Addressing the 9th Security Forum held in Kyiv on April 14, 2016, Alexander Vershbow, Deputy Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, announced NATO’s official position with regard to further cooperation with Russia.

“NATO condemns and will never accept the occupation of Crimea. 40 years ago, the Helsinki Final Act laid the foundation of relations between the East and West. Since then, the principles enshrined in it, have been at the basis of European security. Initially, Russia supported them, but today, it decided to break them by annexing Crimea and invading eastern Ukraine. NATO condemns such acts and will never accept them,” Vershbow said.

Alexander Vershbow also noted that the current situation in Ukraine is very difficult.

“The Crimean Tatars, an indigenous people of Crimea, are being persecuted and repressed. Russia and its henchmen are constantly violating a ceasefire in Donbass and requirements specified in the Minsk agreements. The international community, in its turn, will apply pressure on the Russian Federation, and as long as it does not comply with its previous commitments, the pressure will continue,” said Vershbow.

According to Vershbow, three years after the aggression, there is a possibility for Ukraine to move forward.

“To do this, Ukraine should implement sweeping reforms, and particularly in the defense sector. In addition, Ukraine should fight corruption and strive to ensure the rule of law. NATO, in its turn, supports and will continue to support Ukraine in every way possible,” said Vershbow.

It was reported earlier that NATO is now developing a strategy to counter a hybrid war, which was approved by the ministers of NATO member countries. In its turn, Ukraine is willing to share its experience combating Russian aggressors.