Libmonster ID: UZ-318
Author(s) of the publication: Ihor Khraban

PhD (Politics), the National Academy of Defense of Ukraine

While searching for the ways of the guaranteed national security Ukraine finally decided to enter the European system of collective security, which was specified in the basic official documents of the state. The Ukrainian leaders realized in this situation that the NATO is the most effective component of this system being the basis for formation of the European security. This idea was reflected in the Ukrainian State Program of Cooperation with NATO for the period up to 2001 and then confirmed in the next program designed for the period up to 2004. In particular, the Program reads that "Ukraine considers NATO as the most effective structure of the collective security in Europe and an important component in the system of the general European security. It is conditioned by a substantial contribution of this organization to the strengthening of piece, stability and general atmosphere of confidence in the Euro-Atlantic domain, by creation of the new security architecture in Europe, by strengthening of the disarmament, control of arms and nonproliferation of the mass destruction weapons" [1].

First contacts of Ukraine with the Alliance were initiated in the fall 1991 before the FSU collapse. In January 1992 the representative of Ukraine participated in the top level working group of the North-Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC). Undoubtedly, high-level visits and accession of Ukraine to the NACC (since May 30, 1997 it is called Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council - EAPC) facilitated further strengthening of the links of Ukraine with the NATO. The NATO Secretary-General M. Werner for the first time visited Kyiv in February 1992 and officially invited Ukraine to take part in NACC (Ukraine jointed the organization on March 10, 1992). The President of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk for the first time visited the Alliance Headquarters in Brussels on June 8, 1992.

The direct Ukraine-NATO consultations in the "16+1" format initiated on March 3, 1994 became an important event in the cooperation of Ukraine with the Alliance. This was specified in item 8 of the Framework Document of the Program " Partnership for the Sake of Peace" [2] with the aim of learning the conditions for establishment of special relations and "distinctive partnership" between Ukraine and NATO [3].

In 1994 Ukraine was the first CIS country to take part in the Program "Partnership for the Sake of Peace" (PSP). Ukraine appreciated it as a promising initiative of the bloc aimed at strengthening stability and security in Europe by expanding NATO relations with the countries of the Central and Eastern Europe as well as with other OSCE member countries.

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In keeping with the Framework Document "Partnership for the Sake of Peace" cooperation of Ukraine with NATO is intended to guarantee the transparency in planning of the national security and formation of the military budget, democratic control over armed forces, support of the capability and readiness under the Constitution to take part in the operations under the UNO aegis and\or within the OSCE commitments, development of cooperation with NATO in the military sphere for joint planning of the military training to carry out the peace missions, search and rescue operations to be agreed upon later, formation of such military forces that could better correlate with the armed forces of the Alliance.

In February 1995 the Ukrainian party was informed about the NATO's aspiration to deepen cooperation with Ukraine beyond the CEAP/PSP framework, which, in fact, opens prospects for development of distinctive partnership between Ukraine and NATO. An agreement in principle on establishment and development of the expanded and enhanced partnership between NATO and Ukraine was attained during the meeting of the NATO Secretary-General W. Klaas and the President of Ukraine L. Kuchma on June 1, 1995.

A special session of the Alliance in the "16+1" format with participation of the Foreign Minister of Ukraine G. Udovenko was held on September 14, 1995. This session led to the approval of the Joint Declaration of NATO and Ukraine for the Press proclaiming the beginning of the "expanded and enhanced" relations between two parties beyond the EAPC/PSP framework [4].

