NATO supports Ukraine, demands return of Crimea - NATO Dpty Secretary General.

The North Atlantic Alliance supports Ukraine's position and also demands the return of the occupied Crimea peninsula to its jurisdiction, NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana said.

"NATO continues to support Ukraine on the path to democratization, strengthening the rule of law and security sector reform, including supporting the development of the capabilities of the Ukrainian armed forces and responses to hybrid threats. NATO is together with Ukraine, we demand the return of Crimea, we reaffirm our readiness to support Ukraine in the fight for freedom," Geoana said at the founding summit of the Crimea Platform in Kyiv on Monday.

He said that the Ukrainian people have chosen the path to freedom, democracy and Euro-Atlantic integration.

"As Mr. Stoltenberg said at one time in front of the Verkhovna Rada, NATO is on the side of Ukraine, NATO seriously condemns and will never recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. Crimea is the territory of Ukraine, and we call on Russia to return control of the peninsula to Ukraine," Geoana said.

At the June summit, NATO leaders reaffirmed their steadfast support for Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty, he said. "We condemned the buildup of the military presence and the destabilization of the situation on the part of the Russian Federation. We call on it to stop violating human rights against all Ukrainians, including the Crimea Tatars," NATO Deputy Secretary General said.

Geoana also said that NATO confirms the decision of the Bucharest summit that Ukraine and Georgia will become NATO members.

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