SINGAPORE – Ukraine seeks to become a NATO member in a « very short time » after achieving military victory over Russia, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister told POLITICO on Sunday, doubling down on Kiev’s pressure on the West for a clear roadmap for joining the military alliance.
In an interview on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Volodymyr Havrylov also called on Beijing to refrain from sending military supplies to Moscow, saying it is « understandable » that normal trade activities continue between China and Russia.
Ukraine’s future role in NATO has become a hot topic ahead of the July summit of alliance leaders in Lithuania. The United States and Germany have rejected calls by Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states for a clear plan on joining Kiev.
On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said it « makes no sense » for him to attend a NATO summit next month if Ukraine is not « recognised » or « given a signal » about its post-war status in the military alliance.
« We would like to know the plan or roadmap, or a list of actions to be taken by both sides – NATO and Ukraine – to achieve membership in a very short period of time, » said Havrylov. While acknowledging that this would not have been possible as the war continues, “at the same time, we must understand that after our victory, our process of [joining] the block will be very, very short.
NATO, he said, should provide Ukraine with a list of steps to take « with clear confirmation that Ukraine is a legitimate candidate » for NATO membership.
Meanwhile, Havrylov said, Ukraine would negotiate a « system of security guarantees » with NATO during the transition period before joining. Such guarantees should include a commitment by NATO countries to help Ukraine win the war; support for the Ukrainian economy; and support for continued sanctions and other forms of pressure against Russia, he said.
When asked about reports of China selling drones to Russia, Havrylov said they were just « commercial drones. »
“Yes, they continue to sell only ordinary commercial items to support the Russian economy. Okay, that’s understandable, but let’s hope they keep their promises not to sell weapons to Russia, like Iran. This is important,” she said.
“China is also following some kind of international sanctions against Russia and India too. So if it’s dual-use equipment, I don’t even think about China [nor] India is… interested in violating this kind of [sanctions] because they depend on technologies from Europe and the United States, » Havrylov said.
China has repeatedly denied reports of sending arms supplies to Russia, even as Beijing promised an « unlimited » partnership with Moscow shortly before Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his all-out invasion of Ukraine last year.