14:27 29 Nov 2023

Ukraine-NATO Council approves "ambitious program" to support Ukraine toward alliance membership

Dmytro Kuleba and Jens Stoltenberg at the Ukraine-NATO Council meeting, Brussels, November 29, 2023. Photo: AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

The first meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Council at the level of foreign ministers addressed key topics such as increasing arms and ammunition production, the situation on the front lines of the Russian-Ukrainian war, and discussions on the steps needed for Ukraine's NATO membership. 

This information comes from a joint statement by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Rubryka reports.

On November 29, the first meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Council at the level of foreign ministers took place in Brussels, Belgium.

Ukraine was represented by Dmytro Kuleba during the meeting. He expressed gratitude to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg for acknowledging Ukraine's achievements on the battlefield.

Kuleba emphasized that one of the key themes in cooperation with NATO is the consolidation of defense industries and increased arms production

"Ukraine's victory is in the interest not only of our country but also of the entire Euro-Atlantic community. To ensure the resilience of defense industries, we need to increase production, unite, and work as a cohesive mechanism," he stated.

In response, Stoltenberg said:

"All NATO members agree that Ukraine will become a NATO member. Now we need to discuss the way forward, efforts towards reform, and how NATO can support you in implementing these reforms."

The NATO Secretary-General added that during the first meeting in this format on November 29, foreign ministers would discuss how to support Ukraine on the path to NATO membership. They would also address Ukraine's urgent needs and the situation on the battlefield. Stoltenberg emphasized not underestimating Russia's strength but stated that Ukraine's victory in the war was in the interest of the entire Alliance's security.

In political terms, Russia is losing influence in the immediate border countries, not only in Ukraine but also in the Caucasus and Central Asia, according to Stoltenberg. He highlighted that Russia is becoming more dependent on China economically, and year by year, Moscow is positioning its future more towards Beijing.

As for the program of work for the next year, an "ambitious" program was approved during the meeting, covering energy security, innovation, and cooperation.

Stoltenberg acknowledged Ukraine's achievements, mentioning that the country regained 50% of the Black Sea territory initially seized by Russia. He praised Ukrainians for pushing back the Russian fleet and creating grain export routes, strengthening global food security.

"The most important thing is that Ukraine has achieved victory as a sovereign, independent, democratic state. This is a significant achievement, a great victory," emphasized Stoltenberg.

He also stressed that NATO is currently transforming the comprehensive assistance package into a multi-year aid program for Ukraine. This program will help Ukraine transition from Soviet-era equipment and standards to NATO standards and ensure full operational compatibility of its armed forces with NATO forces.

"We also discussed Ukraine's path to NATO membership. Allies agree that Ukraine will become a NATO member. Currently, we have provided recommendations on priority reforms in Ukraine, including combating corruption, strengthening the rule of law, and supporting human rights and minority rights," said NATO Secretary-General.

Stoltenberg concluded by saying that Ukraine is now closer to NATO than ever before, and the Alliance will continue to support Ukraine on the path to membership and in the struggle for freedom.

"All of this highlights the strategic mistake of Putin, who invaded Ukraine," said the head of the alliance.

According to Stoltenberg, Ukraine needs to prepare for an "escalation of hostilities and aerial attacks from the Russian Federation."

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