"Ukraine is not a member of NATO, so there is a difference between Ukraine and NATO members, because the security guarantee is for NATO allies ... We provide Ukraine with strong political support and practical assistance, promoting reforms in the field of defense, increasing the ability of self-protection," Stoltenberg said.
According to him, the most important thing now is "to support the implementation of the Minsk agreements, meaning respecting the cease-fire, making sure that all their weapons are withdrawn from the front line and to make sure that happens we need proper monitoring."
"There are more and more snap exercises with no prior notification," Stoltenberg told the Guardian during a visit to London. "It is important we keep the channels for military communication open to have as much transparency as possible to avoid misunderstandings and to make sure that incidents don't spiral and get out of control. Every nation has the right to conduct exercises, as long as they do it within their international obligations," the secretary general said.
"But the recent Russian practice of calling snap exercises is of serious concern. Sudden, unpredictable and surprise military maneuvers contribute to instability. Russia has conducted about a dozen snap exercises over the past two years. Russia's takeover of Crimea was done under the guise of a snap exercise. NATO has not conducted snap exercises since the end of the cold war."