Poltorak: Almost everyone at the last NATO HQ meeting talked about our accelerated NATO accession
Ukraine's Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak has said NATO representatives have changed their positions on Ukraine’s accession to the North Atlantic Alliance, and noted comprehensive assistance received by Ukraine from the bloc.
"For more than four years, I have been observing the mood at NATO headquarters with regard to Ukraine. At first, we were not taken too seriously. Subsequently, we did not understand how accession to the bloc could be achieved. But during the last meeting in Brussels everyone talked about the need for our accelerated accession to NATO. We receive help from them in all directions. This was especially noticeable recently - after an act of open aggression by Russia," he said in an interview with the state-owned Uryadovy Courier.
Poltorak said he has met Britain's Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson five times over the last six months. He said the number of tasks Ukraine must achieve before becoming a NATO member is large.
"In the coming year, we need to complete the reform of the Ministry of Defense and the military authorities. This is one of the most difficult reforms - we must be very careful here so as not to disrupt the command and control. And the changes are gradually being implemented. Recently, we spoke about the need to directly purchase the weapons and equipment we needed abroad. …Everything we buy in the interests of Ukraine's Armed Forces meets the standards of NATO," he said.
Poltorak said there are problems, of which resource provision is the biggest, but said Ukraine is making progress.