President Petro Poroshenko claims that he will not allow anyone to put external pressure on the issue of determining the foreign-political course of Ukraine, and that he will listen to the opinion of the Ukrainian people. This is reported by the President’s press service, he stated this in an interview to German TV and Radio company ARD.
Poroshenko emphasized that the vast majority of people in Ukraine demand immediate reform from the government.
“We have to reform the country, improve the investment climate, execute the Association Agreement with the European Union. Seventy-five percent of Ukrainians want this,” noted Poroshenko.
According to Poroshenko, the main challenge Ukraine is facing is countering aggression and defending its integrity.
“I am always trying to maintain dialogue and keep the ‘doors of peace’ open,” he noted.
Petro Poroshenko emphasized that the NATO remains a system which is able to ensure the security of its members. When commenting on Ukraine’s possible application for membership, he noted that the issue is not in statements but the fact that the country demands reform.
“We have to do everything for the country, the level of income of our citizens and the gross domestic product, the level of investments into the defense complex and the level of the Armed Forces to correspond to the criteria for the states who want to be NATO members,” said Poroshenko.
He added that the last four years demonstrated that the non-block model is wrong for Ukraine.
On November 24, at the joint press conference with Lithuanian President Dalia Gribauskayte, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko claimed that the decision about possible NATO membership of the country would be passed at a Ukrainian referendum. According to him, when Ukraine corresponds to the NATO’s demands, Ukrainian people will be able to decide whether to join at a referendum.
Membership in the NATO does not necessitate consent from a country’s population. Out of 28 NATO member states only two, Hungary and Slovenia, held referendums in this regard before joining.
Five of the parties which passed to the newly-elected Verkhovna Rada singed the coalition agreement which includes a point regarding “the abolition of Ukraine’s non-block status, restoring the political course towards integration to the European-Atlantic security space and membership in the NATO.”
Ukraine officially declared it would not join the NATO in 2010 after former President Viktor Yanukovych came to power.
In 2004, Yanukovych, the Prime Minister at the time, developed the plan of Ukraine’s NATO membership by 2008. Back then, during Leonid Kuchma’s time, under Viktor Yanukovych’s leadership, the Strategy for economic and social development of Ukraine for 2004-2015 was developed, which claimed that Ukraine aimed to become part of the NATO by 2008, if possible. Yanukovych never prescribed any referendums.
The NATO’s position remains unchanged: Ukraine has the right to membership when Kyiv expresses the will to join and meets all the necessary demands, and that “the doors always remain open.” Meanwhile Russia demands guarantees that Ukraine will not join the NATO.