NATO will increase its ships presence in the Black Sea and will conduct joint exercises and information exchange with Georgia and Ukraine, announced Alliance Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg.
NATO members agreed on a package of measures to support their "close partners" - Georgia and Ukraine. On Thursday, April 4, the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, announced this at a meeting dedicated to the 70th anniversary of NATO. These measures, among other things, include increased presence of the Alliance ships in the Black Sea and their visits to the ports in Ukraine and Georgia, conducting more intensive join exercises and training of both countries maritime forces and coastal guards.
NATO is acting to achieve peace through power, said the U.S. Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo. He noted the need to confront "Russian aggression" and highlighted the "growing threats" from China and Iran. NATO foreign ministers again called on Russia to stop the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, as well as to release the Ukrainian Navy ships and their crews who were detained in the Kerch Strait incident.
In addition, members of the alliance called on Moscow to adhere to the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles. NATO believes that Russia violated it by creating a 9M729 missile. The authorities in Kremlin deny all the charges. In February 2019, the United States, then followed by Russia, officially suspended participation in the treaty.
During the meeting, need to increase financial contribution to the NATO defense to two percent of GDP was reiterated. “Now is not the time to repeat boring excuses that our citizens do not support the rising defense costs,” said the U.S. Secretary of State.