18:15 GMT +317 October 2017
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    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (right) and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg are seen here after a meeting of the Defense and Security Council of Ukraine

    Never Mind Donbass: NATO Can Learn a Thing or Two From Ukraine, Kiev Says

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    NATO would be better off with Ukraine in than out, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said in an interview with Austrian newsmagazine Profil.

    “The Western alliance should prepare to respond to new challenges and doing this with Ukraine would be easier than without it,” Klimkin stated.

    “There are many things our NATO partners can learn from us. These are tactics, endurance and combat readiness. Without these things modern weapons just won’t help,” he added.

    As for Ukraine’s bid to join the EU, Klimkin said that this will happen only when the EU is ready to take Ukraine in. He also wished that Kiev was getting more help from Brussels.

    “Three years after Maidan, the European Union’s perception of us has taken a dramatic change for the better. They are helping us, but is the EU doing enough for Ukraine? Possibly not,” the Minister complained.

    Earlier this month, the Ukrainian parliament defined cooperation with NATO, with the ultimate goal of joining the Western military alliance, as a top foreign policy priority for the country.

    NATO’s former Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, however, that to be accepted, Ukraine needs to meet the criteria needed to gain membership in the 29-nation organization and that this could take  quite some time to do.

    Moreover, NATO does not accept countries with ongoing territorial disputes.

    Ukraine claims the territory of Crimea, which reunited with Russia in a referendum held on March 16, 2014, with nearly 97 percent voting in favor of joining Russia.

    In addition, Kiev has been locked in a protracted armed conflict in its eastern Donbass region where, in the wake of the February 2014 Maidan coup, the residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions held independence referendums and proclaimed the People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

    Kiev has been conducting a military operation in the region ever since, encountering stiff local resistance.

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    Tags:
    foreign policy priority, NATO membership, EU, NATO, Verhovna Rada, Pavlo Klimkin, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Ukraine
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