Secretary General praises Ukraine’s partnership with NATO, calls for continuing reform
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Ukraine’s new President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to NATO Headquarters on Tuesday (4 June 2019) for bilateral talks, as well as a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission focused on the security situation in the country. Calling Ukraine a “highly valued partner,” Mr. Stoltenberg thanked Ukraine for contributing to NATO missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo, despite serious security challenges at home. He also welcomed Allied exercises with Ukraine, calling these a sign of Kyiv’s “strong commitment to international security”.
Mr. Stoltenberg called Russia’s attempts to give Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens “the latest example of Russian attempts to destabilise eastern Ukraine,” and “a step in the wrong direction”. He expressed NATO’s firm support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, saying: “Allies do not, and will not, recognise Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea; and we condemn Russia’s aggressive actions in the Black Sea region. We welcome the ruling by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea that Russia must release the Ukrainian sailors and ships it illegally detained last November.”
Mr. Stoltenberg further highlighted the Alliance’s strong political and practical support for Ukraine, including maritime and Coast Guard training, port visits and exercises, information sharing, and more than forty million euros pledged to Trust Funds for areas like command and control, cyber defence and medical rehabilitation.
The Secretary General also underscored the strong mandate received by the Ukrainian President to implement reforms on fighting corruption and strengthening the rule of law. He said: “These reforms are essential to ensure security and prosperity for all Ukrainians and to bring Ukraine closer to NATO. Allies have welcomed the adoption of Ukraine’s Law on National Security and we encourage you to implement this important legislation; NATO will continue to support you on this path.”