President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed a decree "On Approval of the Annual National Program under the auspices of the Ukraine-NATO Commission for 2019". The Head of State called the signing of the document a very important event, as it approves the plan of cooperation between Ukraine and the North Atlantic Alliance until 2020.
"This is the first and extremely important road map that Ukraine has to make, a homework to fulfill, programs to be implemented in order to achieve the tasks that I, as President, have set, so that in 2023, the country would meet the criteria necessary for signing the NATO Membership Action Plan," Petro Poroshenko said.
The President emphasizes that the approval of the program is now taking place in a completely different environment, since the course for joining the Alliance is approved in the Constitution of Ukraine. "We already have a constitutional norm of Ukraine's obligation to ensure that all necessary conditions are created. This is an obligatory norm of the Constitution of direct effect for the implementation by all branches of government: President, Parliament, Government," he said and thanked the Parliament and the Ukrainian people for their support in this matter.
The Head of State also says that over 70 years of the Alliance’s history, we have not seen any case where the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of NATO member states were threatened.
The President also emphasized that with the illegal annexation of Crimea and the aggression against Ukraine in Donbas, Russia had actually destroyed the post-war model of global security based on the right to use force under the decision of the United Nations Security Council, subject to the consensus of five permanent members of the UN Security Council. "When a country-aggressor is a permanent member of the Security Council, the world is actually deprived of the opportunity to respond effectively to these things. This demonstrates the necessity of reforming the UN, reforming the UN Security Council," the Head of State said.
The President stressed that the annual program was an extremely important document. "This is actually our steps in each direction. This is not just a defense sector reform, but a profound reform of the security sector. This is the reform of the rule of law sector, the sector of protection of the rights and freedoms of citizens," Petro Poroshenko noted.
The President underscored the efforts of Vice-Prime-Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze in the preparation of the document. "This is no longer a form. This is content. This is a program designed and aimed at a specific result. I very much hope that by the joint efforts of the President, Government, Parliament, this program will be 100% implemented already in 2020," he said.
The President noted the role of each of the participants, as well as the work of the departments and central executive authorities in order to "make this comprehensive document a guideline, a roadmap".
"This comprehensive document means that our army will meet the NATO standards in terms of weapons, operational tactics and action strategies," Petro Poroshenko said.
"I firmly believe that we have de facto become the eastern flank of NATO today. I am happy because today in the training grounds, NATO officers are working with us to increase our defense capability. It is pleasant that in Lublin at the headquarters of the Ukrainian-Polish-Lithuanian Brigade, concrete combat coordination is being worked out today," the President emphasized.
At the same time, the Head of State stresses that what has been done over the last five years is very important, but that is not enough. "That is why the Annual Program sets absolutely clear and concrete tasks: what will happen to the army, what will happen to the security and defense sector, how the Ukrainian borders will be protected, how security will be ensured on Ukrainian streets, how the Ukrainian police will function, the Ukrainian National Guard , the Ukrainian intelligence services," he said, adding that the security forces would be deprived of the opportunity to exert pressure on business and, thus, we will switch to a civilized European model.
"I want to emphasize that the criteria necessary for joining NATO by 93% coincide with the criteria necessary for joining the European Union. And that is why this document is so important. That is why we are so resolutely moving forward," the President said.
Vice-Prime-Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze stressed the historic importance of this Decree. "In fact, this is the first time in the history of Ukraine when we have an annual national program that consists of strategic tasks aimed at reaching the criteria for membership in the Alliance," Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze noted. "At last, we have strategic goals and objectives, and clear steps to achieve these goals," she added.
In his turn, Director of the Renaissance Foundation Oleksandr Sushko emphasized that the quality of the preparation of the Annual National NATO-Ukraine Cooperation Program had been improved significantly, and created some preconditions for "making this move towards NATO standards more well-coordinated and understandable to performers and society, which could see how the path of Ukraine to NATO is being paved”.
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (2007-2009) Volodymyr Ohryzko mentioned the history of the signing of the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between Ukraine and NATO, which took place in the mid-1990s. "I'm happy that I am still alive when the great idea that we dreamed about is being put into a practical angle," he said and thanked President Petro Poroshenko for his consistent work.
Head of the NATO-Ukraine Public League Serhiy Dzherdzh also thanked the President for his work on the preparation of the Annual National Program. "This is really a program for reforming the country. And those standards and criteria that we achieve in terms of NATO membership really bring us closer to the European Union ... We are strengthening the security of the state and in the end we can expect an appropriate political moment when NATO member states will decide on Ukraine's accession to this organization," he said.