NATO to meet Ukraine minister amid Azov stand-off
NATO foreign ministers will address the stand-off between Ukraine and Russia in the Sea of Azov at a meeting next week with their Ukrainian counterpart, the alliance said 29 November.
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has urged the western allies to deploy naval vessels to the Sea of Azov after Russian forces fired on and seized three Ukrainian boats in waters off Crimea on 25 November.
Western leaders have denounced the Russian act, demanded Moscow return the boats and crews and restated their rejection of Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, but they are wary of escalating the latest incident.
The crisis will, however, take centre stage next week, when the foreign ministers of the 29-member Atlantic Alliance hold their own regular meeting - and meet Ukraine's Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.
‘The NATO-Ukraine Commission met this week to discuss developments near the Sea of Azov, and NATO foreign ministers will meet with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Klimkin next week,’ spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who will host next week's meeting on 3 December and 4 December at NATO's Brussels headquarters, spoke to Poroshenko on Monday.
The alliance has not directly addressed Poroshenko's request for naval assistance in the already tense waters off Crimea, but the spokeswoman stressed that NATO is already present in force in the wider region.
‘Since Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, NATO has substantially increased its presence in the Black Sea,’ she said.
‘Today, NATO ships routinely patrol and exercise in the Black Sea. In 2018, NATO ships spent 120 days in the Black Sea, compared to 80 in 2017.’
Three NATO members - Romania, which hosts a multinational brigade, Bulgaria and Turkey - have Black Sea coasts and their own forces, and alliance aircraft carry out regular air patrols in the region, she said.
'So there is already a lot of NATO in the Black Sea, and we will continue to assess our presence in the region. NATO and its Allies continue to give strong political and practical support to Ukraine,’ Lungescu said.
Podcast: Riding in the Lynx KF41 infantry fighting vehicle, and the US Navy’s response to the cyber threat
Welcome to Episode 18 of The Weekly Defence Podcast. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and more. Sign up to an early email alert of future podcasts here.
If you are looking for exclusive defence and aerospace news why not try our Premium News service for free? Click HereIndia said the world's fastest cruise ...
With increased military activity in the Baltic Sea and Russia’s aggression in the air and on the ground, it is hardly surprising Sweden is looking ...
US fighters intercepted six Russian military aircraft in international airspace west of Alaska, and shadowed them until they exited the area, the North American Air ...
Whilst Saab's Swedish production line can manufacture 24 Gripen aircraft per annum, the company is open to sharing technology know-how with allies looking to acquire the ...
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on 18 May said Turkey and Russia would jointly produce S-500 defence systems after Ankara's controversial purchase of the S-400 ...