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Belgium: NATO vows to support Ukraine over Azov Sea incident

NATO will deliver secure communications equipment for the Ukrainian Armed Forces by the end of the year, said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Brussels on Thursday.

“NATO provides Ukraine with strong political and strong practical support. This includes around 40 million euros pledged by allies for NATO-Ukraine trust funds. One such trust fund is helping Ukraine improve command, control and communications,” said Stoltenberg.

Stoltenberg addressed the situation in the Azov Sea saying “Russia must immediately release the sailors and the ships they seized and allow freedom of navigation, including free access to Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov.”

“By using their open fire against Ukrainian vessel, Russia crossed the red line. And we cannot, and shall not let it go without a clear and strong response,” Poroshenko said.

“Ukraine invited allies to come up with comprehensive hard measures to respond to Russia’s action. Need to enhance as we agreed permanent presence in the Black Sea and it is needed to prevent escalation, tension further and to ensure the security in the region,” he added.

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