Kyiv, August 7 2014. “I call on Russia to step back from the brink. Step back from the border. And to engage in a sincere dialogue for a peaceful solution. Do not use peacekeeping as an excuse for war-making. That is what Ukraine needs, that is what Russia says it wants and that it what the whole international community is working for”, stated Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General at his press briefing in Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Mr. Rasmussen underlined that 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. NATO stands ready to support Ukraine with advice and assistance”.
At the upcoming NATO summit in Wales on September 4-5, Mr. Rasmussen said that “we hope that we can adopt a joint declaration where we will enhance cooperation between NATO and Ukraine in the coming years and that will include assessment to build up the capacity and modernize the Ukrainian armed forces in the security sector. “It is the right of every country to choose its own foreign policy without foreign interference. NATO fully respects that right but today Ukraine’s freedom and future are under attack. Instead of deescalating the conflict Russia continues to destabilize Ukraine. Russia’s support to the separatists continues. The downing of the MH 17 has shown the tragic global consequences of that support”, underlines NATO representative.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen recalled that NATO foreign ministers suspended practical cooperation with Russia, while maintaining political dialogue at the level of the NATO-Russia Council. “NATO has suspended its practical cooperation with Russia, including practical cooperation projects concerning Afghanistan, counter- terrorism, counter- narcotics, counter- piracy, etc. “I strongly regret that we had to stop working with Russia, because we share a common interest in addressing the global security challenges. But after Russia’s illegal military actions in Ukraine we can’t continue our business as usual. Our practical cooperation will be kept suspended as long as Russia doesn’t comply with the founding documents of NATO-Russia Cooperation”.
With respect to supplying military equipment to Ukraine, NATO Secretary General said individual nations can make their own decisions on military and financial support to Ukraine.
Concluding his press-briefing Anders Fogh Rasmussen assured that NATO is prepared to face potential threats: “NATO does have all the capabilities needed to ensure effective protection of all of our allies. I have stressed that the illegal Russian behavior has created a completely new security situation in Europe and we will have to adapt to that. Since the end of the Cold War, for more than 20 years, NATO spent a lot of effort to develop a constructive relationship with Russia. As we all see, Russia doesn’t consider NATO as a partner. On the contrary, when you read Russian military documents and you listen to political leaders in the Kremlin, you realize they consider NATO an adversary.”