Deployment of NATO bases in Ukraine can be discussed only after it becomes full member - deputy FM
It would make sense to discuss the possible deployment of NATO military bases in Ukrainian territory only after Ukraine becomes a full member of the alliance, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Vasyl Bodnar said.
"This is only a theory so far. It's too early to speak about this. When Ukraine is granted the status as a full NATO member, this could be discussed in earnest. We've just joined NATO's Enhanced Opportunities Partner (EOP) program, which is yet another step ahead toward strengthening cooperation with the North Atlantic alliance, which has also drawn a negative and nervous response from Russia. Definitely, they are trying to diminish the EOP's role," Bodnar said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
The United States' decision to relocate part of its forces from Germany to Poland is a serious and positive signal for Ukraine, Bodnar said.
"This is a positive message for us, as the reinforcement of NATO's military capability, especially in such flank states as Poland and the Baltic countries, would have an absolutely positive effect on Ukraine's security. Surely, we can't talk about the deployment of such military units in Ukrainian territory now," he said.
Ukraine has firmly set itself a strategic goal of integration into NATO, Bodnar said. Ukraine applied for a Membership Action Plan (MAP) back at the Bucharest summit, when the alliance said clearly that Ukraine and Georgia would be NATO members, and thus the final decision rests with NATO, he said.
"I believe Ukraine may aspire for a MAP now, as it has both military and budget capability and the people's support. There is always room for improvement, and new requirements can be set again and again. Therefore, the matter is purely political now. If the alliance makes a political decision that Ukraine may be granted a MAP, this would be their decision, which we would be happy to embrace and would start implementing. I believe we've done a lot from the standpoint of reforming the state and meeting legal, democratic, and other standards. Ukraine stands ready to join the alliance, but the decision is on their side," he said.