NATO stresses strong support for Ukraine in face of ‘Russian occupation’

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was on a two-day visit to Ukraine during which he reaffirmed the Alliance’s strong political and practical support for Ukraine.

Mr. Stoltenberg was in Kyiv together with the Ambassadors of NATO’s North Atlantic Council to mark the twentieth anniversary since the signing of the Distinctive Partnership between NATO and the Ukraine.

Chairing a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, hosted by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, the Secretary General thanked Ukraine for its many contributions to NATO missions over the past two decades, including in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Mr. Stoltenberg said that since 2014 NATO has significantly increased its support for Ukraine, including with a Comprehensive Assistance Package.

At a joint press conference with President Poroshenko Mr. Stoltenberg told reporters that it was clear that the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine was not holding and he expressed concerns about mounting threats against OSCE monitors. The Secretary General reiterated that the Minsk agreements remain the only path to peace and called on Russian to pull out its thousands of troops from eastern Ukraine.

Addressing parliamentarians in the Ukrainian Rada, the Secretary General emphasised that Ukraine is a sovereign nation and has the right to choose its own security arrangements.  Any decision on future membership in the Alliance would be up to the 29 NATO members. He said he welcomed that Ukraine was moving towards NATO standards.

During his visit to Kyiv, the Secretary General had bilateral meetings with Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and other senior officials. Mr. Stoltenberg also took part in the inauguration of the new premises of the NATO Representation to Ukraine, along with the Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze.

Original article: By Tom Dunlop, UK Defence Journal.

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