Ukraine, Nato strengthen collaboration

2015-09-22 21:19
Former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg will become chief of the Nato alliance when current Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen steps down in the autumn of 2014. (Mindaugas Kulbis, AP,File)

Former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg will become chief of the Nato alliance when current Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen steps down in the autumn of 2014. (Mindaugas Kulbis, AP,File)

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Moscow - Ukraine and the Western military alliance Nato signed a series of documents to strengthen their collaboration on Tuesday as their leaders met in Kiev.

The documents included a partnership road map for strategic communications and a declaration to enhance defence co-operation, according to a statement on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's website.

Ukraine has been fighting pro-Russian separatist forces in its two easternmost regions over the past year and a half and has pursued Nato's help to resolve the conflict and secure its sovereign border.

Nato has not committed troops to the conflict but has trained Ukrainian soldiers and conducted several military exercises with the country.

Poroshenko praised his country's collaboration with Nato in a meeting of the National Security and Defence Council attended by Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

"First of all, we must remember that our session is held in the midst of the Russian armed aggression against Ukraine, which has been implemented through the armed annexation of Crimea and aggression in the east of our state," Poroshenko said.

"Thus, against the backdrop of this aggression, Nato-Ukraine co-operation is not a secondary, but strategic issue for Ukraine, Nato and global security," he said.

He noted growing domestic support for Nato since the conflict began in 2014.

"Two years ago, 16% of Ukrainians supported the Euro-Atlantic integration course. A year ago, this figure equalled almost 50%. Now, over 60% of Ukrainians support Euro-Atlantic integration," he said.

Stoltenberg told reporters that "Nato can rely on Ukraine, and Ukraine can rely on Nato."

"Our partnership is already very strong. And today we took steps to strengthen it further," he said, alongside Poroshenko.

The separatist rebellion broke out soon after Ukraine's former pro-Russian president was ousted during mass protests that called for closer ties with the West.

More than 8 000 people have been killed in the conflict, according to estimates by the United Nations.

Read more on:    nato  |  jens stoltenberg  |  petro poroshenko  |  russia  |  ukraine  |  europe

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