Tuesday

16th Jul 2019

Ukraine keen to begin Nato entry process

  • Stoltenberg inaugurated new building for Nato mission in kiev (Photo: nato.int)

Ukraine is keen to start its Nato application process despite Russia’s ongoing aggression in the east of the country.

“Today it has been emphasised that we should start a discussion about establishing a membership action plan [MAP] and our proposals … were accepted with understanding”, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko told press after meeting Nato head Jens Stoltenberg in Kiev on Monday (10 July).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Stoltenberg (l): “Ukraine moving steadily towards ... Nato standards" (Photo: nato.int)

“We have a clear-cut time table as to what we have to do by the year 2020 in order to meet the membership criteria,” he added.

He said recent polls showed more than 60 percent of Ukrainians wanted to join the Western alliance.

Stoltenberg said Russia would not be able to stop Ukraine’s membership.

“Whether Ukraine is going to become a member of Nato or not is for the allies and Ukraine to decide, no one else has the right to try to veto such a process”, he said.

“Ukraine is moving steadily towards meeting Nato standards,” he added.

He noted that €40 million of Nato money was helping Ukraine to buy high-end satellite surveillance and cyber-defence equipment.

A Nato office in Kiev is also advising Ukraine on military and intelligence reforms.

Piers Cazalet, a Nato spokesman, said in Kiev on Tuesday that Stoltenberg “took note” of Poroshenko’s MAP request.

He said the current “priority” was “the modernisation of its defence and security institutions”, however.

A Nato MAP, in which aspirant states submit annual reports on military and political assimilation, is the first step toward accession.

It does not guarantee future membership and it has no set duration, but in the latest case - Montenegro - the Balkan state began its MAP in 2009 and joined Nato this year.

Russian troops

Stoltenberg also said in Kiev that: “Russia must withdraw its thousands of soldiers from [east] Ukraine and stop supporting the militants [there], with command and control, and military equipment”.

He added that “it is extremely important to maintain the sanctions as long as Russia doesn’t change its behaviour in eastern Ukraine and Crimea”, referring to EU and US economic sanctions.

Poroshenko called for the “withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian soil, withdrawal of Russian artillery, tank, and multi-rocket launch systems back to Russia”.

The Kremlin responded the same day by saying Ukraine’s Nato membership would “not help strengthen stability and security in Europe”.

Dmitry Peskov, its spokesman, added: “Russia has never had and has no servicemen in Ukraine”.

There is a wealth of photographic evidence and eyewitness testimony to the contrary.

There are also high-level statements that contradict the official line.

Sergei Larvov, the Russian foreign minister, told a seminar in Moscow on 30 June: “I have read and heard much criticism that we should not have got involved into the conflicts in Donbass [a region in east Ukraine]”.

Russian president Vladimir Putin said on TV in June 2015: “We never said there were not people there [in east Ukraine] who carried out certain tasks including in the military sphere”.

The Ukrainian parliament said in June by 276 out of 450 votes that Ukraine should join Nato.

A poll in June by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, a Ukrainian NGO, showed that 69 percent of people wanted to join the Western military bloc.

The surge in Nato support came after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014. The invasion followed an anti-corruption revolution in Kiev that ousted its pro-Kremlin regime.

EU summit

Poroshenko will meet top EU officials in Kiev on Wednesday.

The summit will discuss progress on an EU-Ukraine political and trade pact which enters into force in September.

US secretary of state Rex Tillerson also visited Kiev on Sunday.

He said “it is necessary for Russia to take the first steps to de-escalate the situation in the eastern part of Ukraine” before the US would consider relaxing sanctions.

The EU recently extended its economic sanctions until January next year.

The US senate voted to expand sanctions, including against Western investors in Russian gas projects such as Nord Stream 2, a pipeline to Germany.

“We see an open sabotage of infrastructure projects … that are economically well founded and attractive for consumers, like for instance Nord Stream 2,” Russian energy minister Aleksandr Novak said at a congress in Istanbul on Monday.

Interview

EU visa waiver unlikely to import Ukraine crime

Visa-free travel, which began last week, unlikely to prompt a Ukrainian crime wave, an EU police expert has said, but Ukraine itself is seeing increases in lawlessness.

Netherlands ratifies EU-Ukraine treaty

Dutch senate approves ratification, despite a majority of referendum voters expressing opposition last year. The Netherlands should show 'reliability', one senator said.

Opinion

Supplying arms to Ukraine would be a mistake

The only viable option to avoid a revival of the war involves keeping the Ukraine conflict frozen with only partial implementation of the Minsk accords.

News in Brief

  1. EU states threaten Turkey with 'targeted' blacklists
  2. Iran one year away from nuclear weapon, UK warns EU
  3. US trade war slows China's economy
  4. UK, France, Germany call for dialogue with Iran
  5. EU satellite system temporarily offline
  6. New flaw detected in Brexit app for EU citizens
  7. Italian coalition clashes over Russian financing
  8. Germany wants 'coalition of willing' to distribute migrants

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us