NATO should involve Ukraine in development of Black Sea strategy – Vershbow
After granting Ukraine the status of an Enhanced Opportunities Partner, NATO should involve Ukraine in the process of developing the strategy of the Black Sea basin, the former NATO Deputy Secretary General, Ambassador Alexander Vershbow has stated.
"NATO should now move to fully integrate Ukraine in its development of a comprehensive Black Sea strategy to counter Russia's military build-up in occupied Crimea and its interference with freedom of navigation in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov," he said during an online discussion at the Kyiv Security Forum.
"NATO members have already benefited significantly from training and exercising with battle-tested Ukrainian forces, and have learned a lot from Ukraine's experience as a target of Russian cyber-attacks, information operations, and other forms of hybrid warfare," he said.
In addition, the ambassador noted that the partnership could enhance Ukraine's ability to gain NATO membership in the next few years, although it does not in itself replace NATO membership and does not guarantee anything new in the future, besides what NATO has already stated.
Vershbow also drew attention to the fact that, in his opinion, the alliance should have granted Ukraine the status of a NATO partner with advanced capabilities earlier.