Canada urged to give more weight to Ukraine’s NATO bid as Russian construction continues
As senior U.S. officials grow concerned that Russia is not bluffing, the former president of Ukraine urges Canada to become more actively involved in his country’s bid for membership. NATO.
Petro Poroshenko, in an interview with CBC News, said the continued build-up of Russian forces on the border with Ukraine gives new urgency to the 13-year effort to become part of the Western military and security alliance.
He urges member countries to offer a path to full NATO membership at the upcoming leaders’ summit in Madrid, and he believes Canada, as the original sponsor of Ukraine’s ambitions, has a role. important to play.
Such a commitment, which forces the country to meet certain criteria but fails to fully join NATO, would be a strong signal for Russia, Poroshenko said on the sidelines of the Halifax International Security Forum.
Canada’s new Defense Minister Anita Anand, who said Friday night she was worried for the Ukrainian people was asked if Canada was ready to defend Ukraine in the 30-country alliance.
WATCH | Former Ukrainian President on his country’s efforts to join NATO:
“The issue you raise in particular is one that I am currently discussing with our government and our partners,” she said.
Other countries, like France, have made unambiguous promises to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Canada, which has long contributed to the training of Ukrainian forces, has already demonstrated such a commitment, suggested Anand.
The current Ukrainian government, led by President Volodymyr Zelensky, has pushed unsuccessfully before the last NATO summit in June for a membership plan. US President Joe Biden said the country still has a long way to go to root out corruption.
The Allies are increasingly concerned about the position of Russian forces.
The New York Times US intelligence officials reported on Friday that there was only a limited time to prevent Moscow from taking military action in Ukraine. Washington is apparently working to develop a series of measures, both economic and military, to deter Russia.
Poroshenko said he was happy to see Republicans in the US Congress considering renewing sanctions against the Russia-Germany Nord Stream pipeline project. In any potential Western deterrent package, he said, his country’s energy security needs must be taken into account.
Even still, the former president, who is expected to represent himself widely, admitted that Ukraine – which struggled to rid itself of corruption and a lethargic Soviet-era bureaucracy – is not ready for membership. Western military in its own right.
The country is, however, light years from where it started, and the program of strict reforms implemented under his government must be carried through, Poroshenko said.
A carrot for further reforms
With more than 100,000 Russian troops lingering at the border and an escalating proxy war in two of his country’s eastern districts, Poroshenko said one of the military measures being considered should be a path towards NATO membership.
“Why Ukraine can not get the action plan for membership with this situation? It is only a carrot for reforms,” he said, adding that his country’s neighbors understood surely the stakes.
“Europe needs a democratic Ukraine. Europe needs a European Ukraine. Europe needs a secure Ukraine. Europe needs a Ukraine independent from Russia.”
For weeks, pressure from the United States and European countries failed to convince the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw its troops from the volatile border region.
Ukraine’s membership in NATO is one of Russia’s so-called red lines.
Putin accused the West of constantly trying to provoke Moscow, which recently closed its liaison office at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels.
Poroshenko bristled at the idea that Putin would not leave Ukraine’s NATO membership unchallenged.
“We are a free and democratic country, the largest in Europe in terms of territory,” he said.
“Do you think we need to ask Putin’s permission to enter NATO? Do you think this is the democratic way? I say no.”