Over the past few days, NATO has repeatedly held meetings to discuss Russia’s aggression in Crimea, going as far as holding a meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the request of Poland under Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty in Brussels on March 4. The Day asked the Ambassador of Ukraine to NATO Ihor Dolhov to comment on the actions of NATO, particularly in terms of preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
“For the first time in 17-year history of NATO-Ukraine Special Partnership, a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC) was urgently convened at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on March 2 to deal with the threat posed by the Russian Federation’s assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Before and after the NUC meeting, the NATO held an emergency meeting of the North Atlantic Council to shape the alliance’s position and possible practical involvement in the de-escalation of the situation.
“Conducting Ukraine-NATO joint consultation when Ukraine perceives a direct threat to its territorial integrity, political independence or security is provided by Article 15 of the Charter on Special Partnership between Ukraine and NATO signed in 1997.
“Use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine is an act of aggression against our country and its territorial integrity and sovereignty. It is a violation of all fundamental rules of international law and Russia’s obligations under international and bilateral agreements.
“The fact that because of the armed aggression of Russia a significant number of nuclear facilities located in Ukraine are now under threat is of concern, too. This is a threat to life and safety of not only the citizens of Ukraine, but also citizens of neighboring European countries.
“Russia should immediately cease its unlawful and aggressive acts and, finally, remember the spirit and letter of our basic treaty of friendship and cooperation, as well as the generally recognized principles of international law.
“All 28 NATO nations, including the guarantors of security of Ukraine in accordance with the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 the US and the UK, are well aware of the seriousness of the situation in Ukraine. Therefore, this discussion lasted for several hours in the framework of the NUC as well as in the format of the North Atlantic Council.
“The NATO members were unanimous in their support for the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine. They praised the restrained actions of Ukrainian authorities in this crisis.
“In a statement after the meeting, the council condemned Russia’s military escalation in Crimea and urged Russia to respect its international obligations under bilateral and multilateral agreements.
“However, Ukraine has indicated that all appeals, statements and proposals put forward by the international community have not had so far a real practical impact on the Russian side which would make Russia to de-escalate the situation, return to the negotiating table and return Russian troops to their places of permanent deployment.
“Political and military bodies of the NATO are now continuing to consider practical measures to stabilize the situation.”