KIEV, December 6. /TASS/. Ukraine should stop banking on NATO in its standoff with Moscow, former Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk said at a roundtable titled “Russia’s armed aggression: Challenges to World Order and Solutions for Ukraine” on Thursday.

Talking to reporters ahead of the meeting, he cautioned them against stirring up false expectations in society.

“Never, under no circumstances will NATO begin any military operations fighting alongside Ukraine, since Ukraine is not a NATO member. According to NATO’s Charter, NATO protects its members, while we have to defend Ukraine ourselves,” Kravchuk stressed.

The most Ukraine can count on is support “in the form of weapons,” along with “diplomatic, political and organizational support,” the former president went to say. “However, we should not think someone will do something for us,” he added.

After the November 25 incident when Ukrainian naval ships breached Russia’s state border, officials in Kiev began saying they wanted NATO to play a bigger role in its standoff with Russia. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin openly called on the alliance to deploy its warships to the Black Sea. According to Klimkin, the issue was to be discussed at a meeting with NATO countries’ top diplomats in Brussels. However, the alliance’s chief Jens Stoltenberg made no mention of that after the meeting.

Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko likewise said in an interview with the German media group Funke published last week that the West should build up its military presence in the Black Sea, “in order to deter Russia.”

Kerch Strait incident

On November 25, three Ukrainian naval ships violated the rules of passage from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov. The intruding Ukrainian vessels illegally crossed the Russian state border, trespassed into Russian territorial waters and conducted dangerous maneuvers. In defiance of repeated warnings and demands to halt, the Ukrainian ships carried on violating the law, which drove the Russian forces to use gunfire in order to compel them to stop. As a result, all three ships were detained. In addition, three Ukrainian sailors were injured in the incident, who were later given medical assistance. A criminal case was opened over the violation of the Russian state border.

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