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Ukraine doubles down on joining NATO ‘very, very’ soon after war

Ukraine doubles down on joining NATO ‘very, very’ soon after war

by host

SINGAPORE — Ukraine seeks to become a NATO member within a “very short” time after achieving military victory over Russia, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister told POLITICO on Sunday, doubling down on Kyiv’s pressure on the West for a clear roadmap to joining the military alliance.

In an interview on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Volodymyr Havrylov also called on Beijing to refrain from sending military supplies to Moscow, while saying that it’s “understandable” for normal trading activities to continue between China and Russia.

Ukraine’s future role in NATO has become a heated topic in the lead-up to a July summit of the alliance’s leaders in Lithuania. The U.S. and Germany have been pushing back against calls from Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states for a clear plan on Kyiv’s membership bid.

On Saturday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said there is “no point” for him to attend the NATO summit next month if Ukraine is not “acknowledged” or “given a signal” on its postwar status in the military alliance.

“We would like to hear the plan or roadmap, or a list of actions to be done by both sides — NATO and Ukraine — to achieve the membership in a very short period of time,” Havrylov said. While he recognized this would not be possible while the war remains ongoing, “at the same time, we have to understand that after our victory, our process of [joining] the bloc will be very, very short.”

NATO, he said, should provide Ukraine with a list of steps to be taken “with a clear confirmation that Ukraine is a legitimate candidate” for NATO membership.

In the meantime, Havrylov said, Ukraine will negotiate a “system of security guarantees” with NATO during the transitional period before membership. Such guarantees should include a commitment by NATO countries to help Ukraine win the war; support for the Ukrainian economy; and support for continued sanctions and other forms of pressure against Russia, he said.

Asked about reports of China’s sale of drones to Russia, Havrylov said it has only concerned “commercial drones.”

“Yes, they continue to sell just regular commercial things to support the Russian economy. It’s okay, it’s understandable, but we hope they will keep the promises not to sell Russia any weaponry, like Iran. That’s important,” he said.

“China also is following some kind of international sanctions against Russia, and India as well. So if it’s about dual-use equipment, I think neither China [nor] India are … interested in violating this kind of [sanctions] because they are dependent on the technologies from Europe and the United States,” Havrylov said.

China has repeatedly denied reports of sending weapon supplies to Russia, even though Beijing vowed a “no limit” partnership with Moscow shortly before Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his all-out invasion of Ukraine last year. 

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