Ukraine is ready for closer cooperation with NATO, further implementation of systemic reforms in the defense sector and does not remove from the agenda the possibility of joining the Alliance Membership Action Plan, as stated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“We are willing to cooperate more closely with the Alliance and accelerate preparations for NATO membership. Keeping the possibility of Ukraine joining the NATO Membership Action Plan on the agenda, we are ready to prove by practical work today that Ukraine deserves such format of relations with the Alliance. We hope that our progress in the implementation of NATO principles, norms and standards, as well as the new format of our engagement with the Alliance, will be recognized in further political decisions of the Allies,” the President said during a meeting with the media following the session of the NATO-Ukraine Commission in Kyiv.
The Head of State emphasized that the Ukrainian authorities were focused on structural reforms, strengthening of democratic institutions and the rule of law, modernization of the security and defense sector.
“We are grateful for your practical assistance in this. This is a comprehensive reform of the defense forces management system, logistics and standardization system, medical support in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. We want to expand programs for the training of civilian personnel in the defense sector, improvement of the training of our military and improvement of the mine clearance opportunities,” the President of Ukraine emphasized.
According to the President, the parties had also touched upon difficult issues at today’s meeting. Volodymyr Zelenskyy assured that the fight against corruption and the development of civil society remained the priorities of his work as President and the work of the Ukrainian government.
“Regarding the protection of the rights of national minorities we assured the Allies that Ukraine is complying with all the recommendations of the Venice Commission on the Law on Education. Moreover, six of the seven recommendations have already been implemented by the Ukrainian side,” he stressed.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that Ukraine was actually located on the southeast flank of the Alliance and was an integral part of the Euro-Atlantic security space.
“I was pleased to hear that NATO recognizes the professionalism of the Ukrainian military and appreciates our contribution to cooperation,” the President of Ukraine said.
He also thanked the Alliance for its continued support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, including Crimea.
For his part, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that the Alliance’s members upheld Ukraine’s territorial integrity and would never recognize the attempt of Russia to illegally annex Crimea. They also condemn Russia’s aggressive actions in the Black Sea region.
“The Allies call on Russia to return Ukraine’s vessels seized last year and provide free access to the Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov,” he stressed.
The NATO Secretary General stated that all Allies supported Ukraine. “We provide political, practical assistance and support the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Jens Stoltenberg said.