NATO and Ukraine will replace their current format of formal meetings in the form of a Commission with a new Council format at or after the Vilnius Summit in July.
Source: Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s Minister of Defence, during a conversation with Ukrainian journalists on Thursday 15 June, after meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group and the Ukraine-NATO Commission, as reported by a European Pravda correspondent from Brussels
Quote: "Today a very momentous event took place... Today, for the first time since 2016, a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at defence-minister level was held with the participation of all ministers," Reznikov said, recalling that in previous years, meetings in this format had not taken place due to Hungary's veto.
"I can tell you... that this was the first meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission since 2016, and I have serious hopes that it is the last," the minister added.
He explained that this will happen due to a change in the format of official meetings between Ukraine and the Alliance.
"The next meeting of defence ministers from Ukraine and NATO, which I hope, will begin with Vilnius or immediately after Vilnius, will be [in the format of - ed.] Ukraine-NATO Council," the minister said.
Reznikov added that the Council's format implies "a new level of relations, a higher level of interaction."
"This is when Ukraine will not yet be a member of NATO, but will already be on an equal footing in all committees, in all representative meetings with the right to raise issues that are particularly spelled out in their agreements," Reznikov said.
Earlier, Jens Stoltenberg, General Secretary of NATO, explained that the possible creation of a NATO-Ukraine Council would significantly strengthen the partnership between the Alliance and Ukraine, serving as a body for making joint decisions.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba noted that "the creation of the NATO-Ukraine Council without taking a strong step towards membership is like providing a tank without a gun."