NATO Secretary General and President Poroshenko discuss developments in and around the Sea of Azov
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met on Thursday (13 December 2018) to discuss developments in and around the Sea of Azov and the Alliance’s strong support for Ukraine. Mr. Stoltenberg reaffirmed NATO’s full support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, noting that NATO has stepped up its presence in the Black Sea region over the past few years and will continue to assess its posture.
The Secretary General stressed that NATO Allies remain concerned by the heightened tensions in and around the Sea of Azov. “There can be no justification for Russia's use of military force against Ukrainian ships and sailors,” he said. He added that NATO condemns the building of the Kerch Straight bridge, which represents another violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Mr. Stoltenberg affirmed that NATO will continue to provide Ukraine with strong political and practical support, including around 40 million euros pledged by Allies for NATO-Ukraine Trust Funds. He also announced that NATO will deliver secure communications equipment for the Ukrainian Armed Forces by the end of the year.
Mr. Stoltenberg commended President Poroshenko for his commitment to the democratic process, stressing that good governance and reform will bring Ukraine closer to joining the Alliance. The Secretary General encouraged Ukraine to continue implementing key reforms, including toward greater civilian control over the security and intelligence services, anti-corruption and minority rights. “Allies recognise Ukraine’s aspirations to join the Alliance,” he said.