Ukraine provides strategic air transport capacity to NATO countries in response to the COVID-19 crisis, said Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
During an online video conference for journalists ahead of an online pre-ministerial press conference, ahead of the extraordinary meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) at the level of Defense Ministers to be held by secure teleconference on April 15, He asked if the involvement of Ukrainian aircraft AN-225 Mriya, AN-22 Antey and AN-124 Ruslan in the delivery of medical supplies from China to NATO countries would be taken into account when evaluating the possibility of Ukraine becoming a member of Enhanced Opportunity Partnership.
“We are also working with partners in different ways. And we welcome the fact that NATO has so many partners and that we can come together and address common challenges like the COVID-19 crisis. And Ukraine helped NATO allies because Ukraine provides strategic air transport, "he said.
Stoltenberg said that the Ukrainian planes have enormous capacity, and the attraction of these planes shows how NATO is cooperating with Ukraine as a partner country. According to him, over a long period of time, Ukrainian planes have demonstrated their importance in elevating medical teams from China around the world to NATO member countries in Europe.
Ukraine's largest aircraft participate in the NATO-supported Strategic International Air Transport Solution, which provides NATO countries participating in the program with access to heavy transport aircraft.
NATO member countries are pooling their resources to lease special jets that give the Alliance the ability to transport troops, equipment and supplies around the world. Strong strategic air transport capabilities are vital to ensure that NATO countries can rapidly deploy their forces and equipment wherever they are needed.
A multinational consortium of nine countries is leasing Antonov Antonov's plane as an International Strategic Air Transport Solution (SALIS). SALIS provides secure access to a fleet of AN-22, AN-124 and AN-225 aircraft (mission-ready within a few days in case of crisis) in support of national, NATO and European Union operations ( EU).