Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council head, Volodymyr Horbulin, has conferred with top NATO leaders and the ambassadors of member countries at allied headquarters in Brussels on the draft document of a "special partnership" between NATO and Ukraine. Horbulin stated that "rapprochement with NATO represents a basic component of Ukraine’s strategy of joining European and Euroatlantic economic, political, and security institutions." It is also, he said, "an important dimension of European security." Horbulin urged the development of NATO-Ukraine cooperation "beyond the limited framework of the Partnership for Peace program" and also the soonest possible opening of NATO’s planned information center in Kiev.
Meeting concurrently with foreign ambassadors in Kiev, President Leonid Kuchma stated that Ukraine will "gradually" seek accession to European and transatlantic bodies and a "strategic partnership" with the U.S. Ukraine seeks "equitable relations with Russia," Kuchma added, and will "unconditionally and resolutely defend its territorial integrity and its borders." (Interfax-Ukraine, January 11-12)
The mounting aggressiveness of Russian claims to Sevastopol and Crimea, and the impasse on the Black Sea Fleet, are in turn accelerating the reorientation of Ukraine’s security policies. Without abandoning its non-bloc status, Kiev is increasingly redefining it as consistent with close cooperation with NATO. The NATO-Ukraine special partnership is due to be formalized at NATO’s Madrid summit.
"New Stage" Seen in Tripartite Union.