Ukraine has de facto become a member of the NATO defensive alliance, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told the BBC on Jan. 13.
Reznikov said the Western countries that were previously concerned that military assistance could be seen by Russia as an escalation, have changed their "thinking approach."
"Ukraine as a country, and the armed forces of Ukraine, have become (a) member of NATO," he said during the interview.
“De facto, not de jure (by law). Because we have weaponry, and the understanding of how to use it.”
During the interview, he claimed that Ukraine has inflicted on Russia casualties numbering 10 times those that Ukraine has suffered over the 10-month Russian full-scale invasion and war on Ukraine.
Reznikov also noted that he is confident that Kyiv will receive other, long-awaited weapons – including Western main battle tanks and fighter jets – as both Ukraine and Russia seem to be preparing for new offensives in the spring.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced on Sept. 30 that Ukraine was applying for fast-track NATO membership. The application document was signed by the president, along with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Ruslan Stefanchuk, the speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament.
According to the advisor to the head of the President’s Office Mykhailo Podolyak, Ukraine held consultations with the alliance before submitting the application.
Ukraine’s application to formally join the Western defense alliance has been in the works for months already.
The presidents of nine NATO member states (Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania and Slovakia) on Oct. 2 called for "a significant increase in military assistance to Ukraine" and supported its accession to the alliance.
Zelenskyy’s administration reported on Oct. 4 that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had received Ukraine's application. It is to be considered in Brussels at the level of ambassadors of NATO member states.