Ukraine to join in NATO’s anti-piracy mission

Ukrainian Defense Minister Pavlo Lebedev and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, February 22, 2013

From Helen Maguire, DPA:  Ukraine is to take part in NATO’s anti-piracy operation in the Indian Ocean, the alliance’s secretary general announced Friday, ahead of talks between NATO defence ministers and their new Ukrainian counterpart, Pavlo Lebedev.

At the meeting, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was also expected to warn Kiev to respect democracy and the rule of law, while praising the country’s previous contributions to NATO missions, including in Afghanistan.

"I have just received an exchange of letters in which Mr Lebvedev confirms Ukraine’s participation in NATO’s anti-piracy mission," Rasmussen said.

Kiev is to offer a frigate and a helicopter for operation Open Shield in the second half of 2013, a NATO official said. The mission was launched in 2009 to deter pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa.

The military alliance still had to certify however "that the Ukrainian contribution is capable of operating effectively with NATO vessels," the official added. . . .

"The determined implementation of reform to reinforce democracy and the rule of law would benefit the people of Ukraine and the whole Euro-Atlantic community," Rasmussen said.   (photo: NATO)

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