The priority national interest of Ukraine in the field of foreign policy is to develop and further deepen the strategic partnership between Ukraine and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), complying with the principles of the the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between Ukraine and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, signed on 9 July 1997, and the Declaration to Complement the Charter, signed on 21 August 2009, as well as pursuant to decisions taken after the meeting Ukraine-NATO Commission at the level of Heads of State and Government (September 4, 2014, Nyuport, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland).
The fundamental documents that continue to define the relationship between NATO and Ukraine are the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between Ukraine and NATO (09/07/1997) and the Declaration to Complement the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership (08/21/2009).
The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday, September 24, signed a decree “On urgent measures for the protection of Ukraine and strengthening its defense capability”. According to this document, the priority of national interest for Ukraine is a strategic partnership with the USA, EU and NATO.
On December 23, 2014 the Parliament of Ukraine adopted the law on abandoning the non-block status of Ukraine, which proved to be ineffective in the context of securing the state from external aggression and pressure. Introduced by the President of Ukraine draft (No. 1014-3, was developed by the MFA of Ukraine) was supported by the constitutional majority of deputies of Ukraine (303 votes).
The Recommendations of Parliamentary hearings held on December 7, 2016 defined necessity to speedup legislative process aimed implementation of strategic course on joining NATO and the EU.
On July 6, 2017 the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed the Law of Ukraine “On amending some laws of Ukraine regarding the foreign policy course of Ukraine”. The Law (registered # 6470) was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on June 8, 2017. 276 People’s Deputies voted “In favor” of regarded decision.
The Law “On National Security of Ukraine” and the Law of Ukraine “On the principles of domestic and foreign policy” were amended in the sphere of Euro-Atlantic integration.
Integration into Euro-Atlantic area with the aim of acquiring membership in North-Atlantic Treaty Organization was determined as one of the priorities of the national interests of Ukraine.
In the context of developing relations between Ukraine and NATO at the highest level it was adopted a decision on abandonment of the Ukraine’s non-block policy; approvement of the new National Security Strategy of Ukraine by the Decree of the President of Ukraine dd. 5.05.2015 No. 287/2015; comprehensive assessment of the security and defence sectors of Ukraine; improvement of the coordination system of cooperation with NATO; increase efficiency in the preparation and implementation of annual national programs; achieving the maximum level of interoperability between Ukraine and NATO forces; implementation of NATO standards in the military sphere.
Relations between Ukraine and NATO have two main dimensions: political dialogue and practical cooperation. The political dialogue between Ukraine and NATO provides through bilateral contacts at all levels, including inter-parliamentary dimension. NATO-Ukraine Commission is the main mechanism of the deepening this dialogue role. It was established in 1997 according to the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership.
Annual National Programme of Ukraine-NATO cooperation (ANP) is a key system document of the further development of cooperation with NATO and an important instrument of reforms implementation in Ukraine. It was implemented in 2009 for the first time. The Annual National Programme in the framework of NATO-Ukraine Commission for 2017 was approved by the Decree of President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko dd. 08.04.2017 No. 103/2017.
The rate of public support for Ukraine’s membership of NATO is increasing in the Ukrainian society. According to the various sources it counts 40-50%. MFA is seeking an increasingly close relationship with NATO by using open opportunities for Ukraine. For this the framework agreements were concluded and work on implementing relevant agreements within the Trust Funds to support Ukraine’s defense is continuing, in particular, there are five such funds:
NATO-Ukraine Cyber Defence Trust Fund;
NATO-Ukraine Logistics and Standardization Trust Fund;
NATO-Ukraine Medical Rehabilitation Trust Fund;
NATO-Ukraine Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) Trust Fund;
NATO-Ukraine Military Career Management Trust Fund.
In addition, the first Trust Fund on disposal of radioactive waste started its work in the frame of the NATO-Ukraine Commission. Together it is about 6 mln euros. The Ukrainian scientists can expect more 10 mln euros for 2014-2017 years within the Alliance’s programme “Science for Peace and Security”.
New Trust Fund to assist Ukraine on demining and countering improvised explosive devices was also created in 2016.
On February 6, 2016 Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine ratified the Agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the North Atlantic Treaty on the Status of NATO Representation to Ukraine. Such type of mission is the first for the Alliance. For the first time in 2015 Exercise on the emergency prevention and response “Ukraine-2015” were held on the territory of Yavorivsky, Lviv region. The President of Ukraine and NATO Secretary General attended this Exercise.
NATO and its member states continues to send material, technical, advisory, training aid for Ukraine’s defense and security sectors.
To develop practical cooperation under the auspices of NATO-Ukraine Commission five Ukraine-NATO Joint Working Groups were established: on Defence Reform (JWGDR); on Defence Technical Cooperation (JWGDTC); on Economic Security; on Civil Emergency Planning; on Scientific and Environmental Cooperation (JWGSEC).
