Integration into NATO now involves matters beyond ensuring Ukraine’s security, including offering the Alliance its help.
That’s according to Yuriy Kochevenko, a Ukraine-based military expert, chief of the International Center for Countering Russian Propaganda, who spoke with Dom TV, Ukrinform reports.
“The Ukrainian Army is now one of the strongest in Europe and one of the largest even in terms of manpower. Many NATO countries have relaxed to a certain extent and are saving on armaments. Why bother if there is the United States and a massive NATO umbrella? Among our neighbors, only Poland’s 150,000-160,000-strong Armed Forces of Poland are objective, while the Ukrainian Army has 250,000 forces in its ranks. Meanwhile, other countries’ armies are much smaller," said the expert.
According to Kochevenko, the Ukrainian Army, with its combat experience, numbers, and hardware is a serious force that can’t be ignored at the moment, while joint military exercises with NATO Allies prove this point.
"And when we were just starting our cooperation with NATO, we still looked at NATO from the bottom up in terms of experience and understanding of command systems. Everything seemed so cool and different from what we had back then. And now that we meet with our NATO partners, when we conduct joint exercises, we are already a match. In addition, many officers from the United States, Lithuania, and Germany express real interest in our approaches, they look into our experience and our methods," he said. Kochevenko.
He added that at the moment, there is no model better than NATO’s to ensure security of a democratic state.
"So we can go to NATO not only for protection, but also to offer our help, offer our shield ... And, of course, this causes tantrums in Moscow, especially when this comes in a package with the efforts by our Georgian partners. In fact, the Georgian army is 40,000 professional, well-trained qualified military, while the population of Georgia is only 4 million. And this is a very significant force for the Caucasus. And together, we are a force that the aggressor power will have to reckon with," the expert said.
As Ukrinform reported earlier, the NATO Summit held in Brussels in June 2021 reaffirmed the prospects of Euro-Atlantic integration for Ukraine and Georgia once these countries are ready for such a step and when political agreement on such membership is reached among all Allies.