News Politics Society, 24/11/2017

Kharkivites Strive for NATO Membership

“Currently most of Ukrainians support joining NATO,” say the organizers of Ukraine-NATO: the Formula of Security seminar, which was held at Kharkiv Karazin University today.

The seminar gathered officials, policemen, ATO veterans, students and cadets, teachers, sociologists and non-governmental organizations activists to discuss the path to obtaining NATO membership.

According to the Chairman of the Permanent Delegation of Ukraine to the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO Iryna Fryz, the main aim of the meeting was to raise people’s awareness on the issues of Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine as this year joining NATO was adopted as the priority of Ukraine’s foreign policy by the Verkhovna Rada.

“We have to move quickly to implement the Alliance’s standards and comply with NATO criteria. Thus we would be able to apply in 2020, this date seems realistic to me,” says Iryna Fryz.

Iryna Friz

The issue of information war stirred a lot of interest. Ardent discussion started after the report of Kharkiv volunteer and head of Department in Economic University Kateryna Yaresko, who takes part in gathering information on the illegal commercial activity of Russian and foreign businesses in occupied Crimea.

About 120 open source intelligence investigations have been published only for the recent year. Due to the published facts, this September, the Turkish Embassy officially banned its ships to enter the Crimea seaports.

All the evidence collected by the volunteers should be used in future official investigations and legal liability of Russia and its international partners.

“We can’t cope with international laws violations alone, only support from NATO and EU, which recognize that Crimea belongs to Ukraine, can help us to punish the criminals dealing in our annexed territories,” says Yaresko.

Most of the participants were expressing their hope to enter NATO as soon as possible seeing the membership as a guaranty of collective defense and security. Also, a teacher told about her son who defended Ukraine in the hottest part of ATO zone and was grateful for the military training provided by NATO officers to Ukrainian soldiers, which helped to fight Russian troops efficiently.

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Iryna Frys was impressed with the avalanche of questions from Kharkivites. However the interest in the topic of joining NATO was particularly consistent for the Kharkiv region, as it has 300 kilometers of border with Russia and Kharkiv is only 48 kilometers from the aggressor.

Kharkiv gathering was the fourth one within the current tour of NATO discussions over Ukraine, next the organizers are proceeding to Odesa.

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Text, photo: Olena Sokolynska