Nato ukraine relations- the background - sept 1
Not quite in NATO but close
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Nato ukraine relations- the background - sept 1
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
NATO-UKRAINE relations: The background
NATO’s relationship with Ukraine dates back to the very first days of Ukraine’s independence. In the quarter-century since,
NATO and Ukraine have built a distinctive partnership which has consistently been strengthened over the years.
1992: The first outreach
Just four months after Ukraine’s declaration of independence, NATO invited its representative to an extraordinary meeting of
the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, the body set up to shape cooperation between NATO and the states of the former
All participants in the meeting declared their determination to “work together towards a new, lasting order of peace in
Europe through dialogue, partnership, and cooperation” http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_23994.
1994: The Partnership for Peace
At the Brussels Summit of 11 January 1994, NATO decided to launch “an immediate and practical programme that
will transform the relationship between NATO and participating states. This new programme goes beyond dialogue and
cooperation to forge a real partnership - a Partnership for Peace”.
The Alliance put particular emphasis on its relationship with Ukraine and Russia, stating that “We believe that an independent,
democratic, stable and nuclear-weapons-free Ukraine would likewise contribute to security and stability. We will continue to
encourage and support the reform processes in both (Russia and Ukraine), and to develop cooperation with them, as with other
countries in Central and Eastern Europe”.
The summit declaration can be read at http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_24470.htm?selectedLocale=en .
The founding principles of the PfP, to which all partners subscribed when they joined, included the “protection and promotion
of fundamental freedoms and human rights, and safeguarding of freedom, justice, and peace through democracy”, and “to
refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, to respect existing
borders and to settle disputes by peaceful means.”
The PfP document can be viewed at http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_24469.htm?selectedLocale=en
Ukraine joined the PfP less than a month after it was inaugurated, on 8 February 1994. Only four countries (Romania,
Lithuania, Poland and Estonia) were quicker to join the partnership.
Following its signature, Ukraine deployed troops to the NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Bosnia.
1997: The NATO-Ukraine Charter on a Distinctive Partnership
On 9 July 1997, NATO and Ukraine signed a charter establishing a distinctive partnership and declaring their intention to
“further broaden and strengthen their cooperation and to develop a distinctive and effective partnership, which will promote
further stability and common democratic values in Central and Eastern Europe”.
The Charter set out a wide range of areas for potential cooperation, including civil emergency planning, military training and
It established the NATO-Ukraine Commission as a body where NATO Allies would regularly meet with Ukraine to “ensure
that they are developing their relationship and implementing the provisions of this Charter to the fullest extent possible”.
The Charter can be read at http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_25457.htm?selectedLocale=en
In the years following the signature of the Charter, cooperation between NATO and Ukraine quickly developed. For example,
NATO established trust funds to help dispose of toxic waste and to provide retraining for former military officers; provided
advice and expertise on defence reforms and democratic oversight of the security services; and invited Ukraine to participate in
NATO-led exercises. Ukraine contributed forces to the NATO-led missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo.
2002-2008 Strengthening the partnership
In May 2002, then-president Leonid Kuchma announced his country’s aspiration to join NATO. The same month, and in
that context, NATO foreign ministers meeting in Reykjavik stated their intention to “give new impetus and substance to our
partnership with Ukraine”, while encouraging Ukraine to “implement the reforms required to achieve this objective” (statement
at http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_19577.htm?selectedLocale=en ).
In the following years, NATO agreed to an action plan of cooperation with Ukraine, signed an agreement on the provision of
strategic airlift, and established trust funds to dispose of excess munitions and small arms.
Following the “Orange Revolution” of 2004-05, NATO and Ukraine launched an intensified dialogue on cooperation. Ukraine
contributed ships to the counter-terrorist Operation Active Endeavour and troops to ISAF in Afghanistan.
2008: The Bucharest NATO Summit
At the NATO Summit in Bucharest on 3-4 April 2008, Alliance leaders declared that “NATO welcomes Ukraine’s and
Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO. We agreed today that these countries will become members
of NATO. Both nations have made valuable contributions to Alliance operations. We welcome the democratic reforms in
Ukraine and Georgia”. (Declaration at http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-BF633930-27611814/natolive/official_texts_8443.
htm?selectedLocale=en , paragraph 23.)
On 21 August 2009, NATO and Ukraine approved a joint declaration strengthening the role of the NATO-Ukraine
Commission, reinforcing their cooperation and supporting Ukraine’s political, economic and defence-related reforms.
(Declaration at http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_57045.htm?selectedLocale=en)
2010: Reinforced partnership
When, in 2010, newly-elected president Viktor Yanukovych announced that his country would in future have non-bloc status,
but would continue practical cooperation with NATO at the same level as before, NATO respected that announcement.
At the Lisbon NATO Summit on 20 November 2010, Allied leaders stated that “Recognising the sovereign right of each
nation to freely choose its security arrangements, we respect Ukraine’s policy of ‘non-bloc’ status. NATO remains committed
to providing the relevant assistance to Ukraine for the implementation of wide-ranging domestic reforms. We welcome the
Ukrainian Government’s commitment to continue to pursue fully Ukraine’s Distinctive Partnership with NATO, including
through high-level political dialogue in the NATO-Ukraine Commission, and reform and practical cooperation through the
Annual National Programme.”
They reiterated their commitment to the Bucharest decision, and welcomed Ukraine’s interest in developing new areas of
cooperation. (Summit declaration at http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_68828.htm?selectedLocale=en)
Subsequently, Ukraine joined NATO’s exercise “Steadfast Jazz” and became the first partner country to contribute a ship to the
counter-piracy Operation Ocean Shield. NATO continued to support Ukraine’s defence and democratic reforms.
2014: The Russia-Ukraine crisis
When Russia launched its illegal military action against Ukraine, the North Atlantic Council met in emergency session
to discuss the implications. On 2 March 2014, the Council stated that “NATO Allies will continue to support Ukrainian
sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and the right of the Ukrainian people to determine their own future, without
outside interference,” and agreed that “military action against Ukraine by forces of the Russian Federation is a breach of
international law and contravenes the principles of the NATO-Russia Council and the Partnership for Peace” (statement at
http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_107681.htm?selectedLocale=en ). The same day, they held an emergency
session of the NATO-Ukraine Commission.
On 5 March the NATO-Russia Council met to discuss the crisis. Afterwards, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
announced (http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/opinions_107743.htm?selectedLocale=en) that NATO Allies had decided
to reinforce their support to Ukraine’s reforms through enhanced political dialogue, further exercises, and building the capacity
of the Ukrainian forces.
On 1 April 2014, the foreign ministers of NATO Allies and Ukraine issued a joint declaration (http://www.nato.int/cps/en/
natolive/news_108499.htm?selectedLocale=en) condemning Russia’s actions and agreeing on concrete measures to enhance
Ukraine’s ability to provide for its own security, including capacity building and capability enhancement in the armed forces.
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