Pledges to assist with “democratic reforms” after violent coup
February 26, 2014

NATO's Anders Fogh Rasmussen: "We stand ready to continue assisting Ukraine in its democratic reforms." Photo: U.S. Defense Department
NATO’s Anders Fogh Rasmussen: “We stand ready to continue assisting Ukraine in its democratic reforms.” Photo: U.S. Defense Department

On Monday we covered reports indicating Russia had bolstered its forces in Crimea and the Black Sea following the success of the Euromaidan coup in Ukraine.

The heightened military posture was officially confirmed on Wednesday when Russian President Vladimir Putin put troops in Western Europe on alert and the Russian military began combat readiness drills in Western and Central Europe.

Following the move by Russia, NATO announced its “close and long-standing” relationship with Ukraine. “NATO is a sincere friend of Ukraine,” said NATO boss Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

NATO arranged a joint commission with Ukraine in 1997. In 2008, it agreed the nation could join the NATO military alliance initially established during the Cold War.

“We stand ready to continue assisting Ukraine in its democratic reforms,” he added.

The full statement, posted on NATO’s website, follows:

We continue to follow developments in Ukraine very closely. We deplore the tragic loss of life. We welcome the fact that violence has been stopped through negotiations that paved the way for a peaceful outcome. We emphasize the importance of an inclusive political process based on democratic values, respect for human rights, minorities and the rule of law, which fulfills the democratic aspirations of the entire Ukrainian people.

NATO and Ukraine have a distinctive partnership, embodied in the NATO-Ukraine Commission. Through that partnership framework, NATO stands ready to continue to engage with Ukraine and assist with the implementation of reforms. Defense reform and military cooperation remain key priorities. We commend the Ukrainian armed forces for not intervening in the political crisis. In a democracy, it is imperative that the armed forces do not intervene in the political process. We underscore the need to strengthen democratic control over the defense and security sector, with effective parliamentary oversight and the robust involvement of civil society. In the context of recent tragic events, transparent democratic and accountable institutions are essential to the future of Ukraine.

A sovereign, independent and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to Euro-Atlantic security. Consistent with the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between NATO and Ukraine, NATO Allies will continue to support Ukrainian sovereignty and independence, territorial integrity, democratic development, and the principle of inviolability of frontiers, as key factors of stability and security in Central and Eastern Europe and on the continent as a whole.

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