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The country has one of the most powerful armies in Europe.

On the government portal of Ukraine, a statement by the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine for European and Euro-Atlantic integration Dmitry Kuleba, writes Mikhail Samus, Deputy Director of the research Center for army, conversion and disarmament, specifically for the “Apostrophe”.

In it, he urged NATO to formally initiate consideration of the application of Ukraine to join the advanced capabilities of the Alliance (Enhance Opportunity Program — EOP). Kuleba drew attention to the fact that this Program is important to obtain intelligence in crisis cases, for example, in a situation which has arisen in connection with the crash of MAU in Iran.

The program has the same value as the action Plan on NATO membership (map), but it lacks a political component. Ukraine’s accession to it may occur in the near future. This will help Kiev to develop the army in accordance with the standards of the Alliance.

Speaking objectively and honestly, the Ukrainian army is one of the most powerful in Europe. The EU have almost no army ready to fight, maybe except the French, which is constantly involved in the operations in its former colonies, as well as the armies of Poland, Italy and the UK. All the rest are not ready. But the Ukrainian army is fighting.

I would also not idealized equipment and quality of military equipment of the armies of Europe, since they are left over from the cold war. For example, Germany within 30 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union did not pay attention on defense. Virtually the same situation in all European countries. At the turn of the 2009-2011 budget on defense funding annually was reduced by 40-50%. Renewal of funding took place in 2014.

Ukraine is already actually ready to join NATO. The Alliance is a military-political organization, created for the mutual defence of its members. Ukraine is ready to fulfill this function. Need to work more on the compatibility setting of standards and staff. However, the Program extended features, about which he stated Kuleba, aimed at solution of practical questions to Ukraine is at a practical level, were ready for joint operations with allies.

The program’s advanced capabilities is actually a Membership Action Plan, that is, the action Plan for NATO membership, but without declaring a political solution. But now is not the time for political statements. Because of the war with Russia, that within the Alliance there are opponents in order to demonstrate Ukraine any perspective, not to mention the start of practical procedures for the entry into NATO.

Recently, the Ukrainian General staff has published its vision of the reform of the Ukrainian army in 2020-2030. It describes how the change will be the headquarters of how to create operational command and be drafted. Accordingly, all will change in accordance with NATO standards. The vision is spelled out specific things, including what will be implemented in the framework of the EOP. NATO will help the Ukrainian leadership to implement the planned changes.

I think the decision on involvement of Ukraine to the Program’s advanced capabilities is already being made. This issue was discussed on the eve of the December summit in London. Therefore, I think that joining this Program will be held in the near future, if issues are resolved with some neighbors of Ukraine, including Hungary.

In April 2008 the Memorandum of the Bucharest NATO summit was clearly written that Ukraine and Georgia will become NATO members. Even then the Alliance was ready to accept us, but Putin is convinced France and Germany that is not profitable. The President of France Emmanuel macron and is now trying to make overtures to Moscow, but I think it’s a manifestation of the desire of France to take the leading position in the field of security, defense and foreign policy of the EU. But this does not contradict the desire of Paris to be a leader in promoting the approximation of Ukraine to NATO. Such are the conflicting points of view, but they fit into the concept of French politics.

One of the vital interests of Moscow is to prevent the release of Ukraine from Russian control. Therefore, the Kremlin will take all possible measures in order to prevent the rapprochement of Kiev with NATO in the framework of the EOP. Will swell disputes between Ukraine and NATO, will apply intelligence, diplomacy, information operations. Can you recall a tense relationship with Hungary. Therefore, in the interests of Ukraine to improve relations with all NATO members, because all decisions there are taken by consensus, and the votes of the States and conditional Estonia have the same weight.