Taras Kuzio: Ukraine can Bring Added Value to NATO
Ukraine’s joining the NATO can bring added value to the Alliance in a variety of areas, first and foremost in terms of security.
Taras Kuzio, a Non-Resident Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations of Johns Hopkins University, stated this during the 11th Kyiv Security Forum in Kyiv.
“A very important area is an added value. The number of the security forces in Ukraine is about half a million people. For example, in the army of Montenegro, which was the last to join NATO – is 2 thousand,” he said referring to Ukraine’s possible membership in NATO.
T.Kuzio noted that Ukraine was ranked 29th in the rankings of the world’s armed forces, and only 10 member-states of the North Atlantic Alliance are around that rank.
“But if we look at the military power, now Ukraine has its best army in the history of the country, thanks to two people – Putin and Poroshenko. The Ukrainian Army is now the 29th best military in the world in terms of military strength. Only 10 NATO members are ranked higher,” he said.
“Ukraine can provide a lot of additional value,” he stressed.
The expert also pointed to the defense spending of Ukraine which now exceeds the NATO countries.
“Ukraine can also provide added value as the first country with a unique experience in countering the Russian hybrid war – from information warfare, cyberwar to the invasion of Russian “green men”.
T.Kuzio also pointed out that the number of people supporting NATO membership was increasing in Ukraine, while the number of opponents of accession declined. Another interesting fact is that membership in the Alliance is supported by the Ukrainian nationalists, although in Europe such forces usually oppose it.
Speaking about Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the expert from the United States stressed that Ukraine succeeded in winning this conflict. “Putin was defeated in Ukraine. And this is not a frozen conflict in the Crimea and in the East and South of Ukraine, as in Transnistria or Abkhazia. Ukraine is victorious, it defeated Putin,” he stated.
The annual international event Kyiv Security Forum was launched by the Arseniy Yatsenyuk Foundation Open Ukraine in 2007 as a platform for high-level discussions on the current issues in Europe and the Black Sea region. The Forum aims at increasing security cooperation between the EU and the Black Sea region, raising awareness about regional developments among key regional players, promoting the role of independent and non-governmental actors in setting the security agenda in Europe.
The event is being held with the support of NATO Information and Documentation Center in Ukraine, the German Marshall Fund, The Victor Pinchuk Foundation, The Royal Institute of International Relations, Chatham House (UK), and The Regional Representative Office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Ukraine.