(BRUSSELS2 at NATO headquarters) Opening the session of the Ukraine-NATO commission, Anders Fogh Rasmussen heard a political sign to Ukraine: “ an important partner for NATO » and a friend — « NATO is and remains a friend of Ukraine” —. He also expressed his extreme concern " on the " recent developments in Crimea ».
This morning's action (carried out) by an armed group is " dangerous and irresponsible » he denounces. Before " to urge "Russia" not to take any action that could (lead) to an escalation of tension or create misunderstandings”. He also has " urged the new Ukrainian government to continue its efforts to establish an inclusive political process that reflects the democratic aspirations of the entire Ukrainian people. And urge all parties to abandon confrontation, refrain from provocative actions and return to the path of dialogue”.
Preserve territorial integrity
Same message on the Rond Point Schuman side. " The EU keeps the same message. We have said it before: all stakeholders must continue to respect territorial integrity. We will continue to repeat this (again) today. The territorial integrity of Ukraine must be respected by all” recalled the spokesperson for the European Commission during the regular press briefing.
(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde with Loreline Merelle at EU Headquarters)
Comment: a green light? By triggering a "sudden inspection" of his troops on February 26, the day on which NATO defense ministers, Russian President Putin does not seem to have done so solely out of tactical concern on the ground. It thus tests the Alliance's ability to react. Despite the rather harsh words of the Secretary General of NATO, we are sticking to words for the moment. No decision seems to have been taken yet, even as a preventive measure, by the Alliance. What is similar, in fact, to a green light, limiting to the Russian authorities. The message being: don't push the envelope too far. Basically, take Crimea, not the rest.
(Update) No support request, no plan
This impression was officially confirmed by the Secretary General of NATO, AF Rasmussen, at the end of the Council, after the meeting of Ministers of Defense. " My statement is very balanced. I warned 'all parties' not to escalate the situation ". In other words, a message intended for Russians as well as... for Ukrainians. And to add, repeating a classic message: the army must remain neutral. What we need is a political dialogue, an inclusive process. » AF Rasmussen also clarified that: 1) “ No request for assistance has been submitted to NATO by Ukraine; 2) “ there is no plan to intervene militarily ". We can put it more bluntly: if Ukraine undertakes any military action, it will remain alone...