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5. ...Russia’s aggressive actions, including provocative military activities in the periphery of NATO territory and its demonstrated willingness to attain political goals by the threat and use of force, are a source of regional instability, fundamentally challenge the Alliance, have damaged Euro-Atlantic security, and threaten our long-standing goal of a Europe whole, free, and at peace.

6. ...The greatest responsibility of the Alliance is to protect and defend our territory and our populations against attack, as set out in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. And so renewed emphasis has been placed on deterrence and collective defence.
9. For over two decades, NATO has striven to build a partnership with Russia, including through the mechanism of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC). Russia’s recent activities and policies have reduced stability and security, increased unpredictability, and changed the security environment. While NATO stands by its international commitments, Russia has breached the values, principles and commitments which underpin the NATO-Russia relationship, as outlined in the 1997 Basic Document of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, and 2002 Rome Declaration, broken the trust at the core of our cooperation, and challenged the fundamental principles of the global and Euro-Atlantic security architecture. Decisions we have taken, including here at our Summit, are fully consistent with our international commitments, and therefore cannot be regarded by anyone as contradicting the NATO-Russia Founding Act.

10. Russia’s destabilising actions and policies include: the ongoing illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, which we do not and will not recognise and which we call on Russia to reverse; the violation of sovereign borders by force; the deliberate destabilisation of eastern Ukraine; large-scale snap exercises contrary to the spirit of the Vienna Document, and provocative military activities near NATO borders, including in the Baltic and Black Sea regions and the Eastern Mediterranean; its irresponsible and aggressive nuclear rhetoric, military concept and underlying posture; and its repeated violations of NATO Allied airspace. In addition, Russia’s military intervention, significant military presence and support for the regime in Syria, and its use of its military presence in the Black Sea to project power into the Eastern Mediterranean have posed further risks and challenges for the security of Allies and others.

11. NATO has responded to this changed security environment by enhancing its deterrence and defence posture, including by a forward presence in the eastern part of the Alliance, and by suspending all practical civilian and military cooperation between NATO and Russia, while remaining open to political dialogue with Russia. We reaffirm these decisions.

12. As we agreed, talking to Russia allows us to communicate clearly our positions, with the crisis in and around Ukraine being, in current circumstances, the first topic on our agenda. We remain open to a periodic, focused and meaningful dialogue with a Russia willing to engage on the basis of reciprocity in the NRC, with a view to avoiding misunderstanding, miscalculation, and unintended escalation, and to increase transparency and predictability. We also have military lines of communication. We have agreed to continue to use all these channels to address the critical issues we face, and call on Russia to make good use of all lines of communication.

13. Reciprocal military transparency and risk reduction has the potential to improve stability and security in the Euro-Atlantic area. In this context, we call on Russia to constructively engage in the ongoing discussions in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to modernise the Vienna Document, to help close the loopholes that reduce military transparency.

14. The Alliance does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to Russia. But we cannot and will not compromise on the principles on which our Alliance and security in Europe and North America rest. NATO will continue to be transparent, predictable and resolute.

15. As we agreed at our Wales Summit, we will continue our strategic discussion on Euro-Atlantic security and our approach to Russia. As we also agreed at Wales, we continue to believe that a partnership between NATO and Russia, based on respect for international law and commitments, including as reflected in the NATO-Russia Founding Act and Rome Declaration, would be of strategic value. We regret that despite repeated calls by Allies and the international community since 2014 for Russia to change course, the conditions for that relationship do not currently exist. The nature of the Alliance’s relations with Russia and aspirations for partnership will be contingent on a clear, constructive change in Russia’s actions that demonstrates compliance with international law and its international obligations and responsibilities. Until then, we cannot return to “business as usual”.

16. An independent, sovereign, and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to Euro-Atlantic security. We stand firm in our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and Ukraine’s right to decide its own future and foreign policy course free from outside interference, as set out in the Helsinki Final Act. We strongly condemn Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine and its continued violation of international law and its international obligations, which have serious implications for the stability and security of the entire Euro-Atlantic area.

17. Russia bears full responsibility for the serious deterioration of the human rights situation on the Crimean peninsula, in particular the discrimination against the Crimean Tatars and other members of local communities. We demand that the Russian de facto authorities take the necessary measures to ensure the safety, rights, and freedoms of everyone living on the peninsula. International monitoring structures must be allowed to carry out their essential work in view of the protection of human rights. We condemn Russia’s ongoing and wide-ranging military build-up in Crimea, and are concerned by Russia’s efforts and stated plans for further military build-up in the Black Sea region.

