path.
"We strongly encourage the government of Ukraine to continue its efforts, at full speed", the Secretary General said.
He noted that "our close cooperation will strengthen Ukraine's ability to defend itself".
Mr. Stoltenberg underlined that "we have stepped up our support to Ukraine on command and control; logistics; cyber defence; and rehabilitation of wounded soldiers.” He added that the Alliance has strengthened its office in Kyiv, and provided advisors to the Ukrainian government. The Secretary General further noted that “Ukraine will host a NATO-led exercise on disaster response this autumn.”
“Our partnership is strong, and getting stronger,” the Secretary General concluded.
Read today’s official statement of the NATO-Ukraine Commission here