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NEWPORT, September 5. /ITAR-TASS/. The NATO summit in Wales backed the peace process in Ukraine, proposed it a closer cooperation, €15 million of financial aid to support military reforms, and some NATO states agreed to provide military supplies, both lethal and non-lethal. These are the main results of the summit’s first day, September 4, when the session of the NATO-Ukraine Commission took place on the highest level.
Usual accusations of destabilization of the situation and threats of new sanctions were spoken out in Russia’s address, although NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen admitted that the peace plan suggested by the Russian side was “exactly what we need”, if it would be implemented.
Meanwhile, the main discussion regarding relations with Russia will take place on Friday, when NATO will be looking into ways of enforcing its security “amid the ongoing situation in Europe”.
Talking about the ways to resolve the crisis in Ukraine, he noted that no one wanted a war or an armed conflict. “We do believe that the best way forward is to find a political solution. And to facilitate such a political solution, I firmly believe that the international community must respond determinately if Russia was to intervene further in Ukraine,” he said, adding that it would be necessary to “respond through deeper, broader, tougher economic sanctions that would definitely hurt Russian economy and isolate Russia further”.
Rasmussen said he pinned hope on the implementation of the peace plan suggested by Russia on Wednesday, September 3, which consists of seven points. “That's exactly what we need: a constructive political process,” he said. However, referring to the local situation and the way the crisis was developing, he admitted that the alliance was being careful so far. “If recent statements from President Putin represent a genuine effort to find a political solution, I would welcome it,” Rasmussen said.
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko said he was “ready to do my best to stop the war”. He expressed “careful optimism” over the September 5 session of the contact group in Minsk and ceasefire in Ukraine.” “Under these circumstances, it is very important for the OSCE to monitor the situation; it is necessary to seek the release of all hostages and ensure control over the Russian border,” Poroshenko said.
Talking about the development of relations with Ukraine, Rasmussen welcomed the active cooperation between Ukraine and NATO and pledged that it would be boosted further. He noted that NATO would support military reforms in Ukraine and would help it build a strong army.
Nevertheless, the NATO Secretary General underscored that the alliance would not intervene in the process of making decisions by the member states regarding the supplies of weapons to Ukraine. “NATO as an alliance is not involved in delivery of equipment because we do not possess military capabilities. This is possessed by individual allies. So such decisions are national decisions and we are not going to interfere with that,” Rasmussen said.
After the session of the NATO-Ukraine commission on the highest level, Rasmussen announced that Ukraine would get about €15 million financial aid through the alliance. “We will provide advice to help Ukraine with defense reforms and allies will assist Ukraine with around 15 million euro through NATO and in addition to that we have heard several announcements of bilateral assistance, financially and in other ways,” Rasmussen said.
“We are establishing four trust funds to finance concrete initiatives within four areas; logistics, command and control, cyber defense, and help to military personnel, including wounded personnel, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko said.
As for the possible terms of Ukraine’s accession to NATO, Poroshenko noted that this issue would be decided by the people of Ukraine, when the country would correspond to the alliance’s requirements. No concrete dates, even if they were remote, were named at the summit.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke out against Ukraine’s membership in NATO, although she noted the necessity of stepping up the alliance’s cooperation with Kiev. “There is no talk about (Ukraine’s) NATO membership,” Merkel said. She assured about the solidarity with Kiev regarding the conflict in Ukraine’s southeast and expressed readiness to impose further sanctions on Russia. However, the chancellor admitted that the West was ready for a dialogue with Russia. “We strive for a political decision,” she noted. “Of course, we are ready to discuss it with Russia.”
German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier believes a progress is needed in negotiations between Russia and Ukraine in order to stop the sanctions’ spiral.Meanwhile, Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi believes NATO must help find a political solution for the crisis in Ukraine, but avoid being perceived as an additional factor fuelling the conflict. He urged NATO to be careful in resolving the conflict in Ukraine.
The first day of the summit was accompanied by the largest anti-military rallies in Wales’ recent history. About 500 protesters with a slogan “No new wars, No to NATO” were walking on the central streets of Newport near the Celtic Manor Hotel, where the meeting was taking place.