(Corrects "air force" to "armed forces" in fifth paragraph)
MADRID, June 15 NATO is preparing measures to
help Ukraine defend itself in its stand-off with Russia, and
must adapt to the fact that Moscow now views it as an adversary,
Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in an interview
published on Sunday.
Kiev blames Moscow for the separatist rising in east
Ukraine, where the death toll rose on Saturday after pro-Russian
separatists shot down a Ukraine army transport plane, and
tensions are also high following Russia's annexation of Crimea.
While NATO has made clear it has no plans to get involved
militarily in Ukraine, it has sent fighter aircraft and ships to
eastern Europe and Rasmussen said it was considering long-term
measures to ensure the protection of its allies.
"We must adapt to the fact that Russia now considers us its
adversary," Rasmussen told El Pais newspaper.
He said NATO was preparing an aid package to present to its
members' foreign ministers at the end of this month that would
include help for Ukraine to reform its defence sector and
modernise its armed forces.
Last week, NATO's top military commander said NATO and its
member countries were considering requests from Ukraine ranging
from help with communications and training to weaponry and
However, any assistance from NATO itself was likely to be
advice rather than equipment. NATO officials have said the
alliance does not have weaponry to supply and that any decision
to give armaments to Ukraine would be for individual allies.
Still, the aid package could make it easier for Ukraine to
take part in joint exercises and Rasmussen did not rule out that
an individual NATO ally could take part in exercises on
(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Sophie Hares and Erica