NATO MAP: Shmyhal says Ukraine working to catch up with Georgia.

Ukraine wants to catch up with Georgia in terms of obtaining a NATO Membership Action Plan and is doing its homework to meet NATO standards, according to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

He said this at a joint briefing with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on Tuesday, February 9, according to an Ukrinform correspondent.

"NATO membership is an important priority for Ukraine. We discussed it with the Secretary General, and we are absolutely ready. We are indeed doing our homework very well. [...] We want to catch up with Georgia and receive the MAP, but we are working actively over this," Shmyhal said.

He also said that Ukraine had passed a number of bills, was reforming its armed forces, moving towards NATO standards, conducting joint exercises with the Alliance and participating in NATO-led peacekeeping operations.

"We have got quite a number of achievements, which now give us hope that we can implement our homework quite quickly. Achieving NATO standards in the sector of security and defense of Ukraine will indeed be a precondition leading us to the NATO membership. Our short-term strategy at the moment is indeed the aspiration to receive the MAP," Shmyhal said.

Shmyhal added that his meeting with Stoltenberg was "quite a positive and important symbolic signal, which gives us positive charge and positive hope."

NATO granted Ukraine the status of an enhanced opportunities partner in June 2020. Ukraine has become the sixth such NATO partner, along with Sweden, Finland, Georgia, Australia, and Jordan.

The issue of Georgia's obtaining a NATO Membership Action Plan is to be considered at the NATO summit in 2021.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said last December that he saw no indications that Georgia would receive the MAP earlier than Ukraine, but if that happens, it would only strengthen Ukraine's positions as it would show that there is no alternative to the MAP.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Taran, addressing the ambassadors and military attaches of NATO member states in December 2020, stated that Ukraine hoped to receive the MAP at the NATO summit in 2021.

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