We, the NUC Foreign Ministers, have met today to discuss the developments in Ukraine and to review progress made in our joint work since NUC Heads of State and Government met at the Wales Summit on 4 September 2014.
We strongly condemn Russia’s continued and deliberate destabilization of eastern Ukraine in breach of international law, including the provision of tanks, advanced air defence systems and other heavy weapons to the separatists, and military activities, which violate the agreements reached in Minsk in September. Russia’s stated “respect” for the results of the separatists’ so-called elections on 2 November, which we do not and will not recognise, has further exacerbated tensions. We condemn Russia’s military build-up in Crimea, as well as the worsening human rights situation on the Crimean peninsula. We call on Russia to reverse its illegal and illegitimate self-declared “annexation” of Crimea, which we do not and will not recognise, and to respect the rights of the local population, including the native Crimean Tatars. Russia’s actions undermine the security of Ukraine and have serious implications for the stability and security of the entire Euro-Atlantic area. In that regard, we are also concerned with Russia’s stated plans for further military build-up on the Black Sea, which will potentially have further implications on the stability of the region.
We support the Minsk agreements, which offer a route towards a sustainable political solution of the crisis. We call on Russia to honour its commitments under the terms of the Minsk agreements, including: to withdraw its forces and military equipment from Ukrainian territory and along the Ukrainian border; to provide for effective international monitoring of the border and restore Ukrainian sovereignty over its side of the border; to allow for a political and a diplomatic solution to be negotiated, which respects Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and internationally recognized borders. Russia must use its influence over the separatists to ensure they stop their attacks and abide by the ceasefire, release all hostages and honour all their commitments under the Minsk agreements. We commend and fully support the efforts of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to contribute to de-escalation and pursuing a peaceful solution to the crisis.
Allies welcome the free and fair conduct of the extraordinary parliamentary elections held in Ukraine on 26 October, despite challenging circumstances. The elections are a testimony to the Ukrainian people’s commitment to freedom and democracy, and a future firmly anchored among European democracies, free to decide their own future and foreign policy course. Allies will continue to support, including through the Annual National Programme (ANP), Ukraine as it embarks on comprehensive reforms. The prompt implementation of such wide-ranging reforms to combat corruption and promote an inclusive political process, based on democratic values, respect for human rights, minorities and the rule of law, remains crucial for the consolidation of Ukrainian democracy and for its economic development.
Recalling the NUC Wales Summit Joint Statement, Allies are enhancing their support so that Ukraine can better provide for its own security. We have stepped up our cooperation in the framework of our Distinctive Partnership. We are strengthening our cooperation in the defence and security sector through capability development and sustainable capacity building programmes for Ukraine. Today, we are pleased to announce that the Trust Funds and projects on command, control, communications and computers, logistics and standardisation, cyber defence, military career transition, and medical rehabilitation are operational. We will continue to promote the development of greater interoperability between Ukrainian and NATO forces. NATO’s enhanced advisory presence in Kyiv is already in place and will continue to grow. As requested by Ukraine, Allies will continue to provide expertise as Ukraine completes its comprehensive defence and security sector review. The comprehensive reform agenda undertaken by Ukraine in the context of its ANP with NATO, as well as in the context of its Association Agreement with the EU, will further strengthen Ukraine. NATO and Allies will continue to support Ukraine in its reform efforts.
Ukraine welcomes the non-lethal material being provided by many Allies to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, as well as the help being provided to treat wounded Ukrainian personnel, and in humanitarian demining. Ukraine is grateful for the humanitarian assistance being provided to the internally displaced population, and the substantial cooperation through the Science for Peace and Security programme. Ukraine also looks forward to exploring ways to deepen information exchange and strategic dialogue with the Alliance.
We reaffirm that an independent, sovereign and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to security in the Euro-Atlantic area, of which – as stated in the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership – Ukraine is an inseparable part. The Alliance continues its full support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.