18. We are committed to a peaceful solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which has claimed nearly 10 000 lives, and reintegration of the areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions controlled by the Russian-backed militants. This will require full implementation of the Minsk Agreements based on a comprehensive ceasefire and an internationally verified withdrawal of weapons. We urge all signatories to fully comply with the commitments they signed up to.

19. Russia, as a signatory to the Minsk Agreements, bears significant responsibility in this regard. Despite its declared commitment to the Minsk Agreements, Russia continues its deliberate destabilisation of eastern Ukraine, in violation of international law. Russia continues to provide weapons, equipment, and personnel, as well as financial and other assistance to militant groups, and to intervene militarily in the conflict. We are extremely concerned by the destabilisation and deteriorating security situation in eastern Ukraine. We call on Russia to desist from aggressive actions and to use its considerable influence over the militants to meet their commitments in full, especially to allow for the observation of the ceasefire regime, implementation of confidence-building measures, and disarmament.

20. We fully support the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), which has a key role in helping to de-escalate the conflict and stress the importance of full and unhindered access by the OSCE monitors. Impediments to the SMM’s work, which continue to occur overwhelmingly in areas under the control of the Russian-backed militants, represent a violation of the Minsk Agreements and seriously hamper the monitoring function of the SMM. We call on those responsible to stop any attacks against OSCE observers, and for the perpetrators to be held accountable. We also commend the work of the EU Advisory Mission to assist Ukraine in the field of civilian security sector reform, including police and the rule of law.

21. We welcome the efforts of the Normandy format and the Trilateral Contact Group to advance the implementation of the Minsk Agreements to open the way to the full reintegration of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, including passing a local election law for eastern Ukraine; carrying out local elections, when the security situation allows, in accordance with Ukrainian law and relevant OSCE standards and with a strong presence of international observers; implementation of special status and amnesty; withdrawal of foreign forces; and restoration of Ukraine’s control over its side of the international border. We condemn the militants’ use of residential areas to launch heavy weapons. We urge all parties to take concrete steps to reduce civilian casualties and to adhere strictly to the requirements of international humanitarian law.

22. We remain committed to a continued coherent international approach, in particular between NATO and the European Union (EU). NATO’s response is in support of this overall effort, which includes sanctions as decided by the EU, the G7 and others, to promote a peaceful solution to the conflict and to address Russia’s actions.

23. We face evolving challenges in the Baltic and Black Sea regions, the North Atlantic, as well as in the Mediterranean, which are of strategic importance to the Alliance and to our partners. Russia continues to strengthen its military posture, increase its military activities, deploy new high-end capabilities, and challenge regional security. These developments have resulted in increased unpredictability that could be mitigated through reciprocal transparency and risk reduction measures. Recognising the indivisibility of Allied security, we will continue to closely monitor the situation in these regions. Our response will be tailored to specific circumstances in each region. We will also work with interested partners to enhance our situational awareness and to develop common approaches to evolving challenges.
In the Baltic Sea region, where the security situation has deteriorated since 2014, the Alliance has developed mutually beneficial partnership relations with Finland and Sweden on a broad range of issues. We appreciate the significant contributions of Finland and Sweden to NATO-led operations. We are dedicated to the continuous process of further strengthening our cooperation with these enhanced opportunities partners, including through regular political consultations, shared situational awareness, and joint exercises, in order to respond to common challenges in a timely and effective manner.
In the Black Sea region, the security situation has also deteriorated in recent years. We will continue to address the implications for NATO of developments in the region and take them into account in the Alliance’s approaches and policies. We will continue to support, as appropriate, regional efforts by the Black Sea littoral states aimed at ensuring security and stability. We will also strengthen our dialogue and cooperation with Georgia and Ukraine in this regard.
In the North Atlantic, as elsewhere, the Alliance will be ready to deter and defend against any potential threats, including against sea lines of communication and maritime approaches of NATO territory. In this context, we will further strengthen our maritime posture and comprehensive situational awareness.

