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:
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.