Ukraine’s Envoy to NATO: Door to Alliance open but question of when Ukraine enters open, too

Ukraine’s Envoy to NATO: Door to Alliance open but question of when Ukraine enters open, too

Ukraine inches closer to NATO membership but no clear timeline has been set yet for the nation to achieve it and the diplomatic work is ongoing behind the scenes with Ukraine's "advocates" among member states to come up with the vision of goals ahead of the Washington Summit.

That’s according to the Head of the Mission of Ukraine to NATO, Nataliia Galibarenko, who spoke with UA.TV, Ukrinform reports.

"On the political side, for the first time since the Bucharest decision in 2008 we have now actually shortened the path to NATO membership, meaning that we are now free from the need to fulfil the Membership Action Plan, which was previously a prerequisite," the ambassador said.

She admitted that the ambition for the Vilnius Summit was much greater: "We wanted to be invited to join the Alliance without any additional prerequisites. The issue of the invitation was considered, but with preconditions. But still, I see in general that Vilnius actually freed us from the decision made in Bucharest in 2008."

“There is a clear understanding that Ukraine will be a NATO member and this path will be shorter,” Galibarenko said.

When asked about Ukraine’s goals for the upcoming Washington Summit, Galibarenko said Ukraine’s top leaders are engaged in top-level negotiations and consultations with member states after Ukraine adopted the Annual National Program of cooperation with NATO and the Ukraine-NATO Council was launched.

She stopped short of revealing the vision for the Mission’s strategic and tactical goals ahead of the summit, noting that internal consultations are yet to be held “to see what’s realistic and what’s not, to set our priorities and then start working”.

The ambassador said she prefers to focus on the behind-the-scenes diplomatic work, primarily with Ukraine’s “advocates” among member states, rather than on its public part, before reaching out to a wider circle of Allies.

On the defense side, the ambassador highlighted the fact that, despite no lethal aid being sent to Ukraine at the level of the Alliance, other important assistance projects, worth EUR 550 million, are being implemented, including fuel, first aid kits, winter uniforms, power generators, and anti-drone projects, and tourniquets.

Read also: Japan to donate $37M to NATO trust fund to detect enemy UAVs in Ukraine – top diplomat

Work has also started on the interoperability road map. Since Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian recruits have been training abroad to operate various types of western weapons systems and the road map is aimed to make these efforts systemic to ensure that Ukraine’s Armed Forces fully embrace NATO standards, the ambassador noted.

As Ukrinform reported earlier, President Volodymyr Zelensky in his latest address to the nation said Ukraine’s priorities in relations with NATO are clear, develop a system of relations and communication with NATO members that will allow every state and every leader to recognize that NATO will become much stronger with Ukraine as its part.

Photo: Ukraine's Mission in NATO

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