The history of NATO-Ukraine cooperation dates back to January 1992 when Ukrainian representative participated for the first time in the meeting of the High Level Working Group of the North-Atlantic Cooperation Council.
The first visit of the NATO’s Secretary General Manfred Worner to Kyiv occurred on February 22-23, 1992. Then, on June 8, 1992 the Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk paid official visit to the NATO’s headquarters.
The signing of the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership on July 9, 1997 at the time of the Summit Meeting of NATO Heads of State and Government in Madrid upgraded the cooperation between NATO and Ukraine, thus, confirming formal recognition of an independent Ukrainian state for the whole European community and showing the country’s desire to become a stable and democratic nation.
The cooperation with NATO has enhanced widely when Ukraine joined the Partnership for Peace program in 1994.
The Charter set political commitments of both sides to continue developing on high level a “distinctive and effective” partnership, which will promote further stability and common democratic values in Central and Eastern Europe. Also it formed the basis on which NATO and Ukraine agree to consult in the context of Euro-Atlantic security and stability and in the areas such as conflict prevention, crisis management, peace support and humanitarian operations. The NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC) has been created as a forum to ensure that NATO and Ukraine are developing their relationship and implementing the provisions of this Charter to the fullest extent possible.
On April 24, 1999 the Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma took part in the first high level meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission during the NATO Washington Summit. This meeting gave a new powerful incentive to our partnership with NATO which has been reflected in the “Declaration of the Heads of State and Government participating in the NUC.
The NATO-Ukraine Action Plan and the NATO-Ukraine Annual Target Plan for 2003 were approved on November 22, 2002 during the next high level meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission during the NATO Prague Summit.
The last high level meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission during the NATO Istanbul Summit, which for the first time was held with the participation of seven new Alliance’s members, confirmed that NATO is consistent in supporting Ukraine’s course for the Euro-Atlantic integration. The statement was reiterated in the Chairman’s final word with setting a task for the NUC to be accomplished at the Ambassadorial level. The goals drawn included reviewing NATO-Ukraine relations with their possible deepening ( on condition that Ukraine could demonstrate concrete achievements in implementing NATO-Ukraine Action Plan objectives and, thus, creating the ground for working out future recommendations at the meeting of the NUC at the level of Foreign Ministers.
The national interests of Ukraine in the light of the country’s cooperation with NATO are determined by the role the North-Atlantic Alliance plays supporting peace, stability and security in the world, contributing to the improvement of the common climate of trust in the Euro-Atlantic region, creating a new system of regional security in Europe, elaborating new coordinated approaches in fostering disarmament, implementing arms control and WMD nonproliferation policy.
Nowadays the cooperation between the Alliance and Ukraine is really active and it covers a wide range of spheres. Ukraine participates in numerous projects held together with NATO member-states and its partner-countries.
NATO-Ukraine cooperation runs in political, military, technical, scientific, economic, ecological spheres and in the civil emergency situations area.
The dialogue and relations between our country and the Alliance are based on practical and constructive principles, and common wish to undertake joint efforts that would lead to productive and mutually beneficial results aimed at developing new, peaceful and stable Europe.
Taking into consideration the real role and potential of NATO, Ukraine realizes that the development of the stable cooperation with the Alliance opens the way to:
- strengthen the guaranties of the Ukraine’s national security, in particular, the country’s political independence, territorial integrity and inviolability of frontiers;
- actively contribute to developing cooperation of Ukraine with the European and Euro-Atlantic structures as it is an important factor in creating the new architecture of security on the Euro-Atlantic space;
- receive the updated information on the experience of NATO member-states and its partner-countries to use it during reform process of the national Armed Forces of Ukraine and the state military organization as a whole;
- use NATO’s and its member-states’ practical experience to provide appropriate level of civil control over the military units;
- contribute to the establishing and developing the compatibility with armed forces of NATO with the purpose of strengthening the capabilities and preparedness of Ukrainian Armed Forces to participate in the peacekeeping operations under the aegis of the UN, OSCE and NATO (in the limits set by the Constitution of Ukraine and its legal basis);
- undertake joint efforts using NATO’s powerful potential in confronting the consequences of the civil emergency situations to protect population from the consequences of the man-caused accidents, catastrophes and the acts of God, and use NATO’s and its member-countries’ assistance therefore.
At present, the agenda of NATO-Ukraine relations includes the problems of further intensifying and upgrading the level of cooperation, stirring up mutual efforts and interaction aimed at consolidating peace and stability in Europe, improving the trust climate and strengthening European democratic and legal standards to meet the criteria of the new European community.