The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is finally intensifying cooperation with Ukraine by promoting defence reforms through building and development programmes. NATO will also send more experts to the NATO Liaison Office in Kyiv.

Is NATO finally putting their money where their mouth is?

NATO issued firm statements during the Meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs. The 28 independent member countries are once again reacting to Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, but with a more rigid speech this time.

We, the Foreign Ministers of NATO, are united in our condemnation of Russia’s illegal military intervention in Ukraine and Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We do not recognize Russia’s illegal and illegitimate attempt to annex Crimea.  We urge Russia to take immediate steps, as set out in the statement by the NATO-Ukraine Commission, to return to compliance with international law and its international obligations and responsibilities, and to engage immediately in a genuine dialogue towards a political and diplomatic solution that respects international law and Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders. We support the deployment of an OSCE monitoring mission to Ukraine.

We have decided to suspend all practical civilian and military cooperation between NATO and Russia. Our political dialogue in the NATO-Russia Council can continue, as necessary, at the Ambassadorial level and above, to allow us to exchange views, first and foremost on this crisis. We will review NATO’s relations with Russia at our next meeting in June.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Courtesy of Slovenia Times
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. (Courtesy of Slovenia Times.)

NATO was also quick to commend the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the face of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

We commend the Armed Forces of Ukraine for their courage, discipline and restraint, in the face of provocation.

Canada Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird affirmed that the suspension of all practical civilian and military cooperation between NATO and Russia is a step towards resolving the current Ukraine crisis.