24. We continue to support the right of all our partners to make independent and sovereign choices on foreign and security policy, free from external pressure and coercion. We remain committed in our support for the territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova. In this context, we continue to support efforts towards a peaceful settlement of the conflicts in the South Caucasus, as well as in the Republic of Moldova, based upon these principles and the norms of international law, the UN Charter, and the Helsinki Final Act. We urge all parties to engage constructively and with reinforced political will in peaceful conflict resolution, within the established negotiation frameworks.
27. ...We reiterate our full commitment and determination to defend NATO territory and borders against any threats and address challenges emanating from the Syrian conflict. We condemn all kinds of indiscriminate violence against civilians and civilian infrastructure. We also condemn in the strongest terms the unabated and indiscriminate campaign of bombardment, including the use of incendiary weapons, and violence by the Assad regime and its supporters deliberately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure...
37. Through the longer term Adaptation Measures of the Readiness Action Plan, we have:
a. Enhanced the NATO Response Force (NRF), increasing its readiness and substantially enlarging its size, making it a more capable and flexible joint force comprised of a division-size land element with air, maritime, and special operations forces components.
b. Created a new Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), able to begin deployment within two to three days. It has been certified, exercised at short notice, and on stand-by since 2015. Seven VJTF framework nations1have been identified and a VJTF rotation plan established through 2022.
c. Established eight multinational NATO Force Integration Units on the territory of Allies in the eastern part of the Alliance to assist in training of Alliance forces and in the reception of reinforcements when needed.
d. Taken the necessary steps to increase NATO’s ability to reinforce through new infrastructure projects and increased flexibility in the rapid movement of forces across national territory.
e. As part of the NATO Force Structure, made the Headquarters of a Multinational Corps Northeast in Poland fully operational, and established the Headquarters of a Multinational Division Southeast in Romania to take command of the NATO Force Integration Units and to provide flexible command and control options in their regions.
f. Decided to enhance NATO Standing Naval Forces with additional capabilities.
g. Delivered a more ambitious NATO exercise programme. National exercises are an important part of this effort. In 2015 alone, NATO and Allies conducted 300 exercises, including NATO’s largest and most complex exercise in over a decade – Trident Juncture 2015 in Italy, Portugal, and Spain.
h. Enhanced advance planning and enabled accelerated decision-making to ensure both military and political responsiveness.
i. Agreed a strategy on NATO’s role in Countering Hybrid Warfare, which is being implemented in coordination with the EU...
These Adaptation Measures will remain a major driver of NATO’s military adaptation and need to be sustained over time.

38. In light of the changed and evolving security environment, further adaptation is needed. Therefore, we have decided to further strengthen the Alliance’s deterrence and defence posture. Building on the success of the Readiness Action Plan, today we are adopting a broad approach to deterrence and defence which draws upon all of the tools at NATO’s disposal. This will provide the Alliance with a range of options to be able to respond to any threats from wherever they arise. Given the different nature, types and origins of threats, we will tailor our response to specific circumstances. Taken together, the measures we are approving at this Summit will enhance the security of all Allies and ensure protection of Alliance territory, populations, airspace and sealines of communication, including across the Atlantic, against all threats from wherever they arise. In this context, our response is united and adequate to the new security environment, demonstrating our ability and willingness to defend one another. As part of the Alliance posture, these measures are defensive in nature, proportionate, consistent with our international commitments and demonstrate our respect for the rules-based European security architecture.

39. As a means to prevent conflict and war, credible deterrence and defence is essential. At the same time, as part of the Alliance’s overall approach to providing security for NATO populations and territory, deterrence has to be complemented by meaningful dialogue and engagement with Russia, to seek reciprocal transparency and risk reduction. Those efforts will not come at the expense of ensuring NATO’s credible deterrence and defence.

40. We have decided to establish an enhanced forward presence in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to unambiguously demonstrate, as part of our overall posture, Allies’ solidarity, determination, and ability to act by triggering an immediate Allied response to any aggression. Beginning in early 2017, enhanced forward presence will comprise multinational forces provided by framework nations and other contributing Allies on a voluntary, sustainable, and rotational basis. They will be based on four battalion-sized battlegroups that can operate in concert with national forces, present at all times in these countries, underpinned by a viable reinforcement strategy. We welcome the offers of Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States to serve as framework nations for the robust multinational presence in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland respectively. We have also accepted the Polish offer to provide an existing division headquarters as a basis for the establishment of a multinational division headquarters, pending agreement on the modalities by the Council. We recognise the integral role host nations will play in enhanced forward presence. We further welcome additional contributions from across the Alliance to support this important endeavour. We recognise the significant resource commitments of Allies.

