The relations between Ukraine and NATO are defined by 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.
NATO-Ukraine relations began much earlier, in 1991, when Ukraine, after gaining independence, joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (since 1997 – the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council). Ukraine was the first post-Soviet state to join NATO's “Partnership for Peace” Program (February 8, 1994).
Deepening integration with NATO and the EU is a priority of state policy enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine. Implementing reforms is a condition for Ukraine to receive the NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP).
On 12 June 2020, Ukraine was granted the Enhanced Opportunities Partner status.
On 18 March 2021, Ukraine joined the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence.
Ukraine's National Security Strategy of 14 August 2020 determines that in order to strengthen its distinctive partnership with NATO and gain full membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Ukraine plans to:
One of the main messages of the final Communiqué of the NATO Summit 2021 (14 June 2021, Brussels) is the confirmation by the Allies of the right of our country to become a member of the Alliance with the MAP as an integral part of this process.
I. Political dialogue. Ukraine's political dialogue with the Alliance is ensured through bilateral contacts at all levels, including the inter-parliamentary dimension. The NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC), established in 1997 according to the provisions of the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership, plays a leading role in deepening of this dialogue.
The parliamentary dimension of NATO – Ukraine cooperation consists of three elements – collaboration between the Parliament of Ukraine and Parliamentary Assembly (PA) of NATO, legislative support for Ukraine-NATO relations, and parliamentary control over the implementation of legislative decisions on Ukraine's integration into the Euro-Atlantic security sphere, achievement of the criteria necessary for NATO membership.
In the NATO PA Ukraine is represented by the Permanent Delegation from Ukrainian Parliament, which since May 1992 has the status of an associate member.
Parliamentary oversight of the implementation of the Euro-Atlantic integration strategy is conducted by the Ukrainian Parliament independently and in cooperation with NATO PA. At the bilateral level, such control was ensured by the established in November 2000 under the provision of the Charter on Distinctive Partnership between NATO and Ukraine, Joint Monitoring Group of the Ukrainian Parliament and NATO PA. In March 2003, this group was reorganised into the NATO – Ukraine Inter-Parliamentary Council.
In April 2021, the Crimea Platform Support Group was established in the NATO PA.
The spring session of the NATO PA is planned to be held in Kyiv on 27-30 May 2022.
ІІ. Annual National Programs under the auspices of the NATO-Ukraine Commission
The Annual National Programs under the auspices of the NATO-Ukraine Commission (ANP), which have been implemented since 2009, are important instrument of reforms implementation in Ukraine. ANPs are approved by the President of Ukraine.
On 24 February 2021, the President of Ukraine approved the new Regulations on the development of Annual National Programs under the auspices of the NATO-Ukraine Commission and evaluation of their implementation. According to the document each section of the ANP contains a description of reforms in the relevant areas, defines the strategic goal of reforms, goals and priorities for the year. The annexes to the ANP indicate the priority tasks, the responsible authorities for their implementation, the deadlines, as well as performance indicators the ANP.
The special attention in ANPs is paid to meeting the criteria for NATO membership, promotion Ukraine's security and defense sector to NATO standards, and strengthening democratic civilian control.
III. Practical cooperation between Ukraine and NATO
The Commission for Coordination of Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine (headed by the Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine) was established in July 2016.
Four NATO-Ukraine Joint working groups were set up in order to develop practical cooperation under the auspices of the Commission: on military reform; on defenсe and technical cooperation; on cooperation in science and environment; on civil emergency planning.
The main purpose of the NATO-Ukraine Joint working group on military reform is to promote the maintenance of military-political dialogue and the involvement of the Alliance in the reform of the security and defense sector in Ukraine. Under the auspices of this Joint working group, a number of projects are being implemented aimed at promotion of security and defense reform: to combat corruption (NATO's Integrity and Transparency Initiative, reducing corruption risks in defense and security institutions), to train civilian security and defense personnel, to reform the military education in Ukraine, to retrain and provide social protection of discharged servicemen.
The NATO-Ukraine Roadmap on defense and technical cooperation signed in December 2015 determines the activity of the NATO-Ukraine Joint working group on defense and technical cooperation. The document was updated in December 2019 in Brussels as a consequence of the cooperation results revision. The Roadmap defines the main measurement of cooperation in the light of Ukraine's capabilities development in the field of armaments and military equipment. The document determines the level of assistance provided to Ukraine to complete the transition to technical standards of the Alliance and Ukraine's participation in multinational projects in the framework of the NATO Smart Defense Concept.
The NATO-Ukraine Joint working group on cooperation in science and environment, established in 2000, is responsible for cooperation coordination between Ukraine and NATO in the field of science.
Ukraine's cooperation with NATO under the Science for Peace and Security Program has been going on since 1991. It has been recognized as a successful project by all the NATO member countries whose representatives have participated in the Program projects.
Since 2014, Ukraine has been first among other partners for the number of research projects and the amount of their funding within the Science for Peace and Security Program.
Cooperation with the Alliance in the field of civil protection takes place within the framework of the NATO-Ukraine Joint Working Group on Civil Emergency Planning. In NATO, the NATO Senior Civil Emergency Planning Committee, which includes the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre since 1998, plays a key role in these activities. Its main tasks include the exchange of information and coordination of cooperation in disaster response.
The main tasks of the Joint working group are to plan and coordinate joint activities in the spheres of mutual interest. The activities of the group are considered an integral part of the work of the Civil Emergency Planning Committee and its subordinate units.
Ukraine is actively involved in NATO's international disaster response exercises.
Currently, cooperation is aimed at creating a national system of resilience to security challenges and threats in Ukraine.
IV. Ukraine's participation in NATO-led missions
Ukraine is a NATO Partner country, whose units are involved in the Alliance's numerous operations and missions, the NATO Response Force, including the NATO-led Kosovo Force and the NATO Mission in Afghanistan.
On 22 July 2020, the North Atlantic Council approved a decision on Ukraine's accession to NATO's Sea Guardian Operation as a Potential Operational Partner. The Armed Forces of Ukraine plan to involve two “Island” patrol boats in the operation by 2023, and in the future - the frigate “Hetman Sahaidachny” with a Ka-27 helicopter and a care team.
Ukraine has participated in the NATO training mission in Iraq since 2006. Ukrainian officers have served as military advisers at the National Operations Center of the Office of the Prime Minister of Iraq and the Joint Operations Center of the Iraqi Ministry of Internal Affairs, and have been actively involved in developing operational procedures at both the tactical and strategic levels.
In 2019, the Alliance invited Ukraine to continue cooperation: Ukraine was granted the status of a Potential Operational Partner of the NATO Mission in Iraq. In order to regulate sending of the Ukrainian national staff to positions in this mission the relevant legal procedures are underway.