Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Oleksandr Turchynov has met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the headquarters of the Alliance in Brussels, as reported on the official website of the NSDC.
"During the talks, the sides discussed the issue of countering Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine and the hybrid threats that our country is now facing," noted the statement.
According to Turchynov, Ukraine, when compared to 2014, presently has a qualitatively new army that is able to defend the country.
"Given the challenges facing the state today, a significant part of the state budget funds was directed for Ukraine's defense and security. Total spending on security and defense in 2017 exceeded 5% of GDP," he said, adding that the same is true of the 2018 budget.
In addition, the Turchynov and Stoltenberg discussed the issues of reforming Ukraine’s security and defense sector and the transition to NATO standards, as well as complications along the way.
Turchynov thanked Stoltenberg for his recent statement at the International Security Forum on November 17 in Halifax saying that NATO's doors are open to Ukraine and Georgia, and noted that Ukraine "is now focused on reforms, on modernizing defense institutions, fighting corruption, and strengthening democratic institutions” in order to move towards the Alliance.
The Secretary of the NSDC also noted that the accession of his country to the Enhanced Opportunities Program could become a new important development in Ukraine-NATO cooperation. "According to military experts from partner countries,” he added, “Ukraine meets all the criteria a prospective Program participant should meet." He noted that Ukraine is interested in holding a meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Commission at the level of heads of state during the NATO Summit in Brussels in July 2018.
In turn, the NATO Secretary General noted that Ukraine is important for the security of Europe as a whole. "The Alliance member states are ready to further help your country on the way to its civilizational choice," he said.
Earlier, NATO has expressed dissatisfaction with the way Ukraine is conducting reforms necessary for rapprochement with the Alliance.