NATO leaders have cautiously welcomed the ceasefire that was
agreed last Friday afternoon between Ukraine, Russia, the
separatist rebels, and the Council of Europe.
News of the agreement filtered through to the Celtic Manor
Resort outside Newport, south Wales, as the NATO summit was winding
up. Military and political leaders were quick to express their
scepticism about the deal.
"We look at actions fairly carefully. We have had quite a lot of
words. Some of those words have proven not to be worth terribly
much," the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, General Sir
Adrian Bradshaw, said. "There has been some deception, and some
deceit. Right now, I can't tell you that there is any substantial
change to the reality on the ground; and the reality on the ground
is that Russian regular armed forces are being employed on the
territory of Ukraine in support of this separatist movement."
The Prime Minister told a press conference that the increased
sanctions against Russia that had been agreed earlier by the
European Council would go ahead. "The announcement about the
ceasefire is good news," Mr Cameron said. "I think we need to look
carefully at whether it is a ceasefire, or whether it also includes
a commitment, as I understand it might, to make real progress on a
proper peace plan. . .
"If the ceasefire and a proper peace plan are put in place,
then, of course, it would be right to look and see how those
sanctions could potentially be removed, if proper milestones were
President Obama said: "We are hopeful, but also - based on past
experience - sceptical that the separatists will follow through,
and that the Russians will stop violating Ukraine's sovereignty and
territorial integrity. It has to be tested."
Earlier, NATO leaders had agreed a "comprehensive and tailored
package" of measures to support Ukraine, focusing on cyber defence,
logistics, and command and control communications, as well as on
rehabilitation for troops injured in the conflict. NATO will also
provide advice on defence reforms, as well as financial support of
15 million for defence-capacity building training.
Announcing the package, the outgoing secretary-general of NATO,
Anders Fogh Rasmussen - who will be replaced at the end of this
month by Jens Stoltenberg - emphasised that the military alliance
was seeking a political and diplomatic solution to the crisis in
Ukraine. He said that "nobody wants war."
"Ukraine has been an important and distinctive NATO partner for
many years," Mr Rasmussen said. "We highly value Ukraine's
contribution to our operations and the NATO response force. Ukraine
has stood by NATO. Now, in these difficult times, NATO stands with
"We stand united in our support of Ukraine's sovereignty, and of
territorial integrity within its internationally recognised
borders. We strongly condemn Russia's repeated violations of
international law. Russia must stop its aggressive actions against
Ukraine, withdraw its thousands of troops from Ukraine and the
border regions, and stop supporting the separatists in
Mr Rasmussen made his comments at a press conference at the NATO
summit, alongside the Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko. Six
months ago, Mr Poroshenko was the head of a confectionery company.
Today he is the leader of a country at war, who last week was
pleading for assistance at the top table of the world's largest
military alliance. He said Ukraine was fighting for peace, not for