In an interview with the Ukrainian News, Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak stated that the Ukrainian Armed Forces will be able to reform within five years in order to fully comply with NATO standards. According to Poltorak, it will take three years to reform the Ministry of Defense.
“How long will it take to reach the military standards and principles required to qualify for NATO membership? I believe that we can reform the Ministry of Defense in three years. We will need funding to make this happen. More time and effort is needed to reform the Ukrainian Armed Forces. It will take about five years because we need to revamp almost everything,” Poltorak explained.
The Defense Minister noted that it was difficult to start the reform process due to the continuing hostilities. “When we have periods of relative calm, we are able to continue this work. The reform program is already in progress and I think that we will be ready to demonstrate some of this in the first months of the year. It doesn't mean that reforms haven’t been started yet,” Poltorak noted.
Poltorak stressed that this is not the time to raise the issue of NATO membership. The Deputy Minister of Defense for Ukraine on European Integration, Igor Dolgov, who has been working as the Ukranian Ambassador to NATO for five years, believes that Ukraine needs to first initiate reforms and only after that call for a referendum on NATO membership.
As previously reported, the North Atlantic Alliance will form work groups to develop detailed plans for the development of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to meet NATO standards. It is also worth mentioning that Poltorak recently stated that the nutritional standards of Ukrainian servicemen are being brought up to the European norm. He also affirmed that the system of clothing maintenance is also aligned with NATO standards.
On the 26th of November, Stepan Poltorak approved the implementation of a plan for the transition of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to NATO standards from 2016 to 2020.