’s president has asked the former NATO secretary general to act as his unofficial advisor.
“Appoint Anders Fogh Rasmussen as adviser to the President of Ukraine outside the official staff [subject to his consent],” read the text of the relevant decree, published on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s website on Saturday.
Rasmussen was the twelfth Secretary General of NATO in the period from August 2009 to September 2014.
Ukraine has been heavily relying on the members of the US-led alliance for military and political support in the face of Russia since 2014, when Moscow-Kiev relations frayed due to the Crimean Peninsula’s voting in favor of leaving territorial contiguity with Ukraine and rejoining the Russian Federation.
The bilateral ties have also suffered from Ukraine’s carrying out a military crackdown on pro-Russia forces fighting for greater autonomy in the country’s east.
A Ukrainian serviceman is seen at a government-controlled position on the frontline against pro-Russians near the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine on June 9, 2015. (Photo by AFP)
Earlier in the month, the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council adopted a program for the reorganization of Ukraine’s defense industry and military in line with NATO’s standards. “We are beginning real reorganization of the defense and security sector in order to join NATO,” Poroshenko said at the time.
NATO, for its part, is pressing for expansion right up to Russia’s doorstep, with Sweden mulling accession and Montenegro being on the verge of joining the alliance.
Moscow has branded the eastward push as “provocative,” warning it has retaliatory steps in store.
The 28-member NATO already includes some former communist states in Eastern Europe
, like Croatia and Slovenia, which similar to Montenegro emerged from former Yugoslavia’s disintegration.