Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 107

Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma said at a Kiev news conference that the admission of a country into NATO can not be discussed without taking Russia’s position into account, but that "each state has the right to decide itself on its participation." Ukraine "wants to be a non-bloc state," although "this will become more difficult in time," Kuchma said. He stressed that any choice in the matter must "proceed from national interest." Meanwhile, joint U.S.-Ukrainian military exercises at platoon level, involving a unit from the U.S. 82nd airborne division and Ukrainian paratroops, have been underway since October 2 in Ukraine’s Carpathian military district. On October 3 in Kiev, a Defense Ministry briefing made public a highly positive joint assessment of September exercises by U.S. and Ukrainian marines at Camp Pendleton, North Carolina, which were a follow-up to the joint marine exercises in Ukraine in July. The sides envisage further joint exercises with more personnel involved. (12) Most U.S.-Ukrainian joint exercises are bilateral undertakings placed under the umbrella of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program. In common with several European neutral or nonaligned states (e.g. Austria or Finland) Ukraine considers military cooperation with NATO as consistent with the country’s non-bloc status.

Russian Proposal on Caspian Sea Revealed and Rebuffed.