Together with the said text the Ukrainian party presented the document "Main Parameters of the Agreement on Establishment of the Distinctivel Partnership Relations between Ukraine and the NATO. This document laid the foundation for the active dialog between Ukraine and NATO with the aim of developing and concluding a politically binding agreement on a distinctive partnership. An issue on conclusion of this agreement became the theme of discussions and consultations between the representatives of the NATO and Ukraine governing bodies in 1996 - first half of 1997. The second joint document "Implementation of Expanded and Enhanced Relations between Ukraine and NATO" was negotiated between the two parties from January to March 1996. Implementation of this document was initiated by the first session of the Political Committee of NATO and Ukraine devoted to the European security and the security of Ukraine as the state, which voluntarily refused from the nuclear weapon, held on April 3. It is necessary to state that the distinctive partnership implies an expanded cooperation of Ukraine and NATO at all levels and domains - political, military, economical, ecological, research, engineering and informational. Ukraine considered this kind of cooperation one of the basic conditions to ensure its national interests, to prevent a new division of Europe and formation of "spheres of influence" or creation of "gray zones" of security in the Central and Eastern Europe. Looking for such distinctive partnership Ukraine proceeded from its unique geopolitical situation in the context of the NATO expansion. Future members of the expanded NATO are located on the eastern borders of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, whose position on the NATO expansion differs from that of other states of the Central and Eastern Europe. This is one of the reasons why Ukraine is recognized as "a key country for the European security" in the documents of NATO, WEU and other European structures.

The necessity for the special relations with Ukraine and a possibility of their formalization before the July 1997 NATO Summit on the basis of the documents about the "expanded and enhanced" relations and of the last proposals of Ukraine concerning the distinctive partnership with the Alliance was confirmed in the Closing Communique of the 1996 December Meeting of the Alliance members countries at the level of the foreign ministers.

It is emphasized in the Communique that the development of strong Ukraine-NATO relations is an important element in the new

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architecture of the European security.

Besides, the nondeployment of the nuclear weapons in the territory of new members of the bloc was declared and the opening of the NATO Information and Documentation Center of Ukraine in Kyiv was confirmed during this meeting. Officially it was inaugurated on May 7, 1997 during the second visit of J. Solana, the Secretary General of the Alliance.

The first round of negotiations with the Alliance on authorization of the Ukraine- NATO relations was held on March 20, 1997. The Ukrainian delegation was headed by the Foreign Minister G. Udovenko, the NATO delegation by the NATO Secretary General J. Solana. In April 1997 two rounds of negotiations with the Alliance at the level of experts were held in Brussels. The forth round of negotiations on the draft document was held on May 7, 1997 during the visit of the NATO Secretary General J. Solana to Kyiv, and the Charter on the Distinctive Partnership between Ukraine and NATO was signed during the North-Atlantic Council session at the level of foreign ministers in Sinitra (Portugal) on May 29, 1997.

Further events were marked by the beginning of cooperation of Ukraine with the Alliance in the frames of the distinctive partnership specified by the Charter signed on July 9, 1997 at the summit of the North-Atlantic bloc in Madrid. The document was signed from the Ukrainian side by L. Kuchma, the President of Ukraine, and from the side of the Alliance - by J. Solana, the NATO Secretary General and the leaders of 16 NATO member states. The Charter sets forth political commitments of the parties at the highest level and envisages a necessity "to develop relations of the distinctive effective partnership that would support better stability and propagation of joint democratic values in the Central and Eastern Europe".

Understanding the importance of the Charter the President of Ukraine by the Enactment # 1209/9 of November 4, 1998 approved the State Program on Cooperation of Ukraine and NATO for the period up to 2001. The document reads that the "strategic goal of Ukraine is a full-scale integration in the European and North-Atlantic structures and equal participation in the system of the general European security.

Implementing this goal, Ukraine is maintaining constructive cooperation with the security structures of the European continent such as the NATO, EU, WEU, EAPC, OSCE and the Council of Europe, which are the basis for formation of a new European security architecture of the 21st century" [5].

It is necessary to note that the Program implies not only stimulation of cooperation in the political and military spheres but also development of new cooperation domains, such as military engineering, research and technical, civil planning under emergency situations, joint struggle with proliferation of nuclear technologies, terrorism, organized crime and illegal drugs traffic, standardization, information technologies, protection of the environment, management of the air traffic, joint use of the cosmic space etc. Each of the cooperation domains is given a separate section in the Program.

