NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said the Alliance continues to step up support for Ukraine and Georgia in the Black Sea region.
"The Black Sea Region is of strategic importance for NATO and all NATO Allies, and we are working closely with our two highly-valued partners, Georgia and Ukraine, in the Black Sea Region…," he said at a press conference on November 30 ahead of the meetings of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
"So, we have increased the NATO presence in the Black Sea Region and we are working closely with Ukraine and Georgia as partners, because we have seen that Russia has violated the territorial integrity and sovereignty of these two countries, with the illegal annexation of Crimea, and the presence of Russian forces in parts of what is actually recognised Georgian territory," the official said.
"We are stepping up our political support, our practical support, and we see that Russia is increasing their military presence, not least in Crimea. And that's reason why we need to further strengthen our presence in the region, and to also address this with our partners Georgia and Ukraine, as we're going to do on Wednesday when we meet with the foreign ministers from these two partner countries," he said.
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However, NATO has already a significant presence in the Black Sea Region, he stressed.
"We have a maritime presence; we recently had Allied ships exercising there. And we also have a deployment of a training brigade, a Romanian-led multinational brigade in Romania," Stoltenberg added.