Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 96

A special session of the North Atlantic Council approved September 14 Ukraine’s individual program of cooperation with NATO under the Partnership for Peace program. Presented by Ukraine’s foreign minister Hennadi Udovenko, the individual program includes joint military exercises, personnel training, and participation in peacekeeping operations. Ukraine will make available for these activities an operational group of senior staff officers, one airborne and two ground battalions, two warships, an air transport and a helicopter squadron, some other units, and two testing sites for joint exercises in Ukraine. The plan also includes continuous consultations between NATO and Ukraine on European security, conflict prevention, arms control, and nuclear security, and a series of high-level visits including an early one by NATO’s secretary general Willi Claes to Kiev. In addition, the Council and the Ukrainian delegation agreed to expand cooperation beyond the limits of PfP. The North Atlantic Council said in a communique that an independent, democratic, and stable Ukraine is a key factor of stability and security in Europe. The Council endorsed Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, supported its efforts to resolve peacefully all issues in its relations with its neighbors, and welcomed its democratic changes and economic reforms. (13)

The Brussels meeting upgraded Ukraine’s status in PfP by using the 16+1 formula, a status deemed privileged and, until now, accorded only to Russia. The planned activities seem to place Ukraine at the forefront of the postcommunist countries’ cooperation with NATO. Ukraine already ranks first in participation in joint military exercises with NATO countries (two such exercises are in progress at the moment, one in the Black Sea and one in the U.S.). NATO’s recognition of Ukraine’s importance has paralleled to its growing doubts about the future direction of Russia. Ukrainian leaders for their part underscore that the country’s constitutionally-enshrined neutrality allows cooperation with NATO though not membership (which is, in any event, not available to Ukraine). Concerned lest it become a "buffer" between an enlarged NATO and Russia, Ukraine seeks to improve its security through expanded cooperation with the alliance.