Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said that the country is already a nominal member of NATO, in the context of the military alliance increasing aid to Kiev to deal with Russia.
In an interview with the BBC on January 13, Minister Reznikov said that Ukraine has become a nominal member of NATO.
“Ukraine is a country and Ukraine’s armed forces are already NATO members,” he said.
Mr. Reznikov said that his comments will not cause controversy. “Why is it controversial? It’s true. It’s reality.”
He said that Western countries currently provide Ukraine with the most advanced weapons in their arsenal, including tanks.
Ukraine’s minister believes that the country will receive more “tanks, fighters or jets and long-range weapons” because “things are changing” in Western countries.
In September 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that he had signed an application to quickly join NATO. Kiev’s move is in response to Russia’s annexation of four regions including Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhia, and Kherson.
However, according to observers, Ukraine may have to wait years for full membership, even if hostilities end and other NATO countries approve Kiev’s application to join. However, NATO members have provided Ukraine with billions of dollars in weapons and have been Kiev’s most active backers since Russia launched a military campaign in the neighboring country early last year.
Ukraine has long pursued the goal of joining NATO and the European Union (EU), and even Kiev has included the goal of NATO membership in its constitution.
When opening a military operation in Ukraine at the end of February, Russia set the conditions for the end of the conflict, including that Ukraine must be neutral and not join NATO.
Recent developments show that joining NATO with Ukraine seems to be facing difficulties. Ukraine has repeatedly admitted that NATO does not want to admit it to the bloc. Kiev has also signaled that it will stop wanting to join NATO as a concession for peace talks with Russia.
Last week, Minister Reznikov said that Ukraine is carrying out the mission of NATO even though Kiev is not a full member of the military alliance.
“Now Ukraine is facing a threat from Russia. We are doing NATO’s mission and they don’t have to shed blood. We have shed blood so we expect them to arm Ukraine.”, said Mr. Reznikov.
The official also claimed that his NATO colleagues had told him that Ukraine was “a shield that protects the entire West, protects the entire civilized world.”
Meanwhile, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya accused Ukraine of becoming a military unit under NATO, having received funding, weapons, and combat instructions from the military alliance to deal with Russia.
In December 2022, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that Russia is in fact confronting the West in its military campaign in Ukraine. According to Shoigu, Ukraine received $100 billion in arms, ammunition and military equipment in 2022 alone from the West.