41. We will also develop tailored forward presence in the southeast part of the Alliance territory. Appropriate measures, tailored to the Black Sea region and including the Romanian initiative to establish a multinational framework brigade to help improve integrated training of Allied units under Headquarters Multinational Division Southeast, will contribute to the Alliance’s strengthened deterrence and defence posture, situational awareness, and peacetime demonstration of NATO’s intent to operate without constraint. It will also provide a strong signal of support to regional security. Options for a strengthened NATO air and maritime presence will be assessed.
51. The greatest responsibility of the Alliance is to protect and defend our territory and our populations against attack, as set out in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. No one should doubt NATO's resolve if the security of any of its members were to be threatened. NATO will maintain the full range of capabilities necessary to deter and defend against any threat to the safety and security of our populations, wherever it should arise.
53. Allies’ goal is to bolster deterrence as a core element of our collective defence and to contribute to the indivisible security of the Alliance. As long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance. The strategic forces of the Alliance, particularly those of the United States, are the supreme guarantee of the security of the Allies. The independent strategic nuclear forces of the United Kingdom and France have a deterrent role of their own and contribute to the overall security of the Alliance. These Allies’ separate centres of decision-making contribute to deterrence by complicating the calculations of potential adversaries. NATO's nuclear deterrence posture also relies, in part, on United States’ nuclear weapons forward-deployed in Europe and on capabilities and infrastructure provided by Allies concerned. These Allies will ensure that all components of NATO's nuclear deterrent remain safe, secure, and effective. That requires sustained leadership focus and institutional excellence for the nuclear deterrence mission and planning guidance aligned with 21st century requirements. The Alliance will ensure the broadest possible participation of Allies concerned in their agreed nuclear burden-sharing arrangements.

54. The fundamental purpose of NATO's nuclear capability is to preserve peace, prevent coercion, and deter aggression. Nuclear weapons are unique. Any employment of nuclear weapons against NATO would fundamentally alter the nature of a conflict. The circumstances in which NATO might have to use nuclear weapons are extremely remote. If the fundamental security of any of its members were to be threatened however, NATO has the capabilities and resolve to impose costs on an adversary that would be unacceptable and far outweigh the benefits that an adversary could hope to achieve.

55. Missile defence can complement the role of nuclear weapons in deterrence; it cannot substitute for them. The capability is purely defensive. The threat to NATO populations, territory, and forces posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles continues to increase, and missile defence forms part of a broader response to counter it.

56. At our Summit in Lisbon in 2010, we decided to develop a NATO Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) capability to pursue our core task of collective defence. The aim of this capability is to provide full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations, territory, and forces against the increasing threats posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles, based on the principles of indivisibility of Allies' security and NATO solidarity, equitable sharing of risks and burdens, as well as reasonable challenge, taking into account the level of threat, affordability, and technical feasibility, and in accordance with the latest common threat assessments agreed by the Alliance. Should international efforts reduce the threats posed by ballistic missile proliferation, NATO missile defence can and will adapt accordingly.

57. At our Summit in Chicago in 2012, we declared the achievement of an Interim NATO BMD Capability as an operationally significant first step. At the Wales Summit, we welcomed the forward deployment of BMD-capable Aegis ships to Rota, Spain that could be made available to NATO. Today a new milestone in the development of NATO BMD has been reached and we are pleased to declare the achievement of the NATO BMD Initial Operational Capability. This is a significant step toward the aim of NATO BMD that offers a stronger capability to defend our populations, territory, and forces across southern NATO Europe against a potential ballistic missile attack. The Aegis Ashore site in Deveselu, Romania represents a significant portion of this increase in capability, and the command and control (C2) of the Aegis Ashore site is being transferred to NATO. We also welcome that Turkey hosts a forward-based early-warning BMD radar at Kürecik and that Poland will be hosting an Aegis Ashore site at the Redzikowo military base. We are also pleased that additional voluntary national contributions have been offered by Allies, and we encourage further voluntary contributions, all of which will add robustness to the capability.
59. We will develop further our engagement with third states, on a case-by-case basis, to enhance transparency and confidence and to increase ballistic missile defence effectiveness. This could involve information exchange, consultation, and cooperation. NATO missile defence is not directed against Russia and will not undermine Russia’s strategic deterrence capabilities. NATO missile defence is intended to defend against potential threats emanating from outside the Euro-Atlantic area. We have explained to Russia many times that the BMD system is not capable against Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent and there is no intention to redesign this system to have such a capability in the future. Hence, Russian statements threatening to target Allies because of NATO BMD are unacceptable and counterproductive. Should Russia be ready to discuss BMD with NATO, and subject to Alliance agreement, NATO remains open to discussion.