The State Program also envisages establishment of direct contacts between the ministries and authorities of Ukraine with relevant structural units in NATO, authorization of their relations in specific spheres of cooperation, which would fully correspond to the spirit of the distinctive partnership. Experience of the institutional links of the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Euro-Atlantic Coordination Center for Responding to the Catastrophes (EUCCRC) proves it. The flood control in the Western Ukraine in the fall 2001 is a clear evidence of this cooperation. The EUCCRC played a very active part as a coordinator of international assistance from 20 EAPC member countries. Groups of experts from Hungary, Netherlands, Slovak Republic and Switzerland came to the region. Financial resources were channeled through the Red Cross Organization, 3000 tons of necessary cargo was delivered during a month period.

Therefore, the program served as a basis for formation and a tool for effective fulfillment of Annual Target Plans of the Charter

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implementation and the individual programs of partnership for Ukraine in the frames of the Memorandum for the whole period of its validity. Activities of the executive bodies as to implementation of these plans are controlled and coordinated by the President of Ukraine, Council of the National Security and Defense of Ukraine (CNSDU) and the State Interministerial Committee on Cooperation of Ukraine with NATO created by the Enactment of the President of Ukraine on April 3, 1997.

It is worth emphasizing that the development of such large-scale programwas absolutely new and unique experience not only for the post-soviet countries but also for all PSP member states. After implementation of the tasks and termination of the validity period of this document the President of Ukraine by the Enactment of January 27, 2001 approved the State Program on Cooperation of Ukraine with NATO for the period 2001-2004. This Program confirms and develops the provisions of the previous Program.

Ukraine did not raise the issue of joining the NATO because of its neutrality and nonparticipation in any blocs during the first years of independence. This position was repeatedly emphasized in public by the leaders of the state at the international and national levels. They mentioned that there is "a clear-cut position of the President concerning the foreign policy: today the NATO membership is not on the agenda" [6]. The point was only in close cooperation with the Alliance that is "one of the elements of the strategic course of Ukraine towards integration to the European and North- Atlantic political and economical structures including NATO, EU, OSCE, the Council of Europe, Organization of Economical Cooperation and Development, European Bank and others" [7]. This position of Ukraine was attributed, to our opinion, not only to self-proclaimed out-of-bloc status, neutrality, non-readiness of the Alliance itself, incapability of the Ukrainian economy and the Ukrainian armed forces to join NATO but mainly to utterly negative position of Russia to this issue.

The situation changed after the notorious terrorist acts of September 11th 2001 when Russia became evidently closer to NATO especially in the first months of the anti- terrorist compaign organized by the USA. The leaders of the Alliance decided to establish new approaches in Russia-NATO relations. It was very topical in relation with another wave of the bloc expansion to the East planned for November 2002. It is worth saying that Ukraine immediately oriented itself in the changed situation at the continent, so its political leaders started discussing the necessity to deepen cooperation with NATO by broadening the frames of the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between the Alliance and Ukraine. According to L. Kuchma, the President of Ukraine: "Ukraine is ready for broadening cooperation with NATO to the extent the North-Atlantic Alliance is ready for this" [8].

The document on creation of the new Russia-NATO Council, which develops the previous "19+1" format in relations of the parties into a new one "20 equal states" was adopted at the session of the Joint Permanent Council Russia-NATO at the level of ministers of foreign affairs on May 14, 2002 in Reykjavik. The new body was assigned to work out a joint position in combating international terrorism, proliferation of the mass destruction weapons and peace-making operations. The foreign ministers of the Alliance and Ukraine on May 15 in Reykjavik at the session of the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC) assigned the ambassadors of their countries at the Headquarters of the bloc to design new mechanisms and modalities for further development of the relations to bring them up to a new level on the basis of the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership. The point was not in making changes in the Charter but in making additions to this document with due regard to the latest changes in the world and in bringing the relations between Ukraine and the Alliance into a new higher dimension [9].

