By Jack Parkos | Ukraine
With the the Kerch Strait crisis heating up, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has requested for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to assist Ukraine in the conflict, asking that they deploy naval vessels to the Sea of Azov.
The Crisis began after Russian Navy vessels attacked Ukrainian ships off the coast of Crimea. Since then, both sides have accused the other of being at fault. Ukraine claimed that this was an act of aggression by Russia. Meanwhile the Russians claimed that Ukraine illegally entered its waters. Since this incident, Ukraine has implemented martial law for the first time in its history.
Porshenko has claimed that Putin wants “nothing less” than to occupy the Sea of Azov. In an interview with a German newspaper he stated:
Germany is one of our closest allies and we hope that states within NATO are now ready to relocate naval ships to the Sea of Azov in order to assist Ukraine and provide security,
“We cannot accept this aggressive policy of Russia. First it was Crimea, then eastern Ukraine, now he wants the Sea of Azov. Germany, too, has to ask itself: What will Putin do next if we do not stop him?”
Ukraine is not an official member of NATO, but the alliance has given support to Ukraine in the past. So far, no action has been taken. Secretary General of NATO Jen Stoltenberg stated that the organization is closely monitoring the situation.
Russia has to understand that its actions have consequences, and that’s the reason why NATO has reacted so firmly against the actions of Russia against Ukraine over several years. NATO Allies have imposed economic sanctions. NATO has, not least because of the actions against Ukraine; illegally annexing Crimea, destabilising Eastern Ukraine. We have implemented the biggest reinforcement to our collective defence since the end of the Cold War, also with more presence in the eastern part of the Alliance.
And then, NATO Allies and NATO have provided strong political and practical support to Ukraine. We help to modernise the Ukrainian armed forces; we provide some support to the naval forces of Ukraine, and we are constantly assessing what more we can do to provide support and to help Ukraine. We do this partly within the NATO framework, but also some Allies provide some direct support on the bilateral level and we support and encourage that.
So, we are following and monitoring the situation very closely and we constantly assess what more we can do because Russia has to understand that its actions have consequences.
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