69. We remain committed to conventional arms control as a key element of Euro-Atlantic security. Full implementation and compliance with these commitments is essential to rebuild trust and confidence in the Euro-Atlantic region. Russia’s unilateral military activity in and around Ukraine continues to undermine peace, security, and stability across the region, and its selective implementation of the Vienna Document and Open Skies Treaty and long-standing non-implementation of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty have eroded the positive contributions of these arms control instruments. Allies call on Russia to fully adhere to its commitments. Allies are determined to preserve, strengthen, and modernise conventional arms control in Europe, based on key principles and commitments, including reciprocity, transparency, and host nation consent. We underscore the importance of modernising the Vienna Document to ensure its continued relevance in the evolving security environment, including through its substantive update in 2016.
101. As part of the Partnership Interoperability Initiative, at Wales we also agreed to offer enhanced opportunities for cooperation to Australia, Finland, Georgia, Jordan and Sweden, in recognition of their significant operational contributions to NATO. These partners have been increasingly involved into NATO’s work on our common security challenges. Their participation at this Summit testifies to the deep links we have built with them. We engage with each of them individually, according to our and their needs, circumstances, and ambitions, and in line with NATO’s own security interests. We have developed our practical cooperation to varying degrees and in different formats: enhanced opportunities partners are now pre-approved for a range of NATO exercises; they are also engaged in NATO defence capacity building work, participating in the enhanced NATO Response Force and developing joint threat assessments with us. We stand ready to consider offering enhanced opportunities to other partners as their contributions and interests warrant.
109. The invitation to Montenegro in December 2015 to join our Alliance and the subsequent signature of the Accession Protocol in May 2016 recognise the reforms Montenegro has undertaken, the commitment it has shown to our common values, and its contribution to international security. Montenegro now has Invitee status and is integrating into NATO activities. We look forward to the expeditious conclusion of the ratification of the Accession Protocol, and to Montenegro’s continued progress on reform, before and after accession, in order to enhance its contribution to the Alliance. We appreciate the significant contribution Montenegro makes to NATO-led operations.

110. Today we reaffirm our commitment to the Open Door Policy, a founding principle of the Washington Treaty and one of the Alliance’s great successes. Montenegro’s presence with us today is a tangible demonstration of this, and we look forward to welcoming the country as our next member as soon as possible. Euro-Atlantic integration advances democratic values, reform, and respect for the rule of law. The freedom and prosperity of our societies are built on these foundations. Euro-Atlantic integration also provides a path to stability and strengthens collective security. Successive rounds of enlargement have enhanced our security and the security of the entire Euro-Atlantic region. NATO’s door is open to all European democracies which share the values of our Alliance, which are willing and able to assume the responsibilities and obligations of membership, which are in a position to further the principles of the Treaty, and whose inclusion can contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area. Decisions on enlargement are for NATO itself. We remain fully committed to the integration of those countries that aspire to join the Alliance, judging each on its own merits. We encourage those partners who aspire to join the Alliance – Georgia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia2, and Bosnia and Herzegovina – to continue to implement the necessary reforms and decisions to prepare for membership. We will continue to offer support to their efforts and look to them to take the steps necessary to advance their aspirations.

111. At the 2008 Bucharest Summit we agreed that Georgia will become a member of NATO with MAP as an integral part of the process; today we reaffirm all elements of that decision, as well as subsequent decisions. We welcome the significant progress realised since 2008. Georgia’s relationship with the Alliance contains all the practical tools to prepare for eventual membership. This year’s parliamentary elections will be another key step towards the consolidation of democratic institutions. We encourage Georgia to continue making full use of all the opportunities for coming closer to the Alliance offered by the NATO-Georgia Commission, the Annual National Programme, its role as an enhanced opportunities partner, its participation in our Defence Capacity Building Initiative, and the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package. NATO highly appreciates Georgia’s significant and continuous contributions to the NATO Response Force and the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan and recognises the sacrifices and contributions the Georgian people have made to our shared security.

