The conflict with Russia — the main obstacle on the way of Ukraine in NATO

Expert on Eastern Europe from the European policy Centre in Brussels, Paul Ivan said in an interview with DW about what it means made on Thursday, June 8, the decision of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to amend the legislation that enshrines the country’s intention to become a member of the Alliance.

Deutsche Welle: That the Verkhovna Rada adopted the draft law mean for Ukraine and Europe?

Paul Ivan: It is primarily a political message, way to make a statement about the interests of Ukraine, its orientation in foreign policy. I would say that it is a signal for the citizens of Ukraine and for its Western partners and to Russia. It is a statement of political choice.

— Why, in your opinion, the decision was made right now?

— Its desire to join NATO, Kiev said earlier. I would consider a vote in Parliament as a further step in this direction. At the same time, if you look at the situation in the country, I would say that among its political forces is still no consensus on this issue. If you look at the results of the voting in the Parliament, there is unequivocal support of Ukraine’s accession to the Alliance, but among Ukrainian politicians all the same there is no unanimity on this.

— That today prevent Ukraine’s membership in NATO?

— There are a lot of factors. Even if Ukraine was better prepared to join NATO would be far away. It’s a long process, and it should be clearly understood. At the same time, there are a number of complicated issues that need to be addressed to have a realistic hope of joining. They are mainly concerned with the conflict with Russia.

The purpose of the extension of political and military Alliance is to develop it. NATO will not take part in its new country, if it considers that it would weaken the Alliance or cause it to conflict with other countries. Therefore, there is required a certain level of stability. Ukraine is obviously a big problem.

— Whether approved a bill to accelerate the process of Ukraine’s accession to NATO?

— I think it’s important not only membership, but also the process itself and continued cooperation with NATO. The Alliance is already very active helping Ukraine and the Ukrainian army. This exchange of experiences and material assistance.

Ukraine needs reforms, in which cooperation with the Alliance and its individual members can be useful. That is, I would not see NATO membership as the ultimate goal: the important benefits that arise now.

— Whether the decision of Parliament to intensify the confrontation with Russia and further complicate Moscow’s relations with NATO?

— I wouldn’t expect a more serious confrontation than the ongoing war in Eastern Ukraine. The decision of Parliament only confirms previously made the political choice of the Ukrainian leadership. Russia, obviously, will react negatively to the results of the voting in the Parliament. At the same time, the current conflict between Russia and NATO existed before the vote, so I don’t think it will lead to serious consequences.