NATO Military Committee visit to Ukraine sends strong message of enduring commitment and support
On 18 & 19 April, the NATO Military Committee visited Lviv in Ukraine. During the two day trip, NATO’s Military Representatives met with General Viktor Muzhenko, Chief of Defence and with Mr Alexander Hug, Deputy Head of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine. The Military Committee also visited the National Lviv Land Forces Academy and the Yavoriv International Peacekeeping and Security Centre in Starychi where they received briefings from representatives of the Multinational Joint Commission and the Joint Multinational Training Group Ukraine. The 29 Allies concluded their visit with a joint NATO Military Committee meeting with Ukraine.
The NATO Military Committee first visited the National Lviv Land Forces Academy where they were greeted by the Commandant, Lieutenant General Tkachuk during a welcome ceremony with an Honour Guard. Following Welcome Remarks by the Commandant, the Governor of Lviv, Mr Oleh Synutka and the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Petr Pavel, the 29 Military Representatives were briefed by Mr Alexander Hug, Deputy Head of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine on the security situation in Eastern Ukraine. General Pavel acknowledged that the situation is of great concern to NATO, “civilians and military personnel are suffering and dying. This cannot continue. There is no military solution to this conflict. Peace can only be achieved through dialogue and full respect of Ukraine’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
At the wreath-laying ceremony, General Pavel paid tribute to the fallen soldiers, stressing that “It was a special honour for me to pay tribute to the men and women who gave their lives to preserve freedom and peace”. General Pavel then proceeded to plant a tree on the grounds of the Academy as a symbol of peace. Later that day, the Military Committee was joined by General Viktor Muzhenko, Ukrainian Chief of Defence and host of the visit.
The second day of the visit started at the Yavoriv International Peacekeeping and Security Centre (IPSC) in Starychi. The NATO Military Committee received a presentation on the Centre’s activities from its chief, Colonel Igor Slisarchuk. General Pavel commended the IPSC for its work highlighting how “this Centre embodies the spirit of military cooperation. The training done here prepares Ukrainian troops for all military cooperation activities, international, multinational and NATO exercises as well as peacekeeping missions”. The NATO Military Representatives then received a tour of the facilities and where able to witness some of the training provided to the Ukrainian forces.
The day concluded with a joint NATO Military Committee meeting with Ukraine where the NATO Allies received briefings on the ongoing implementation of the Ukrainian Defence reform process and were able to interact in engage in a dialogue with General Mushenko and his staff. In his remarks, the Military Committee Chairman recognised “Ukraine’s efforts to implement major reforms. These are not easy tasks, but we are seeing progress. The work done here to meet NATO standards will allow Ukraine to be better able to defend itself and to increase the ability of Ukrainian and NATO forces to work together”.
Before bidding their farewells, General Pavel and General Muzhenko held a press conference to share the discussions and outcomes of the meetings.