Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 10.02.2019
Ukraine has enshrined its intention to join the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in its constitution. Ukrainians have embarked on a journey to European and Euro-Atlantic integration that is irrevocable. Not unreasonably, the Ukrainian government is seeking a schedule for accession to the EU and a Membership Action Plan for NATO.
The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, gave a speech at the All-Ukraine Public Forum “Open Dialogue” on February 9. “Only full-fledged membership in the European Union and NATO can decisively and irrevocably guarantee our independence, national security, freedom, and well-being,” he told the audience in Kyiv.
After having amended the constitution to enshrine Ukraine’s EU and NATO aspirations, the Verkhovna Rada drafted an appeal to begin talks on a Membership Action Plan at the NATO summit to be held in London in December in 2019.
Borys Tarasyuk is the Deputy Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada’s Foreign Affairs Committee. He relayed the request to NATO heads of government to “formally start an individual dialogue regarding recommendations and practical support that will establish an action plan for Ukraine's NATO membership.”
The Verkhovna Rada foreign affairs committee communique emphasized that since the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine that took place in late 2013 early 2014 a special partnership has developed between Ukraine and NATO. Many initiatives are under way to integrate Ukraine into the military and political collective security alliance that is NATO. Training soldiers to NATO standards and equipping the Ukrainian military with weapons and ammunition that meet NATO standards are two of these initiatives.
Ukraine and NATO member states need new forms of institutional dialogue. A Membership Action Plan is the form this should take, according to President Poroshenko and deputies of the Verkhovna Rada.
Ukraine – along with Georgia (Sakartvelo) – should have been offered a Membership Action Plan by existing NATO member states in 2008. Failure to do so then was a signal to Putin to go ahead with his invasion of Georgia in 2008 and his invasion of Ukraine in 2014. Europe is in a state of war because a lack of political will and a lack of understanding of Russian aggression.
Ukrainians are NATO’s forward defence already. The Armed Forces of Ukraine wage trench warfare against an invading Russian army in Donbas. They’ve been defending Europe for almost five years. Existing NATO member states should be rushing a Membership Action Plan and begging Ukraine to join.