by NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană at the International Crimea Platform

  • 23 Aug. 2023 -
  • |
  • Last updated 24 Aug. 2023 08:32

(As prepared)

President Zelenskyy,
Minister Kuleba,
Distinguished hosts,
Friends of Ukraine.

It is an honour to address you today, at this third Summit of the International Crimea Platform. 
On the eve of Ukraine’s Independence Day. 

Since your independence, NATO has stood with Ukraine. 
We significantly stepped up our support after the illegal annexation of Crimea nine years ago. 
And since February 2022, NATO Allies have provided unprecedented military, financial and humanitarian aid.

NATO’s support to Ukraine remains unwavering. 

At our historic NATO Summit in Vilnius last month, we took steps to ensure that Ukraine moves closer to NATO than ever before.
We agreed a new multi-year assistance package to help you transition from Soviet-era to NATO equipment and standards, and make your forces fully interoperable with NATO.
We also agreed to remove the requirement for a Membership Action Plan. This changes Ukraine’s membership path from a two-step process to a one-step process.
And we will issue an invitation for you to join when Allies agree that conditions are met.

In Vilnius, we also held the inaugural meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council. 
It was an honour to have President Zelenskyy join us for the occasion. 
Ukraine and NATO Allies are now meeting as equals, to hold crisis consultations, and jointly take decisions.

NATO Allies also continue to make major new announcements of military support.
The supply of F-16 fighter jets by the Netherlands and Denmark is the latest example, and a very significant one. 

We do not see any signs from President Putin that Russia is preparing for peace.
Russian missiles continue to strike targets in Ukraine daily.
But what we see is that Ukraine is making progress.
Beating back Russia’s invasion. 
Liberating more territory. Slowly, but surely. 

So it is even more important that we continue providing military support to Ukraine.
Because making you stronger on the battlefield is the best way to make you   stronger at the negotiating table.
To achieve a just and lasting peace. 
Ukraine - and Ukraine only - can decide when the prerequisites for peace negotiations are present. 
It is for you to decide the terms of peace. 
NATO’s task, and the task of all the friends of Ukraine, is to support you.
That is precisely what we are doing now.
And you can count on our continued support for as long as it takes.  

Minister Kuleba, thank you again for this important initiative. 
And thanks to all the people of Ukraine for their bravery, resilience and determination.