Opening Remarks by the NATO Secretary General
at the Joint Press Point with the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arsenii Yatseniuk
It really is a great pleasure to welcome you to NATO Headquarters.
Ukraine is a valued and long-standing partner for NATO.
In these difficult moments, NATO stands by Ukraine. NATO stands by the right of every nation to decide its own future. NATO stands by Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and by the fundamental principles of international law.
And this is not just about Ukraine. This crisis has serious implications for the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area as a whole. We clearly face the gravest threat to European security since the end of the Cold War.
And your sovereignty, your independence, and your territorial integrity are key factors for stability and security in the region.
Our NATO-Ukraine Commission already enjoys an extensive framework for cooperation and assistance. Within this framework, we have decided to intensify our partnership, and strengthen our cooperation to support democratic reforms.
We will step up our engagement with Ukraine’s political and military leadership, as we are doing just now.
We will strengthen our efforts to build the capacity of the Ukrainian military, including with more joint training and exercises.
And we will do more to include Ukraine in our cutting-edge multinational projects to develop capabilities.
The people of Ukraine have shown great determination and great courage. Your armed forces have shown great restraint, in the face of tremendous pressure.
I fully commend that restraint. Because cool heads are key to de-escalation.
We stress the importance of an inclusive political process, based on democratic values, respect for human rights, minorities and the rule of law, which fulfils the democratic aspirations of the entire Ukrainian people.
Above all, we call on Russia to honour its international commitments and halt the military escalation in Crimea. We call on Russia to withdraw its forces to their bases, and to refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine. There should be no attempt to draw new lines on the map of Europe in the 21st century.
Let me stress that we see a political solution as the only way forward. And we support international efforts to find that way forward through the dispatch of international observers and a peaceful dialogue.