Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 23.11.2018
The EU needs Ukraine. Ukrainians are the only Europeans to have fought a popular revolution under the EU flag for the sake of achieving EU ideals of human dignity, rule of law, and peaceful co-existence.
NATO needs Ukraine. Ukrainians are the only citizens of a democracy in the broader North Atlantic region who are fighting against the Russian aggressor and truly defending Western civilization from the dark forces of Muscovy.
Fortunately for other Western democracies, Ukraine is on a firm path to full membership in the European Union and in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Five years ago this week the Revolution of Dignity began in Ukraine. Known at first as EuroMaidan, this protest movement started as a public objection to Ukraine pulling out of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement. It evolved in to a massively popular, regime-changing force which propelled Ukraine to a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement and visa-free travel with the EU.
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2014, Ukraine rapidly embraced engagement with NATO. Ukraine-NATO co-operation and co-ordination intensified, especially in the areas of training, technical standards of weapons and equipment, and logistics.
The Revolution of Dignity is about a normal life for Ukrainians, free of corruption and the stifling legacy of the terrible long years of foreign Russian occupation. The defence of the Ukrainian homeland from Russian invasion is about the unity of Ukrainians for the sake of upholding their freedom and independence. EuroMaidan and the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine accelerated Ukraine on its path of Euro-Atlantic integration.
On November 22, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine voted to amend the constitution to make attaining EU and NATO membership foundational to the state – woven into the fabric of the state. These amendments are called “Regarding the Strategic Course of the State on Acquiring Full-Fledged Membership of Ukraine in the European Union and in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.” 311 deputies in Ukraine’s parliament voted for, 21 voted against, three abstained, and 16 did not vote. With a constitutional super-majority obtained, the decision taken.
Before the vote the Constitutional Court of Ukraine had ruled that the proposed amendments were not unconstitutional. With President Poroshenko’s signature, the constitution of Ukraine will be amended. Ukraine is declaring to the world in the clearest possible way its intention to join the EU and to join NATO.
On November 22, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko,wrote on Twitter: “Russia as an aggressor country does not have and will not have a veto on our accession either to NATO or to the European Union. This is the sovereign right of Ukraine as a country that is confidently going its own way.” If Ukraine meets the technical requirements of membership, and if existing members approve, then non-EU member and non-NATO member Russia is of no consideration.
Poroshenko said no other non-NATO country has closer ties to the alliance than Ukraine. He also said that if Ukraine was part of NATO, Russia would have never invaded and annexed Crimea.
The EU and NATO face an existential crisis if they do not confront and defeat the Russian Federation’s war against them. Ukraine – on its own for nearly five years – is leading the way. Ukraine has carved its path to Euro-Atlantic integration into its constitution. All the rest of the EU and NATO has to do is say “yes.”