NATO ‘Has Already Succeeded in Turning Ukraine Into a De Facto Outpost’

Sunday, July 16, 2017
By Paul Martin

Last week, after a visit to Kiev by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that his country would need to carry out more reforms to qualify for NATO membership. However, Ukraine expert Vladimir Zharikhin says Kiev’s accession to the alliance may be a formality, since it’s already becoming a de facto NATO outpost.

Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Stoltenberg on Monday, Poroshenko said that Kiev would not be applying for membership just yet, since it still needs to introduce a number of reforms to meet entry requirements.

“We are looking forward to reforms and have a clear schedule for what we have to do until 2020 in order to meet the membership criteria, because as of today we do not meet these criteria, since nothing has been done in these 20 years,” the president said.

Kiev, Poroshenko noted, has also signaled its interest in beginning discussions on a Membership Action Plan (MAP) with the alliance, something which NATO officials have “accepted with pleasure.”

Kiev’s aspirations for NATO membership has been an on-again off-again affair since 2003, when then-President Leonid Kuchma proclaimed it a strategic goal, before backing off from the idea a month later. Orange revolutionary president Viktor Yushchenko continued the push toward the alliance, but ended up making little progress.

Yushchenko’s successor, Viktor Yanukovych, rejected the prospect of NATO membership in favor of Ukraine’s long-standing policy of non-alignment.

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