President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko stresses that the issue of Ukraine's membership in the North Atlantic Alliance will be put to a referendum without additional statements by politicians. But it will be made when the country, its Armed Forces are ready for accession.
"To postpone the decision, to delay this work (preparation for the accession - ed.), whatever the reason is: referendums, or something else ... I want to emphasize - the referendum will take place in any case. Read the material part. The referendum will take place when we are ready for accession. And when the country, the people make changes to the Constitution, delegating part of sovereign powers," the Head of State noted during his participation in the Kyiv Security Forum.
"But it is necessary to work now, without a delay. Keeping the unity of Ukraine above all. This is how we will definitely win," Petro Poroshenko noted and emphasized that he highly appreciated the support and unity that the Ukrainian people demonstrated regarding membership in the EU and NATO.
In order to continue work in this direction, yesterday, the President signed a decree on the launch of the Annual National Program for Strengthening Partnership between Ukraine and NATO. "The program itself is unique, as it is clearly outlined by 2020 what we have to do to ensure that in 2023 we meet the criteria that allow us to sign a Membership Action Plan. This is our homework. This is the homework of my team, and I emphasize that my team will have enough political will to implement it," Petro Poroshenko stressed.
The Head of State emphasized that we were all united by this goal, because we knew that only full membership in the EU and the North Atlantic Alliance would definitively and irrevocably guarantee our Ukrainian state independence. "Thus, membership in the Alliance, including in the European Union, where we delegate some of the sovereign powers, guarantees our state independence. Membership in the North Atlantic Alliance guarantees our Ukrainian national security. Because when Russia illegally annexed Crimea and started aggression against our state in the east, it destroyed the entire post-war security system based on the UN Security Council," he said.
The President also denied the statement that NATO is not ready for Ukraine's accession. "We had an absolutely clear position of the Secretary-General and NATO members that it is necessary not just to keep the door open for Ukraine, but to accelerate Ukraine's membership. And for me, it's not just a line in my program, it's the main thing. This is the essence, alpha and omega. Because it is only this way that we can guarantee our independence and national security, the welfare of every citizen," Petro Poroshenko noted.
In addition, the President stressed that his ambitions were clear: to ensure the successful implementation of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, and in 2023, when this stage of reforms is completed, our state must meet the criteria and apply for membership in the EU.
"Because the EU and NATO do not begin where their formal borders are. I emphasize that Europe begins where European values prevail. Europe begins where human rights are respected. Europe begins with respect for human dignity, high standards of living. And this is our homework, homework for Ukraine to meet these criteria before we apply for membership. We know exactly what to do. And we know for sure that nobody will do it for us," the Head of State emphasized.
The President expressed confidence that the Ukrainian people would not lack wisdom and strategic vision to firmly confirm our European and Euro-Atlantic course. "And when should this be done? It is April 21. Vote for our course to the EU and NATO. This will be a very powerful signal to Putin, who did not come for Crimea or Donbas - he does not need them. Putin came for the whole of Ukraine. And Putin considers these elections as a decisive battle for Ukraine," he stressed.