Ukraine’s defense minister says he is eyeing next year’s NATO summit as possible timing for Ukraine to be admitted to the alliance.
Oleskii Reznikov noted that next July’s summit in Washington, DC, will be the 75th anniversary of the alliance.
“Who knows, maybe it will be very important day for Ukraine,” Reznikov told CNN. “It is just my forecast.”
The United States and other NATO countries have said it is impossible to admit Ukraine now because of the ongoing war. The alliance’s Article 5 says allies will come to the aid of a member if attacked.
Reznikov acknowledged that Ukraine will only be able to join the alliance once the war is over, referencing Article 5 and saying "we have no options to have a unanimous vote" while the conflict is ongoing.
When asked if he thought the war would be over by next summer he quickly answered, “Yes. We will win this war.”
Reznikov downplayed the Biden administration’s refusal to commit to Ukraine getting admitted immediately after the war’s end.
“I think it's not necessary,” he said. Ukraine will have a streamlined admission process and in the meantime will continue to work on the necessary reforms, Reznikov added.
The defense minister emphasized that the benefits of admitting Ukraine to the alliance have only grown given its fight against Russia.
“After the victory, after then, it will be in the interest of NATO because we became a real eastern shield of NATO or eastern shield of Europe," he said. Ukraine has gained “real combat experience — how to deter Russians, to defeat them, to beat them with using NATO standard weaponry,” he added.