Ukraine has what it needs to combat separatists: Official

Ukraine has all that needs to combat pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, most importantly the political support of the West, acting defence minister Mykhaylo Koval said Tuesday.

AFP| Last Updated: Jun 03, 2014, 22:37 PM IST

Brussels: Ukraine has all that needs to combat pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, most importantly the political support of the West, acting defence minister Mykhaylo Koval said Tuesday.

Attending a NATO defence ministers meeting where the Ukraine crisis was top of the agenda, Koval said they had assured him of their support for the country as it struggles to end an insurgency which Washington charges is driven by Moscow.

Asked about what military capabilities Kiev had requested of its NATO partners, Koval said the issue did not arise.

"Our country has all the necessary capabilities" to defend itself, he said.

There were some problems with anti-aircraft, communications and intelligence, but "all the rest we have," he said.

Asked if lethal weaponry might be needed at some point, Koval replied: "At the moment, we are only talking about non-lethal aid."

A NATO experts delegation is currently in Kiev to help the authorities review the state of the military and the "profound reforms" needed to make it more effective, another Ukraine official said.

Koval similarly said that there was no intelligence cooperation with NATO.

After the ending of the Cold War in the 1990s, Ukraine became a partner state of NATO, meaning it cooperated in a variety of areas without joining the US-led 28-member alliance.

It was offered NATO membership in 2008 but then pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych ruled out that option in 2010 in favour of more limited ties given Moscow`s fears that its Soviet era ally would defect to the West.