NATO stands by Ukraine and is looking to strengthen its partnership with the country at the Alliance’s summit in Wales next month, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said during a visit to Kiev on Thursday (7 August 2014). “NATO’s support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine is unwavering. Our partnership is long-standing. It’s strong, and in response to Russia’s aggression, NATO is working even more closely with Ukraine to reform its armed forces and defence institutions,” he said.
The Secretary General discussed how to strengthen NATO’s partnership with Ukraine with President Petro Poroshenko. He also met with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk , Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and the Speaker of the Parliament, Oleksandr Turchinov.
President Poroshenko presented Mr Fogh Rasmussen with Ukraine’s Order of Liberty, for his personal contribution to the development of NATO-Ukraine relations and support for Ukraine’s sovereignty. “We stand by Ukraine and your struggle to uphold the fundamental principles on which we have built our free societies,” he said in accepting the reward.
As a sign of NATO’s strong support and solidarity, Allies have decided to hold a special meeting with Ukraine at next month’s NATO Summit in Wales which will contribute “to making our partnership even stronger,” the Secretary General said. NATO already advises Ukraine on defence planning and defence reform, and the Alliance is ready to intensify this support. In June, NATO Foreign Ministers also agreed to establish four trust funds to assist Ukraine. These could cover areas such as command and control, logistics, and re-training of retired military personnel.
Speaking at a press conference, the Secretary General said that instead of de-escalating the conflict, Russia continues to destabilize Ukraine and has massed large forces on the Ukrainian border to shield the separatists and to use any pretext to intervene even further.
“So I call on Russia to step back from the brink. Step back from the border. Do not use peacekeeping as an excuse for war-making. I urge Russia to follow the genuine path to peace. To stop its support for separatists. To pull pack its troops from Ukraine's border. And to engage in a sincere dialogue for a peaceful solution,” he said.