Ukraine and NATO allies must coordinate closely and take any measures that can help contain Russia and prevent worst-case scenarios, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said amid a buildup of Russia's military presence near Ukraine's borders.
"More importantly, we all, Ukraine and allies, must coordinate closely and take any measures that can help contain Russia and prevent worst-case scenarios. Since whatever the cost of these containment measures, the cost of stopping the 'hot phase' the conflict will be much higher," Kuleba said at a press conference following talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on Monday.
The minister drew attention to the need to be ready for all scenarios, all options, as well as to strengthen Ukraine's stability in relation to these scenarios.
"It is premature to say exactly what the Russian scenario will be: is the build-up of the military presence the main plan, which will be accompanied by efforts to destabilize Ukraine from within, or the buildup of the military presence will serve as a background force, a background argument for the destabilizing efforts that Russia is undertaking inside the country," Kuleba said.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine said Russia demonstrates that it can quickly activate the troops and equipment already accumulated near the Ukrainian borders, and that all options, including the military, are being considered by the Russian leadership.
"According to Ukraine, what we are currently seeing along the border is not only a build-up of the military presence, because Russia has already pulled a military armada to our borders in the spring, and has not withdrawn it since that time. We see now, this is a worsening situation in which Russia demonstrates that it can quickly activate the already accumulated troops and equipment, and that all options, including the military, are being considered by the Russian leadership," he said.
Kuleba said in this situation Ukraine expects three things from NATO.
"First. A clear and strong signal to everyone - Russia, the people of Ukraine, partners in the EU, allies, from NATO, demotivating Russia from further aggressive actions and motivating Ukrainians to remain steadfast and strong," he said.
In addition, the minister said in the spring he submitted ten specific proposals on how NATO can support Ukraine.
"Progress has been made on a number of these ten points, and today I will ask you to speed up this work and act accordingly. These are points related to specific areas of cooperation between Ukraine and NATO," Kuleba said.
Kuleba also pointed out the need to remember the very tense and dangerous situation in the Black Sea region.
"Calling on allies in the Black Sea to cooperate more closely with Ukraine and Georgia, also with Moldova, on security in the Black Sea region and joining forces in the Black Sea between NATO members and non-members is something that would be very timely and useful," he said.
Kuleba said that Russia continues to fuel the conflict in eastern Ukraine by supplying weapons and troops, financing the occupation administration, and issuing Russian passports to the local population.
"The military maneuvers of Russia, the energy crisis in Europe, the dramatic use of migrants as weapons on the Polish and Lithuanian borders with Belarus and massive disinformation should be considered as one set of events, because they are all elements of a hybrid war between Russia and the European and Euro-Atlantic communities," the minister said.
He said that Ukraine has always been and remains fully committed to peace, justice and security in Europe.