All news

Ukrainian army becoming de facto NATO standard force, Kiev’s top diplomat says

Ukraine has been endeavoring to implement NATO standards in its armed forces since Kiev first announced its goal of eventually becoming a member of the bloc

BRUSSELS, November 29. /TASS/. Ukraine’s armed forces are de facto becoming an army at the level of a NATO country, transforming in accordance with the North Atlantic Alliance's standards, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said.

"We are increasing our interoperability with NATO. We are pretty much becoming de facto a NATO army in terms of our technical capacity, management, approaches and principles of running an army," he told reporters ahead of the inaugural foreign ministerial meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council in Brussels. Kuleba also claimed that Kiev now fields the strongest, most battle-tested army in Europe.

Ukraine has been endeavoring to implement NATO standards in its armed forces since Kiev first announced its goal of eventually becoming a member of the bloc. In February 2019, the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament - TASS) approved constitutional amendments enshrining the country's NATO aspirations, including language upholding "the irreversibility of Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic course." As well, in 2015 the country’s military doctrine was amended to stipulate that the Ukrainian army be fully compatible with the armies of the NATO countries by 2020. This year, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry developed a roadmap for the language training of servicemen, which calls for all military personnel to be fluent in English by 2026. At the same time, however, the Ukrainian armed forces’ transition to NATO standards has actually not been proceeding across the board, but only on a selective basis. In particular, Ukrainian news outlet Glavkom reported that the Defense Ministry, for cost-cutting reasons, has been running separate tenders for the procurement of certain food ration items, which effectively means it has abandoned NATO’s standardized military personnel catering system, to which Kiev has purportedly been transitioning since 2015.

Recently, plans to implement NATO standards in the Ukrainian military were once again discussed between Ukraine and its Western allies. In early October, Politico reported that the administration of US President Joe Biden would like to see Ukrainian troops adopt NATO standards, despite the fact that the alliance is not yet ready for Kiev to join. According to Politico, the US strategy is aimed at keeping Ukraine oriented toward the West. One method is to promote use of the English language to help "integrate Ukrainians."

Ukraine applied to join NATO on an accelerated basis in September 2022, and was assured at the alliance's summit in Vilnius in July 2023 that it would be admitted if the necessary conditions were met. But, no timetable for its admission was given in Brussels. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview with the Hungarian news outlet Index on November 28 that Ukraine would be admitted to NATO, but he did not specify when precisely this might happen.