This year, April 4 marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of NATO, which has become the foundation of a unified Euro-Atlantic security system from Canada to the Baltic States.

On this occasion, an anniversary summit will be held in Washington, DC, where the agreement that is considered to be the document that created the North Atlantic Alliance was signed on April 4, 1949. Much attention will be paid to Ukraine, for which membership in the North Atlantic Alliance is one of the key goals of its foreign policy, and its accession to NATO is enshrined in the country’s Basic Law.

Despite the third year of Russia’s full-scale invasion, almost daily missile attacks on cities, and intense fighting along more than 1,200 kilometers of frontline, Kyiv continues to upgrade its army and implement NATO standards, hoping for a positive decision during the NATO anniversary summit in Washington. Although Western experts and politicians still do not have a unified position on Ukraine’s membership in the Alliance, Kyiv is working on its “homework.”According to the Ministry of Defense, 301 NATO standards have been implemented in the defense ministry and the Armed Forces.

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Over the two years of war, the Ukrainian defense forces have gained vast experience in combat operations.

In March of this year, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Rustem Umerov signed the Action Plan for the implementation of the adapted Annual National Program of Cooperation with NATO (ANP) for 2024, which was developed to implement the agreements following the NATO Summit in Vilnius. The program includes more than 50 measures under 17 goals to be implemented this year. The key priority of the ANP is to reform Ukraine’s security and defense sector.

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According to government sources, over 3,000 convicts have expressed their willingness to join the military following the recent enactment of a law facilitating this recruitment.

Also in March 2024, the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the start of a new phase of defense management reform. The reform is also aimed at achieving long-term interoperability with partners from NATO member states, which will allow them to act together both during military operations and in planning to counter future threats.

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The approval of the Concept of Military Personnel Policy until 2028 by the Order of the Minister of Defense of Ukraine of November 5, 2023, which, among other things, provides for the creation of an effective system of recruiting professional and motivated personnel for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, should be considered as another step towards NATO.

From November 2023 to March 25 more than 10,000 vacancies were posted on 4 platforms and more than 130,000 responses were received.

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine announced its intention to open 27 recruitment centers in regional centers and large cities in the first half of 2024 alone.

“As of April 2, we have opened seven recruitment centers, including two in Kharkiv. In the first half of the year, we will be represented in most regions of Ukraine, with up to 30 centers, and by the end of the year we will be present in all regions and major cities. When developing new recruiting algorithms, we studied the experience of NATO member states that regularly recruit their citizens to their armed forces,” said Oleksiy Bezhevets, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine’s Commissioner for Recruiting, in a commentary to the Ukrainian Security and Cooperation Center.

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According to him, the experience of the United States, the United Kingdom, and some European countries was taken as an example. He calls the process launched successful and says that everything will depend on scaling up and improving the service. A month and a half into the centers’ operation, there are already people who are being trained in the training centers, and there are already those who are serving in their military units.

In the course of this war, Ukraine has proven that it is more than ready for NATO membership and has much to offer the Alliance.

The Ukrainian army is proving that it is capable of conducting modern large-scale offensive and defensive operations against a superior enemy, inflicting serious defeats on it with limited resources.

This April marks the second anniversary of the liberation of northern Ukraine from Russian troops. Ukraine demonstrated resilience and fortitude when it was expected to fall within three days. Later, there were the Kharkiv and Kherson operations, defensive operations in the east and an offensive in the south. We have successful strikes on military targets in the sky and at sea, destroying enemy ships and aircraft. In addition, Ukrainian weapons are hitting the aggressor on its territory, and this makes it think about building defensive lines there. Also, according to Ukrainian intelligence, after the raids by Russian volunteers in the Armed Forces of Ukraine from the Russian Freedom Legion, the Siberian Battalion, and the Russian Volunteer Corps, the enemy has intensified measures to strengthen border areas in Belgorod, Kursk, and Bryansk regions. This constrains Russian forces and complicates plans to advance in the Kharkiv region.

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Over the two years of war, the Ukrainian defense forces have gained vast experience in combat operations. Every day, the Ukrainian military is mastering Western weapons used by NATO members. Today, Ukraine’s army is one of the most capable on the European continent, and has a good record of successful military operations, which probably no NATO country has conducted since World War II.

In the course of this war, Ukraine has proven that it is more than ready for NATO membership and has much to offer the Alliance. On the way to this, Ukraine has been faithfully fulfilling all its tasks and implementing reforms to meet NATO’s requirements at all levels. In other words, it is doing its “homework” and now it should be assessed accordingly at the summit in Washington.

The views expressed in this opinion article are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post. 

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