Denis Shmygal: To NATO – after Georgia

Georgia: Divisions over NATO membership bid

Jens Stoltenberg noted that NATO’s doors are open for Ukraine: the more efficiently the country implements reforms, the closer it is to NATO

KIEV – Ukraine’s goal – NATO membership and the country’s government is ready to do everything possible to achieve this goal. This was stated on February 9 during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels by the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denis Shmygal.

«An important and effective instrument for implementing reforms is the Annual National Program, which is a roadmap for the implementation of Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Preparation of the program for 2021 is at the final stage», – noted the Prime Minister, according to the Government portal of the executive authorities of Ukraine.

The Alliance website emphasizes that the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also welcomed Ukraine’s efforts to implement major reforms that support its Euro-Atlantic aspirations. He recalled that Ukraine is a NATO partner country with expanded capabilities.

«All NATO countries are united in condemning the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia and its aggressive actions in eastern Ukraine. We call on Russia to stop supporting militants in eastern Ukraine and withdraw its forces from the territory. We highly appreciate the efforts of Ukraine aimed at achieving a peaceful settlement of the conflict», – he said.

Secretary General noted NATO has donated over forty million euros to trust funds. «It is critical that security sector reforms continue», – NATO Secretary General emphasized.

At a press conference after talks with Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister Denis Shmygal noted that for Ukraine the receipt of the NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) – «this is a key, short-term goal».

«We want to keep up with Georgia and [want] to get the MAP together with Georgia. We are actively working on this.», – emphasized Denis Shmygal.

Jens Stoltenberg noted that «NATO’s doors remain open. […] The more efficiently Ukraine implements reforms and more effectively implements NATO standards, the closer the country gets to NATO».

The Secretary General also said NATO and Ukraine support each other throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Jens Stoltenberg added that the NATO Pandemic Response Trust Fund will be used to deliver critical medical supplies to Ukraine, including portable oxygen concentrators, mobile X-ray units and personal protective equipment..

About air border monitoring

Ukraine hopes for NATO support in monitoring the air situation along the border with Russia and proposes to use the airspace in the Simferopol region (Crimea) for NATO air operations.

This was announced on February 10 by the Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Vladislav Krikliy during talks with NATO Undersecretary General for Defense Policy and Planning Patrick Turner. The meeting took place within the framework of a working visit of a government delegation led by Prime Minister of Ukraine Denis Shmygal to Brussels.

«[…] we propose to use this part of the airspace for NATO air operations to transport troops, equipment, cargo and the like. We look forward to NATO support in monitoring the air situation along the border with Russia», – noted Vladislav Krikliy, according to the Government portal.

Recall that in a recent interview with the Axios program, released on the HBO platform, President Vladimir Zelensky stressed that the first question in his communication with the US leader would have sounded like this: «Mister President, why are we still not in NATO??»

The President of Ukraine recalled in this interview that at the time of the outbreak of the war in 2014, the country was «no sanctions, no NATO», poorly trained, with not a modernized army, but «we were able to keep the enemy out».

Reforms in society and the army

Managing Partner of the National Anti-Crisis Group Taras Zagorodny notes that NATO membership implies reforms not only of the Armed Forces, but also the introduction of European democratic standards, an active fight against corruption and the stability of the political system.

«And, given that we have these changes in their embryonic state, I’m not sure that we are close to the NATO Membership Action Plan. The issues of sustainability of our borders are not resolved – this is a direct reference to the Fifth Clause of the NATO Charter – an attack on one of the members of the Alliance is considered an attack on all members of the organization» – Taras Zagorodny says to the correspondent of the Russian Service «Voices of America».

Denis Shmygal: To NATO - after Georgia

He believes that rapprochement with the United States under the program of a US ally outside NATO may be more realistic for Ukraine..

«It is possible to obtain such ally status, which South Korea and Israel, which are not NATO members, but are de facto under US protection, have.», – notes by Taras Zagorodny.

Territorial issues, he said, is one of the reasons why Georgia, which has fulfilled the necessary requirements to apply for the MAP, is not NATO.

«We must not forget that in the Alliance Ukraine can be opposed by countries that, in my opinion, are inclined towards Russia. – Germany, France and Hungary. I don’t believe that we can go through formalities to join NATO, but an easier way – access to allied relations with the United States», – notes by Taras Zagorodny.

On the intensity and plans of rapprochement

Political Analyst at the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation Vladimir Gorbach believes that the interaction between Ukraine and NATO is clearly visible in the example of international exercises, but in political terms «state order» on the intensity of traffic and convergence – «the pace has seriously dropped».

«We see this in the process of adopting the Annual National Program, which was signed last year in May 2020. Now in the corridors of Ukrainian power there is a wave of the need to obtain NATO membership, President Volodymyr Zelensky would generally like to ask a question to Joseph Biden – why is Ukraine not a NATO member? I think that the Ukrainian government should think about its part of the issue – why is Ukraine not in NATO?» – says Vladimir Gorbach to the correspondent of the Russian Service «Voices of America».

He believes that a new focus on the issue of rapprochement with the North Atlantic Alliance will arise at the next NATO summit.

«This NATO summit will be held with the participation of representatives of the new US administration, everyone will be waiting for initiatives from US President Joseph Biden, he rhetorically spoke more than once about his intention to renew the alliance and partnership, and, of course, first of all, this concerns NATO allies. And plus – NATO is working on its strategic concept for the next ten years, and provisions can be laid there that can contribute to the approach of Ukraine», – emphasizes Vladimir Gorbach.

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