Without waiting for the results of the Russia-NATO Agreement on New Format in Relations to be signed on May 23 in Rome,

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the Council of the National Security and Defense of Ukraine at its session headed by the President of Ukraine L. Kuchma decided to initiate the process that will ultimately result in the NATO membership. This was a clear evidence that Kyiv wants to play a more active part in the European policy making and not to stay outside the new expansion of the bloc and strengthening of its relations with Russia. Besides, by these actions Ukraine made it clear that a course for the Euro-Atlantic integration, as compared to the past, has developed into a main dominant of the foreign policy of Ukraine.

A special session of NUC devoted to the 5th anniversary of signing the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between Ukraine and NATO was held on July 9, 2002. In his speech at the session the Secretary General of the Alliance G. Robertson stated: "NATO stands ready to go as far in relations with Ukraine as Ukraine proves capable to implement the structural changes and reforms necessary for development of closer relations with NATO". However, he noted that preparation to possible joining of Ukraine to the bloc will be a long process and will require decisiveness, devotedness and strenuous efforts of both parties, especially Ukrainian. "The burden for implementation of the most complicated tasks will fall primarily on Ukraine. Ukraine is a free sovereign state, a respected player in the world arena and must independently make its choice" [10].

Memorandum of Understanding to assist the host country was signed the same day in Kyiv. The Memorandum sets out mechanisms to employ the Ukrainian armed forces and facilities under NATO operations and training. Negotiations between the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the Command Headquarters of Joint Armed Forces of the Alliance on a possibility to sign an agreement that would open the way to employ the Ukrainian strategic aviation by the NATO forces are in progress.

Analyzing the relations between the Alliance and Ukraine it is worth paying attention to the fact that under preparation for the Prague Summit on November 21-22, 2002, which really became "a summit of expansion and transformation", the dialog between Ukraine and the bloc was somewhat gloomed by accusations of Ukrainian leadership by the American side for selling the radar systems to Iraq ignoring the NATO sanctions. In this connection the NATO leaders informed Ukraine that the NUC session in Prague would be held at the level of ministers but not at the level of state leaders and governments of the Alliance states, as it was expected.

Irrespective of this decision of the bloc, the CNSDU approved at its session a decision allowing the President L. Kuchma to take part in the session of the Council of the North-Atlantic Partnership (CNAP) in the NATO Summit in Prague and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine A. Zlenko in the session of NUC. It is worth noting that this decision was a hard one since the accusation was not proved while the decision on the format of the NUC session in Prague should be made considering the real place and role of Ukraine in the modern architecture of the European security and the achieved level of cooperation with the Alliance. But as many experts and politicians consider, this was the optimal way that demonstrated the adherence of Ukraine to the Euro-Atlantic course. It is emphasized in the CNSDU decision that "neither Ukraine, nor its President deserves to stay aside from further processes in formation of the European security" [11].

It is noteworthy that Declaration of the Prague Summit included a special item devoted to the development of the relations with Ukraine. As a result of the NUC session the ministers of foreign affairs approved the NATO-Ukraine Action Plan to bring the relations between Ukraine and the bloc to a qualitatively higher level. The document builds on the foundation for intensive consultations and cooperation in different spheres of life for both the parties. In his comments to the Document the CNSDU secretary Ye. Marchuk emphasizes that this document is, in fact a long-term program, which contains the achievements of the European standards not only in the sphere of defense, but also in the sphere of economy, science,

стр. 16

combating terrorism, conflict prevention, crises management, civil emergency planning. It is obligatory to implement political, economical and defense reforms, to observe human rights, freedom of the press, freedom of discussions. The Action Plan determines working mechanisms of cooperation, meetings at the level of Presidents. It provides the NUC sessions and meeting at the level of ministers of foreign affairs, ministers of defense and heads of the headquarters to be held four times a year. On the whole, the Action Plan contains a wide circle of issues and it has all sections and targets provided by the Membership Action Plan. It is possible to state that de juro this document is adopted as the Ukraine-NATO Action Plan but de facto as the Membership Action Plan. Ye Marchuk also indicates that this Document implies a hard home work for the Ukrainian party. [12]. The same idea was also emphasized by the ministers of foreign affairs of the NATO member states: they pay attention to the extreme necessity of further reforms in the sphere of defense and security of Ukraine. It is also worth mentioning the Annual Target Plan for 2003 approved together with the Action Plan at the NUC session.

