With U.S. assurances, Ukraine says NATO, EU membership main strategic goal of nation
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky today opened the All-Ukrainian Forum “Ukraine 30. National Security,” which will continue to May 13. A statement issued beforehand included discussion of “what steps it will take for NATO membership” among other matters.
Interfax-Ukraine reported that Zelensky instructed his cabinet ministers to approve this year’s iteration of the Annual National Program which NATO first granted it in 2008 to prepare the nation for full membership. The program is under the authority of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, established in 1997. The president stated that approval would expedite the achievement of one of the priority goals of his administration: “Ukraine’s integration into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.” The new annual program, he affirmed, would guarantee Ukraine’s “strategic course for the acquisition of Ukraine’s full membership in NATO, enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine.”
This year’s program focuses on goals NATO has assigned to the nation in several areas: those pertaining to military, defense, political, economic, resource management, legal and security measures. As usual, the military bloc is dictating the military-security, economic-financial, trade-commerce, legal-judicial, political-legislative, foreign policy, energy and socio-cultural policies of what was formerly a sovereign nation.
“The strategic course of our state is to obtain full membership in the European Union….We must also ensure the strengthening of a special partnership with NATO and obtaining full membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”
He also said he expected a “powerful signal” to the above effect from NATO member states at the bloc’s summit in June. Zelensky commented on the recently-concluded trip to his nation by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, revealing that they discussed increasing American military aid, “not only in money, but also in equipment,” and what he called a treaty on the future of Ukraine’s naval fleet and a prospective bilateral security pact. The latter, he added. was “very important” for his nation’s armed forces and defense.
Even more is now demanded of the nation, the government contends, since Ukraine became a NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partner last year.
Also, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Kristina Kvien is cited in today’s Ukrainian press pledging increased American assistance in building up (“growing”) bilateral military and security integration.
She told the same security forum President Zelensky addressed the following:
“Through U.S. security assistance and cooperation we have made clear that we are committed to helping Ukraine defend itself, and we work closely with our NATO allies and key partners in pursue of this shared objective. We also see room for continuing growth in our defense and security partnership with Ukraine, and we are examining options to further strengthen security cooperation between the United States and Ukraine.”
In an address to the same forum Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Taran confirmed that all military equipment purchased by Ukraine will be fully NATO interopearble. In what was clearly a warning to the Donetsk and Lugansk republics in the Donbass and to Russia of direct NATO involvement in future military conflicts with them, he said:
“The rearmament of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is currently underway; we are purchasing a lot of modern military equipment, which will necessarily have the ability to be interoperable with NATO systems. This will allow us, if necessary, to jointly act on the battlefield.”
He also spoke of building new, qualitatively advanced, military bases and of improving naval infrastructure.
In February Ukrainian Prime Minister Shmyhal was at NATO headquarters where he stated:
“Ukraine will start building two naval bases, one in the Black Sea one, in the Azov Sea, we will do it as part of our budget, which was allocated for this purposes. 5.93 from GDP – so far the biggest allocations for Defence and Security in the last years. And this will be done as part of our cooperation with Britain, with UK, that are also helping us financially so this programme is being launched.”
NATO is preparing its Ukrainian client, and is preparing itself, for conflict in the Donbass and, as with Georgia and South Ossetia in 2008, almost certainly with Russia.