On October 31, the NATO-Ukraine Commission met in Kyiv in the presence of the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Here is a look at the main statements by Messrs. Stoltenberg and Zelenskyy.
Statements by president of Ukraine
On Ukraine and NATO’s security: Mr. Zelenskyy stated that Ukraine is actually located on the southeastern flank of the alliance and is an integral part of the Euro-Atlantic security space, where it “is not just consuming, but has been also supplying security for many years.”
On the Enhanced Opportunities Program: The president suggested that NATO consider allowing Ukraine to join the Enhanced Opportunities Program. He said he is convinced that Ukraine is already embracing this type of cooperation. At the press conference held after the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, he said he had proved that Ukraine is ready to become NATO’s Enhanced Opportunities Partner. He added that a renewed Comprehensive Assistance Package was agreed at the meeting.
On the Black Sea package: Mr. Zelenskyy said that Kyiv counts on NATO’s support for Ukraine’s proposals on practical steps for implementation of the Black Sea package endorsed by NATO in April 2019. “We need to jointly reinforce the capacities of the Ukrainian Naval Forces in this region, that is important to us,” the president said. He added that Ukraine is intensifying cooperation with the alliance regarding counteraction to hybrid threats and that in this context joint training will be held in the Black Sea. Mr. Zelenskyy said Ukraine and NATO will continue to jointly strengthen security and stability in the Black Sea region. “We will be enhancing information exchange, developing communication lines and intensifying joint training events,” the president stated.
On speeding up preparations for NATO membership: Mr. Zelenskyy said that NATO’s consolidated assistance package to Ukraine is a “success story.” He added that Ukraine is ready to speed up preparations for NATO membership and is not excluding the possibility of Ukraine joining the NATO Membership Action Plan. He reassured that Ukraine is ready to prove by practical deeds that this format of relations with NATO is well-deserved.
On the situation in the Donbas: Mr. Zelenskyy emphasized that if everything is safe in Petrivske, disengagement of troops will start there as well on November 4. He also said that he has no doubt that the meeting in the Normandy format will happen “if all sides intend and want to meet.”
On Nord Stream 2: Mr. Zelenskyy emphasized that the further construction of Nord Stream 2 to which Denmark gave the green light on October 30 bolsters Russia and weakens Europe. Nonetheless, he said that he and the government of Ukraine are ready to accept Denmark’s decision.
Statement by NATO secretary general
On Ukraine as a partner: The secretary general reminded that Ukraine’s military has been taking part in NATO missions around the world – from a training mission in Afghanistan to deploying a heavy engineering unit to Kosovo. Ukraine contributes to the NATO Response Force and is preparing to contribute to NATO’s training mission in Iraq. Mr. Stoltenberg voiced reassurances that NATO highly appreciates its partnership with Ukraine.
On Crimea: The secretary general reiterated that NATO does not accept Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea. He also said that all alliance members are united in condemning Russia’s actions.
On the Minsk protocol and the conflict in the Donbas: Mr. Stoltenberg said that NATO expects that Russia will adhere to its commitments under the Minsk agreements and that NATO supports President Zelenskyy’s efforts toward peaceful settlement of the conflict. Mr. Stoltenberg added that the allies welcome the progress in Stanytsia Luhanska, as well as at other venues where disengagement of troops is taking place. The secretary general said Russia needs to stop supporting militants in eastern Ukraine, and withdraw its troops and weapons from Ukrainian territory.
On the Black Sea and NATO’s increased support: The secretary general said the allies are calling on Russia to return to Ukraine the ships it seized and to provide free access to Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea.
He also said that NATO is stepping up its support for the Ukrainian Navy in the Black Sea region with greater information-sharing, port visits and exercises. He noted that 29 members of the North Atlantic Council had visited four NATO ships in the port of Odesa on the day before the NATO-Ukraine Commission meeting.
On NATO’s assistance through trust funds: The secretary general said that NATO’s Comprehensive Assistance Package to Ukraine through trust funds was revised at the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission. He also reminded that NATO allies had disbursed more than 40 million euros to support Ukraine in improving command and control, cyberdefense and medical rehabilitation.