Turkish drones will boost Kiev’s military might, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said, praising drones and their deterrent capabilities.
Speaking to reporters in the southern province of Antalya, Kuleba said: “Strategically, we want to do two things: we want Turkish drones to be equipped with Ukrainian engines and we want to locate drone production in Ukraine.”
In 2019, Ukraine purchased six armed Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and three ground control station systems from Turkey.
Ukrainian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Colonel General Rusan Khomchak recently said the country is preparing to acquire five more Bayraktar TB2 drones in 2021.
Turkish drones have grown in popularity since the equipment was deployed to Syria, Libya and Azerbaijan in widely covered conflicts around the world.
Drones are currently in active use in Turkey, Qatar, Libya, Ukraine and Azerbaijan.
âRussia is making every effort to prevent countries from selling arms to Ukraine because Russia wants a weak Ukraine. The weaker we are, the easier it will be for Russia to impose something on us, âKuleba said.
âDrones are needed to deter Russia so that Russia think twice before planning an escalation or a full-scale attack on Ukraine. This applies not only to drones, but to any kind of military equipment that Ukraine purchases. We are not buying drones to attack but to defend ourselves, âKuleba explained, claiming that Kiev will use themâ in any part of Ukrainian territory to defend ourselves â.
Military tensions between Ukraine and Russia have been high since Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014.
Turkey, along with the rest of NATO, criticized Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and expressed support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity as Kiev forces fight pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The Crimean Platform was established in October 2020 as part of Ukraine’s strategy for the desoccupation of Crimea.
Turkey was one of the first countries to express support for the Crimean Platform to be held on August 23.
âRussia treats the Crimean platform exactly the same as the arms sold to Ukraine. They are calling everyone to dissuade them from participating in the Crimean platform, âKuleba said.
Claiming that the Crimean Platform is a “political weapon of Ukraine” to defend its territorial integrity and restore its borders, Kuleba added: “I don’t think there are any closer friends in Crimea than the ‘Ukraine and Turkey, we are two nations who care about this piece of land, for the people who lived there historically, for the Crimean Tatars. It is therefore more than natural for Kiev and Ankara to cooperate closely on this issue. “
The Crimean Tatars are an indigenous Muslim community on the Black Sea Peninsula. Most of the Crimean Tatars opposed Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. Russian authorities have since cracked down on the community, banning their gathering and their TV channel, as well as the detention and imprisonment of dozens of activists.
Turkey, a staunch supporter of the Crimean Tatars, will build hundreds of houses in Ukraine for the displaced.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s administration urged NATO to accelerate Ukraine’s accession through a Membership Action Plan (MAP). Zelenskyy called for further measures after a standoff with Moscow this year that saw Russia amass additional troops and military materiel near Ukraine’s borders.
“NATO leaders have confirmed that (Ukraine) will become a member of the Alliance and that #MAP is an integral part of the accession process,” Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter following the NATO summit in Brussels.
The Kremlin recently said that Moscow was worried about discussions on a roadmap for Ukraine’s NATO membership and described the “problem” of the military bloc as one of the “red lines” of Ukraine. Russia.
Kuleba said verbal political commitments regarding the issue were made at G-7 and NATO summits.
âIn 2008, the Bucharest alliance made it clear that Ukraine and Georgia would become members of NATO. At the same summit, the leaders asked their foreign ministers to address the issue of granting action plans for the accession of the two countries, âhe said.
âSince 2008, if you ask me what has been done by NATO to achieve this, I will give you a very honest answer: nothing.
Kuleba criticized the alliance, saying that since that date, no action has been taken by NATO to implement the decision.
He pointed out that since then Ukraine has gone through many difficult and winding periods in its history. In 2014, Ukraine made clear and expressed its political will to continue on the path of Euro-Atlantic integration, Kuleba added.
âWe have made a lot of reforms – Ukraine before 2014 and after 2014 are two different countries. Yet we have not come close to membership.
He noted that at the recent summit, NATO reiterated that Ukraine will be a member – “essentially, they copy-paste the language of 2008”.
Kuleba stressed that Ukraine expects a “clear timetable” for joining the alliance and the recognition that Ukraine has achieved a lot in its reform path.
âHow many reforms do you want exactly? Kuleba asked, saying that the more reform Kiev undertakes, the more is expected.
For Ukraine, the best news to come from the NATO summit was the reiteration of Ukraine’s membership, but on the other hand, no timeline was specified for this process.