Joint Press Conference
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko
Following the Meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC) at the Level of Heads of State and Government
July 9, 2016
We have just concluded a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission with President Poroshenko.
We reviewed the security situation in Ukraine. We reaffirmed NATO’s enduring support for Ukraine and our cooperation with Kiev. And we welcomed the Ukrainian Government’s plans for reform. Allies are united in their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We do not – and we will not – recognise Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea. And we condemn Russia’s deliberate destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine. Where ceasefire violations occur on a daily basis. Often with equipment banned under the Minsk Agreements. And with casualties every day.
We call on Moscow to end its political, military and financial support for the separatists. All parties must fully implement the Minsk Agreements. And work towards a diplomatic negotiated solution. Despite the challenge of the ongoing conflict, Ukraine has committed to major reforms, and efforts to counter corruption.
Implementing these reforms is essential. NATO is helping with advice and targeted support. To make Ukraine’s defence and security institutions more effective, efficient and accountable. This is the purpose of the Comprehensive Assistance Package that we endorsed today.
The Trust Funds we set up at our last Summit are already assisting Ukraine in areas such as cyber-defence, logistics and the rehabilitation of wounded soldiers.
In the future, we will work on other areas as well. For instance to counter threats from improvised explosive devices and from hybrid warfare. An independent, sovereign and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to Euro-Atlantic security.
Mr. President, NATO is committed to helping Ukraine achieve that goal.
In a moment, I will pass the floor to you.
But first, let me thank the Polish Government and the people of Warsaw for hosting this landmark summit. Over the past two days, we have taken decisions to strengthen our deterrence and our defence. And we have set out plans to project stability beyond our borders, working even more closely with partners like Ukraine. And we have set out plans to implement those decisions and we are committed to making sure that these plans become reality. And that NATO remains a fundamental source of security for our people, and stability for the wider world.
So once again, President Petro Poroshenko, it has been a great pleasure to host you, to have you here at the NATO Summit and also to have a meeting in the NATO-Ukraine Commission. We met several times in Brussels, in Kiev, in Ukraine, and now also at this Summit here in Warsaw. So I think our meetings, the Summit has just ended, are expressions of the same strong united message: NATO stands in solidarity with Ukraine.
So please, you have the floor.
[Remarks by President Poroshenko]
Q: Thank you. News Agency UNIAN, Irina Somer. Secretary General, yesterday, during expert forum, you’ve got a question about some kind of signal from allies to review Bucharest’s decision on the future of membership of Ukraine. I would like to know your opinion, if it will happen, will it calm down Russia. Sorry, for a second…
CONFERENCE MEDIATOR: No, I’m sorry I’m afraid this is all we have time for. Thank you.
JENS STOLTENBERG (Secretary General, NATO): President Poroshenko made it clear in our meeting that the question of membership is not currently on their agenda. The focus now is how Ukraine can meet NATO standards; how Ukraine can implement reforms and how we can increase the interoperability between Ukrainian forces and NATO forces. And that’s exactly also the focus of the comprehensive assistance package of the cooperation between NATO and Ukraine: how we can help Ukraine moving forward when it comes to modernizing, reforming and meeting NATO standards. So that is the focus, that is where we are working now and that is the purpose of the decisions we have taken today. So we will continue to provide strong political support, practical support for Ukraine, enabling them to move forward and then we have to address the question about membership at a later stage.
Let me underline one additional point and that is that for NATO, it’s an absolute principle which we all attach a great importance to and that is that every nation has the right to decide its own path, including of course Ukraine; and whether Ukraine is going to become a member of NATO or not, it’s something which is for Ukraine and the 28 soon-to-be 29 allies to decide. No one else has the right to try to intervene or to veto such a process.