Stoltenberg: NATO to strengthen cooperation in Black Sea with Ukraine and Georgia.

NATO Allies closely follows the situation in the Black Sea region and intend to discuss areas of political and practical cooperation with partners in the region with the participation of the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Georgia.

"The Black Sea region is of strategic importance to NATO and to all Allies. The three NATO Allies – Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania – are coastal countries. We work closely with our valued partners, Georgia and Ukraine. Therefore, NATO maintains a significant presence in the Black Sea region, and will work more closely with Ukraine and Georgia. We see that Russia continues to violate the territorial integrity and sovereignty of these two countries, in particular, through the illegal annexation of Crimea and the presence of Russian troops in parts of Georgia," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference ahead of the meetings of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs, which will take place on December 1-2 via video conferencing, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

He noted that NATO responded to Russia's behavior, which continues to actively militarize the annexed Crimean peninsula, by stepping up political and practical support for Ukraine and Georgia to work together to strengthen security throughout the Black Sea region.

"We will discuss how we will address these issues together on Wednesday when we meet with the foreign ministers of the two partner countries," the NATO Secretary General added.

In October, First Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Emine Dzheppar told the Alliance representatives that Ukraine supported NATO's permanent presence in the Black Sea region which could hinder the growth of Russia's "appetites" in the Sea of Azov, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea region.

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