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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Ukraine’s Bold NATO Ambition: Joining ‘Very, Very’ Soon After War

During an interview at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister, Volodymyr Havrylov, stated that Ukraine aims to become a member of NATO shortly after achieving a military victory over Russia.

He emphasized the need for a clear roadmap from the West regarding Ukraine’s accession to the military alliance.

Havrylov also urged Beijing to refrain from providing military supplies to Moscow, although he acknowledged the continuation of normal trading activities between China and Russia.

The question of Ukraine’s future role in NATO has generated intense discussions ahead of the alliance’s leaders’ summit in Lithuania in July.

While Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltic states have been pushing for a clear plan for Ukraine’s membership, the United States and Germany have expressed reservations.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine recently remarked that if Ukraine’s postwar status in the military alliance is not acknowledged or signaled at the NATO summit, attending the event would serve no purpose.

“We would like to hear the plan or roadmap, or a list of actions to be done by both sides — NATO and Ukraine — to achieve the membership in a very short period of time,” Havrylov said. While he recognized this would not be possible while the war remains ongoing, “at the same time, we have to understand that after our victory, our process of [joining] the bloc will be very, very short.”

Havrylov emphasized that NATO should present Ukraine with a comprehensive list of steps to be undertaken, accompanied by a clear confirmation of Ukraine’s status as a legitimate candidate for NATO membership.

During the transitional period before full membership, Havrylov mentioned that Ukraine will engage in negotiations with NATO to establish a system of security guarantees. These guarantees should encompass a commitment from NATO member states to assist Ukraine in its conflict, provide support for the Ukrainian economy, and maintain sanctions and other forms of pressure against Russia.

Asked about reports of China’s sale of drones to Russia, Havrylov said it has only concerned “commercial drones.”

“Yes, they continue to sell just regular commercial things to support the Russian economy. It’s okay, it’s understandable, but we hope they will keep the promise not to sell Russia any weaponry, like Iran. That’s important,” he said.

“China also is following some kind of international sanctions against Russia, and India as well. So if it’s about dual-use equipment, I think neither China [nor] India are … interested in violating this kind of [sanctions] because they are dependent on the technologies from Europe and the United States,” Havrylov said.

Despite assertions to the contrary, China has consistently refuted allegations regarding the provision of weapons to Russia.

However, it is worth noting that China had expressed its commitment to an unrestricted partnership with Moscow shortly before Russian President Vladimir Putin initiated the full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year.

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