In his speech during the CNSDU session on November 22 at the Prague Summit the President L. Kuchma declared that "today Ukraine applies for assistance in its main aspiration to become a full member in the NATO. Ukraine strives achieving a qualitatively higher level of its dialogue with NATO. So Ukraine has its own long way to Prague" [13]. It is worth noting that according to the NATO Secretary General G. Robertson, the Prague expansion of the Alliance is not the last one and the doors of the bloc stay open. Today the Alliance assumes that possibly the next invitation for the NATO membership will be extended to Croatia, Macedonia and Albania. Some analysts are not excluding the possibility for Ukraine to be on this list if it fulfills its ambitious obligations. In his interview to the BBC the known American political scientist Z. Bzhezinsky projects that in its third expansion phase NATO provides to include Ukraine, probably Georgia and Azerbaijan [14].

Undoubtedly, in the current situation in Europe possible joining of Ukraine to NATO would be advantageous to the country since this will help achieving the set objective: to become the EU member. Besides, accession to the Alliance would enhance the military capacity of Ukraine and increase the level of its national security. Today the combating terrorism fosters formation of new systems of partnership between different countries that may radically change the idea of the future world design. Usually it is unrealistic to speak about accession to NATO in the coming years since the reasons impeding this are still in place. However, the fact of making a new political decision on joining NATO demonstrates the dynamics of the foreign policy development in Ukraine. Of course, Ukraine, as specified during the Prague Summit, is to tackle its most challenging reform projects in all spheres of the state activities. To our opinion, implementation of Ukraine's aspirations depends at most on the capability to fully perform this task.


1 See: Указ Президента України N 1209/9 від 4 листопада 1998 року "Державна програма співробітництва України з НАТО на період до 2001 року".

2 НАТО. Партнерство заради миру. - Брюссель: Відділ інформації та преси НАТО: 1110-1994. - 10 січня. - С. 8.

3 See: Солана Х. "Особые отношения" Украины и НАТО // Киевские ведомости. - 1996. - 12 квітня.

4 See: Спільна заява України і НАТО для преси від 14.09.1995 // Політика і час. - 1995. - N10. - С. 81-83.

5 See: Указ Президента України N1209/9

стр. 17

від 4 листопада 1998 року "Державна програма співробітництва України з НАТО на період до 2001 року".

6 Мостова Ю. Анатолій Зленко: "Зов-нішня політика повинна працювати на внутрішню" // Дзеркало тижня. - 2001. - N3. - 20 січня. - С. 5.

7 Виступ міністра закордонних справ України Б. Тарасюка на сесії Верховної Ради України: "Заради майбутнього України" // Політика і час. - 1999. - N4. - С. 6.

8 Цитата за: Марчук Є. Співробітництво з НАТО поглибимо, але про вступ до Альянсу не йдеться // Президентський вісник. - 2002. - 19 січня. - С. 3.

9 Силина Т. Украина и скелеты из ее шкафа // Зеркало недели. - 2002. - N25. - 6 июля. - С. 5.

10 See : Новини НАТО. Літо - осінь 2002. - С. 1-3.

11 See: Зам'ятін В. Компроміс імені царя Соломона // День. - 2002. 19 листопада. - С. 1.

12 See: Зам'ятін В. Новий формат // День. - 2002. - 23 листопада. - С. 1, 3.

13 Силина Т. Наша Прага еще впереди. // Зеркало недели. - 2002. - N45. - 23-29 ноября. - С. 2.

14 See: День. - 2002. - 27 листопада. - С. 3.

Translated by Alla Horska


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Ihor Khraban , A LONG WAY TO PRAGUE. THE DOMINANT OF THE FOREIGN POLICY OF UKRAINE: EUROATLANTIC INTEGRATION // Tashkent: Library of Uzbekistan (BIBLIO.UZ). Updated: 02.01.2023. URL: (date of access: 26.05.2024).

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