In 2014-2015 nine advisers in defense sphere were sent to the NATO Liaison Office to Ukraine for the purposes of advisory assistance in the preparation of the new National Security Strategy of Ukraine; comprehensive assessment of the Ukraine’s security and defense sectors; achieving the maximum level of interoperability between Ukraine and NATO forces; implementation of NATO standards in military sphere (gradual transition (up to 2019) to the NATO standards (STANAG) is expected according to the Coalition Agreement within the Armed Forces reform).
Ukraine takes part in NATO operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo.
For Ukraine strategic partnership with NATO is an integral part of the European integration course as complementary to the process of internal reforms in the context of the implementation of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, ratified by Law of Ukraine dd. 16.09.2014 No. 1678-VII; implementation of the Strategy for Sustainable Development “Ukraine – 2020”, approved by Decree of the President of Ukraine dd. 12.01.2015 No. 5; realization of Action Program of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine dd. 9.12.2014 No. 695 and by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine dd.11.12.2014 № 26-VIII; important reforms of the defense and security sectors, defense industry and national Armed Forces. This will allow to make complex and comprehensive process of Ukraine’s integration into European and Euro-Atlantic community.
Joint statement of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, 2 December 2014
We, the NUC Foreign Ministers, have met today to discuss the developments in Ukraine and to review progress made in our joint work since NUC Heads of State and Government met at the Wales Summit on 4 September 2014.
We strongly condemn Russia’s continued and deliberate destabilization of eastern Ukraine in breach of international law, including the provision of tanks, advanced air defence systems and other heavy weapons to the separatists, and military activities, which violate the agreements reached in Minsk in September. Russia’s stated “respect” for the results of the separatists’ so-called elections on 2 November, which we do not and will not recognise, has further exacerbated tensions. We condemn Russia’s military build-up in Crimea, as well as the worsening human rights situation on the Crimean peninsula. We call on Russia to reverse its illegal and illegitimate self-declared “annexation” of Crimea, which we do not and will not recognise, and to respect the rights of the local population, including the native Crimean Tatars. Russia’s actions undermine the security of Ukraine and have serious implications for the stability and security of the entire Euro-Atlantic area. In that regard, we are also concerned with Russia’s stated plans for further military build-up on the Black Sea, which will potentially have further implications on the stability of the region.
We support the Minsk agreements, which offer a route towards a sustainable political solution of the crisis. We call on Russia to honour its commitments under the terms of the Minsk agreements, including: to withdraw its forces and military equipment from Ukrainian territory and along the Ukrainian border; to provide for effective international monitoring of the border and restore Ukrainian sovereignty over its side of the border; to allow for a political and a diplomatic solution to be negotiated, which respects Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity, and internationally recognized borders. Russia must use its influence over the separatists to ensure they stop their attacks and abide by the ceasefire, release all hostages and honour all their commitments under the Minsk agreements. We commend and fully support the efforts of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to contribute to de-escalation and pursuing a peaceful solution to the crisis.
Allies welcome the free and fair conduct of the extraordinary parliamentary elections held in Ukraine on 26 October, despite challenging circumstances. The elections are a testimony to the Ukrainian people’s commitment to freedom and democracy, and a future firmly anchored among European democracies, free to decide their own future and foreign policy course. Allies will continue to support, including through the Annual National Programme (ANP), Ukraine as it embarks on comprehensive reforms. The prompt implementation of such wide-ranging reforms to combat corruption and promote an inclusive political process, based on democratic values, respect for human rights, minorities and the rule of law, remains crucial for the consolidation of Ukrainian democracy and for its economic development.
Recalling the NUC Wales Summit Joint Statement, Allies are enhancing their support so that Ukraine can better provide for its own security. We have stepped up our cooperation in the framework of our Distinctive Partnership. We are strengthening our cooperation in the defence and security sector through capability development and sustainable capacity building programmes for Ukraine. Today, we are pleased to announce that the Trust Funds and projects on command, control, communications and computers, logistics and standardisation, cyber defence, military career transition, and medical rehabilitation are operational. We will continue to promote the development of greater interoperability between Ukrainian and NATO forces. NATO’s enhanced advisory presence in Kyiv is already in place and will continue to grow. As requested by Ukraine, Allies will continue to provide expertise as Ukraine completes its comprehensive defence and security sector review. The comprehensive reform agenda undertaken by Ukraine in the context of its ANP with NATO, as well as in the context of its Association Agreement with the EU, will further strengthen Ukraine. NATO and Allies will continue to support Ukraine in its reform efforts.
Ukraine welcomes the non-lethal material being provided by many Allies to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, as well as the help being provided to treat wounded Ukrainian personnel, and in humanitarian demining. Ukraine is grateful for the humanitarian assistance being provided to the internally displaced population, and the substantial cooperation through the Science for Peace and Security programme. Ukraine also looks forward to exploring ways to deepen information exchange and strategic dialogue with the Alliance.
We reaffirm that an independent, sovereign and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to security in the Euro-Atlantic area, of which – as stated in the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership – Ukraine is an inseparable part. The Alliance continues its full support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.