112. We welcome the important progress made in implementing the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, which we initiated at the Wales Summit. More than 30 experts from Allied and partner countries are now supporting Georgia across various areas of cooperation. Georgia is doing its part in allocating significant resources to this effort. The Joint Training and Evaluation Centre, which helps strengthen Georgia’s self-defence and resilience capabilities, is up and running. We will continue to provide the resources needed to implement the Substantial Package, which aims to strengthen Georgia's capabilities and, thereby, helps Georgia advance in its preparations for membership in the Alliance. We have agreed additional practical ways to intensify efforts, including support to Georgia’s crisis management capabilities, training and exercises, and improvements in strategic communications. Allies will provide support to the development of Georgia’s air defence and air surveillance. We will also deepen our focus on security in the Black Sea region.

113. We reiterate our support to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders. We welcome Georgia’s commitment not to use force and call on Russia to reciprocate. We call on Russia to reverse its recognition of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia as independent states, to stop its construction of border-like obstacles along the administrative boundary lines, and to withdraw its forces from Georgia. NATO does not recognise the so-called treaties signed between the Abkhazia region of Georgia and Russia in November 2014, and the South Ossetia region of Georgia and Russia in March 2015. These violate Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and blatantly contradict the principles of international law, OSCE principles and Russia’s international commitments. We encourage all participants in the Geneva talks to play a constructive role, as well as to continue working closely with the OSCE, the UN, and the EU to pursue peaceful conflict resolution in the internationally recognised territory of Georgia.
116. In Wales, we extended the Defence and Related Security Capacity Building Initiative to the Republic of Moldova. Since then, Allies and partners have provided expertise and advice in support of the ongoing defence reform process to strengthen the capabilities of the Moldovan armed forces and the defence sector. Allies remain committed to this work so that the country can enjoy a stable, secure and prosperous future in accordance with the values shared by European democracies. In order to realise such a future, it is important that the Republic of Moldova remains committed to the implementation of reforms that benefit all its citizens. We thank the Republic of Moldova for its contribution to NATO-led operations.

117. Ukraine is a long-standing and distinctive partner of the Alliance. At our Summit here in Warsaw, we are meeting with President Poroshenko and issuing a joint statement. An independent, sovereign and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to Euro-Atlantic security. We stand firm in our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and Ukraine’s right to decide its own future and foreign policy course free from outside interference, as set out in the Helsinki Final Act. Russia continues to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence. Despite these challenging circumstances, Ukraine’s government is making progress in implementing wide-ranging reforms towards European and Euro-Atlantic standards, based on democratic values, respect for human rights, minorities and the rule of law, which will be essential in promoting prosperity and long-term stability. We welcome the steps Ukraine has taken to fight corruption, maintain International Monetary Fund conditionality, reform the judiciary, and move towards decentralisation, but substantial challenges remain and continued efforts are required. We strongly encourage Ukraine to remain committed to the full implementation of these and other necessary reforms and to ensuring their sustainability. Recalling our previous Summit decisions, NATO will continue to support Ukraine in carrying out its reform agenda, including through the Annual National Programme in the framework of our Distinctive Partnership.

118. NATO-Ukraine cooperation is an important part of the Alliance’s contribution to the international community’s efforts to project stability in the Euro-Atlantic area and beyond. We welcome Ukraine’s intent to further deepen its Distinctive Partnership with NATO, as well as its past and present contributions to NATO-led operations and the NATO Response Force even while it has been defending itself against Russia’s aggressive actions. Ukraine’s choice to adopt and implement NATO principles and standards, for which its Strategic Defence Bulletin provides a roadmap, will promote greater interoperability between our forces. The Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Brigade is an important element of this effort. It will also enhance Ukraine’s ability to better provide for its own security, through functioning security and defence institutions under civilian democratic control that are accountable, sustainable, and effective. Ukraine’s participation in the Defence Education Enhancement Programme is an important effort in this respect. NATO will continue to provide strategic advice and practical support to the reform of Ukraine’s security and defence sector, including as set out in the Comprehensive Assistance Package which we are endorsing together with President Poroshenko at today’s meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission. The Comprehensive Assistance Package is aimed at consolidating and enhancing NATO’s support to Ukraine, including by tailored capability and capacity building measures for the security and defence sector, which will contribute to enhance Ukraine’s resilience against a wide array of threats, including hybrid threats.

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