Posted on Nov 27, 2018
"We have just finished an extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission.
NATO Allies and Ukraine discussed the serious situation in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait. Ukraine provided Allies with detailed information on the incident yesterday.
This morning, I had a phone call with President Poroshenko who requested the NATO - Ukraine Commission meeting. Because under the NATO - Ukraine Charter, Ukraine can request such a meeting if it perceives a direct threat to its territorial integrity, political independence, or security.
And at this meeting, all allies expressed their full support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
So we call on Russia to ensure unhindered access to Ukrainian ports and allow freedom of navigation for Ukraine in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait.
There is no justification for the use of military force against Ukrainian ships and naval personnel. So we call on Russia to release immediately the Ukrainian sailors and ships it seized yesterday.
And we call for calm and restraint.
This incident is a reminder that there is a war going on in Ukraine. It has been going on for more than 4 years. The Allied position has been consistent. Since 2014, all Allies have condemned Russia’s aggressive actions in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. Russia must end its support to militant groups and withdraw all its forces from Ukrainian territory.
Allies will not recognise Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea.
Russia’s ongoing militarization of Crimea, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, poses further threats to Ukraine’s independence. And undermines the stability of the broader region.
NATO continues to provide political and practical support to Ukraine and the people of Ukraine.
NATO Allies have imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Russia. NATO has undertaken the largest reinforcement of our collective defence in a generation. So Russia has to understand that it is consequences of its actions.
We will remain in contact with the Ukrainian government to underline our support.
Follow EU Today on Social media: