NATO Military Committee holds first meeting in new NATO-Ukraine format
On 16th November 2023, the NATO Military Committee held the first edition of the NATO-Ukraine Council in Military Representatives format. While the NATO Military Representatives regularly engage with their Ukrainian counterparts, the particularity of this new format lies in that Ukraine sits amongst Allies.
The Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Bauer extended a warm welcome to the Ukrainian Military Representative, Major General Serhii Salkutsan, as he took his seat between Türkiye and the United Kingdom. “It is a pleasure to welcome you at this table and this appropriate setting. We look forward to using this new and improved arena for comprehensive discussions on Ukrainian matters, and their impact on regional and global security”, noted the Chair in his remarks.
Taking the floor next, Major General Salkutsan thanked the NATO Military Committee for holding this first meeting at such a critical time and for their continued support. “It is an honour to join you all and to take this seat amongst Allies – but most of all we are truly honoured to be part of NATO’s Partner family and we look forward to moving even closer. The support provided by NATO and its Allies has been instrumental in our fight to take back our territory, our homes and our freedom. This new format demonstrates the importance of the relationship Ukraine and NATO have built together for almost 30 years”, he added.
The Ukrainian Military Representative proceeded to provide an update on the ongoing military activities to push back the invading Russian forces, the current capability requirements to continue the fight as well as some of the lessons learned that the Ukrainian Armed Forces have already gathered from the war. In his response, Admiral Bauer emphasised the need for not only continued but also invigorated support, adding “Supporting Ukraine is in our own security interest, because the world would be a more dangerous place if President Putin gets what he wants through the use of force. NATO must remain committed to providing support, so that Ukraine can prevail as a sovereign nation”, he underlined.
The meeting concluded with Major General Salkutsan presenting the NATO Military Committee with a piece of a Russian helicopter shot down by Ukrainian Armed Forces, in the first few days of the large-scale Russian offensive in February 2022. "This piece of wreckage represents Ukraine’s righteous fight to take back their homeland. Ukrainians have the will, the grit and the determination to take back what has always been rightfully theirs. And NATO will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes”, concluded Admiral Bauer.
In line with the NATO-Ukraine Council (NUC) modalities agreed at the Vilnius Summit, the Council substructure includes the NUC in Military Representatives format, at both the Chiefs of Defence and Military Representatives’ levels.