NATO Deputy Secretary General: Crimea is Ukraine
NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana arrived in Kyiv, Ukraine on Monday (23 August 2021) to participate in the inaugural Crimean Platform Summit. Addressing the Summit, the Deputy Secretary General stressed that NATO stands with Ukraine and called on Russia to return control of the Crimean peninsula to Ukraine.
“Crimea is the territory of Ukraine,” he said, adding that the security situation in Crimea, eastern Ukraine and the Black and Azov Seas affects NATO and the international community. Mr. Geoana reiterated NATO’s support for the freedom and independence of all Ukraine. He also underlined the Alliance’s strong practical support for Ukraine, including through more joint exercises, training and funding.
At a Summit panel on Black Sea security, the Deputy Secretary General highlighted the strategic importance of the Black Sea and the situation in and around Ukraine to NATO and its partners. He noted that the Alliance has increased its presence in the Black Sea since Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea.
In the margins of the Summit, the Deputy Secretary General held bilateral meetings with Dmytro Razumkov, Speaker of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, joined by Oleksandr Merezhko and Oleksandr Zavitnevych; Oleksiy Danilov, the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council; and Olha Stefanishnya, the Deputy Prime Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration. The Deputy Secretary General thanked Ukraine for its contributions to NATO missions and exercises, as well as for its efforts to evacuate not only its own citizens but also those of Allies, partners and Afghans. He also welcomed Ukraine’s progress in delivering on key reforms and encouraged the government to stay the course, particularly on the issues of defence governance, parliamentary oversight and transparency. He stressed that these reforms are essential, both to bring Ukraine closer to NATO, but first and foremost to build security and development for all Ukrainians.
Wrapping up his visit on Tuesday (24 August), the Deputy Secretary General attended celebrations for the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence.