Ukraine’s Minister of Defence, Andrii Taran, urged the armed forces to focus on attaining interoperability with NATO, instead of pushing for the “unachievable goal of fully adapting the Ukrainian Armed Forces to NATO standards,” in a speech on 11 March, according to the Ukrainian MoD.
He added that it was important to transfer the country’s command and control structures to a new format that separates the authority granted to the MoD, the Commander-in-Chief and the General staff: a process already under way.
The challenge of converting Ukraine’s substantial armoured vehicle fleet, its air defence forces and air force to NATO standards is significant, and would be expensive. It stands to reason that the country would gain more from interoperability with the alliance, as the status would enable it to conduct joint training exercises and build stronger working relationships with those forces that attend.
This model of behaviour would be closer to that pursued by Georgia and Romania, neither of whom can realistically expect to defend their borders from a determined Russian incursion, whatever its form. For Georgia and Ukraine, NATO membership is unlikely, as it would lead to Russian aggression. However, both can improve interoperability with NATO forces, in the hope that shared ideals and military doctrine will prompt the alliance to come to their aid in the event of war.
Miles Quartermain in London for MON