Foreign Policy Research Institute

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Foreign Policy Research Institute

tel. +38 (044) 287 52 58

INTERNATIONAL WEEKLY № 18 (16.11.2017 — 30.11.2017)

NATO's door is open: Ukraine needs to reform and enter them

On November 24, in the framework of the Eastern Partnership Summit, the meeting between President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg took place. The President expressed his gratitude to NATO for its continued support of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and assistance in countering Russian aggression. He also noted, that Ukraine continues to implement the legally established Euro-Atlantic integration course and consistently to reform the security and defense sector according the NATO’s standards.

President Poroshenko thanked to the Secretary-General Stoltenberg for a clear position on keeping the Alliance open for countries that meet the necessary requirements. NATO Secretary General stressed that the North Atlantic Alliance remains with Ukraine and this partnership is reliable and lasting.

In addition, as indicated on the official website of the President, it was confirmed the Ukrainian side's interest in further deepening cooperation with NATO through the effective implementation of the relevant Annual National Programs and the use of the NATO Comprehensive Assistance Package for Ukraine [1].

It is worth mention once again about the NATO's dissatisfaction with the implementation of these Annual National Programs. Therefore, the phrase ‘confirmed interest’ is not enough to prove a real willingness to integrate into the Alliance. Ukraine should pay particular attention to the quality of the implementation of these programs in the future. As we have repeatedly mentioned, the issue of Ukraine's accession to NATO is a matter of national security and national importance in the face of Russian armed aggression. Consequently, the implementation of the Annual Programs should be under the control of the President, because the reform implementation in the direction of integration into NATO builds confidence in Ukraine, promotes its positive image and meets the aspirations of Ukrainian society.

The Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze noted that she personally pushing the RNP-2018 to become more focused, clearer, so that it could determine concrete progress. She also added: ‘By this time, the approach to assessing ANP has often turned into a quantitative estimate: how many indicators have been completed, but not implemented. I would like us to have such a program that made it possible for a quality assessment throughout the year. Therefore, another task, which we see for ourselves during 2018 – to develop a mechanism for such an assessment, which would be used further. This change of approach and is change the style of thinking. It is important for us that each ministry become a part of this planning process’ [2].

Ukraine needs defense and this proves the current deterioration of the situation in the Donbas, the ineffectiveness of the Minsk Agreements and Russia’s reluctance to make any compromise. As the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine at the International Security Forum in Halifax (Canada) has said: ‘We must clearly understand: to speak to Russia is possible only from the position of power. Because, otherwise, it will not be possible to counteract to all types of wars that the Russian Federation is leading against The Western world, it will not be possible to fight propaganda and those, how Russia broke international law and trust’ [3]. Obviously, without NATO, Ukraine will not gain this strength.

It is also important to note the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg statement at the same forum. In particular, he said: ‘NATO's door is open, and the best proof is that from the end of the Cold War to the present, the number of NATO members has almost doubled. Secondly, this year we also received a new member. Montenegro joined us in the spring and NATO has 29 members. So the NATO door is open. Of course, in order to become a member of NATO it is necessary to fulfill the requirements of the Alliance, to reform. Both Georgia and Ukraine are now focusing on reforms, modernization of defense institutions, the fight against corruption and the strengthening of democratic institutions’ [4].

Answering the question of the Alliance’s attitude towards the membership of Ukraine and Georgia, he added: ‘NATO, Canada, and other allies help Ukraine and Georgia to implement these reforms. In the end, the decision to accept or reject new members will be taken by 29 NATO members. No one else has the right to interfere, to veto a process. Each sovereign country has the right to determine its own course, and NATO decides whether we will expand or not’ [5].

Thus, the main engine of Ukraine's integration into NATO is, first of all, reforms implementation and the political will of the leaders. Stoltenberg's statement is quite clear and at the same time gives the answer to the Kremlin, who by its statements compromises NATO's activities and states that the joining of Ukraine and Georgia the Alliance is unacceptable.