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NATO - Ukraine Relations

This LibGuide is intended to provide a few starting points to assist you with your research on issues related to NATO's relations with Ukraine.


"Diplomacy offers the only viable solution to the crisis in Ukraine"

(NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, 8 December 2016)

Recommended Reading on NATO-Ukraine Relations

  • Dialogue and cooperation started after the end of the Cold War, when newly independent Ukraine joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (1991) and the Partnership for Peace programme (1994).
  • Relations were strengthened with the signing of the 1997 Charter on a Distinctive Partnership, which established the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC) to take cooperation forward.
  • The Declaration of 2009 to Complement the NATO-Ukraine Charter mandated the NUC, through Ukraine’s Annual National Programme, to underpin Ukraine’s efforts to take forward reforms aimed at implementing Euro-Atlantic standards.
  • Cooperation has deepened over time and is mutually beneficial with Ukraine actively contributing to NATO-led operations and missions.
  • Priority is given to support for comprehensive reform in the security and defence sector, which is vital for Ukraine’s democratic development and for strengthening its ability to defend itself.
  • In response to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, NATO has reinforced its support for capability development and capacity building in Ukraine.

From the NATO Topic Page: Relations with Ukraine.

Good places to start your research include:

On 2 March 2014 the North Atlantic Council condemned the Russian Federation’s military escalation in Crimea and expressed its grave concern regarding the authorization by the Russian Parliament to use the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine.

On 16 March, the North Atlantic Council considered the so-called referendum held on 16 March in Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea to be both illegal and illegitimate (NATO's relations with Russia).

On 1 April 2014, NATO Foreign Ministers stated : « …In order to demonstrate our commitment to Ukraine, we will intensify our cooperation in the framework of our Distinctive Partnership. Today NATO and Ukraine have agreed, as set out in the statement by the NATO-Ukraine Commission, to implement immediate and longer-term measures in order to strengthen Ukraine’s ability to provide for its own security.…” (NATO-Russia Council). Following a request from Ukraine, NATO deployed an advisory support team of civil experts to Kyiv to advise the authorities on their civil contingency plans and crisis-management measures related to critical energy infrastructure and civil protection risks. In parallel, NATO has helped coordinate the provision of humanitarian assistance and medical capabilities in support of Ukrainian internally displaced persons.

At the Wales Summit (5 September 2014), NATO Allies approve the NATO Readiness Action Plan - a comprehensive package of necessary measures to respond to the changes in the security environment on NATO's borders and further afield.

On 31 October 2014, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated: « …the planned 'elections' organised by self-appointed and armed rebel groups in parts of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions, due to take place on 2 November, undermine efforts towards a resolution of the conflict, violating Ukrainian laws and running directly counter to the Minsk agreements co-signed among others by the two self-proclaimed 'republics' and by Russia.…” (NATO-Russia Council)

Since 2014, in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, cooperation between NATO and Kyiv has been intensified in five critical areas - under the framework of the NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) Trust Fund policy (see NATO Response to the Russia-Ukraine Conflict):

  • Command, control, communications and computers (on 24 April 2015, the NATO Communication and Information Agency signs an agreement with Ukraine),
  • Logistics and standardization (an agreement is signed on 28 April 2015 between the NATO Support and Procurement Agency and Ukraine)
  • Cyber defence,
  • ​Military career transition
  • Medical rehabilitation (Agreement signed between NSPA and Ukraine on 28 April 2015)

On 29 January 2015, in talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stresses NATO’s solidarity with Ukraine.

"On 12 February 2015, after more than 16 hours of negotiations in Minsk, the leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement to end fighting in eastern Ukraine. Representatives of the OSCE, Ukraine, Russia, and the pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine signed the deal, which includes a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, to begin on 15 February, followed by the withdrawal of heavy weapons" (Source: European Parliamentary Research Service).

On 13 May 2015, during the Foreign Ministers meeting in Turkey, the NATO-Ukraine Commission released a Joint Statement: « …We [NATO Allies] will continue to strengthen our cooperation as Ukraine proceeds with work on defence and security sector reforms, strategic communications, and capacity-building projects through the Science for Peace and Security Programme.  We look forward to Ukraine’s hosting of the field exercise of the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre in September 2015 in Yavoriv near Lviv. Ukraine looks forward to further deepening its strategic dialogue and information exchange with the Alliance…”. "NATO stands firm in support for Ukraine": the same day in Antalya (Turkey),  the NATO Secretary General concluded: "Our partnership is strong, and getting stronger."

In June 2015, in response to a request from Ukraine, NATO agreed to launch a sixth Trust Fund on Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices and Explosive Ordnance Disposal.

On 16 December 2015, NATO and Ukraine sign Defence-Technical Co-operation Roadmap in order to modernize the country's defense industry and capabilities.

On 14 April 2016, Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow reaffirms support for Ukraine at Kyiv Security Forum (NATO, 15 April 2016).

In the Warsaw Summit Communiqué, issued on 9 July 2016, the Heads of States and Governments called for "an independent, sovereign, and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law" (See also NATO-Ukraine cooperation (para. 117-118). At their meeting in Warsaw on 9 July 2016, the Heads of State and Government of the NATO-Ukraine Commission endorsed the Comprehensive Assistance Package (CAP) for Ukraine.

Following the Warsaw Summit, Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow met Ukraine's Acting Chief of Mission to NATO (14 July 2016).

During the Meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs held in Brussels in December 2016, Minister Klimkin said the CAP, agreed in July, had already started to be implemented: "Ukraine has now implemented 120 NATO standards in its Armed Forces as part of the modernization of Ukrainian Armed Forces." (Press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg following the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at the level of Foreign Ministers, 8 December 2016).

EU−Ukraine: 3rd meeting of the Association Council on 19 December 2016 (Brussels).

On 9 February 2017, NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller welcomed the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Volodymyr Groysman at NATO HQ and stated: "NATO does not, and will not, recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and we condemn Russia’s continuing destabilisation of eastern Ukraine.. [...] NATO will continue to provide political and practical support to Ukraine. Through our Comprehensive Assistance Package, and through Trust Funds." (Joint press point with NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller and the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Volodymyr Groysman, 9 February 2017).

Following the explosion in eastern Ukraine on 23 April 2017, the NATO Secretary General expressed his condolences to the loved ones of the OSCE paramedic killed and those wounded in the incident. In a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission on 25 April, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze briefed Allies on Ukraine’s reform efforts and annual implementation plans. (NATO-Ukraine Commission addresses Ukraine’s reform agenda, 25 April 2017).

In order to mark the twentieth anniversary since the signing of the Distinctive Partnership between NATO and the Ukraine, and at the invitation of the Ukrainian authorities, the North Atlantic Council (NAC) chaired by NATO Secretary General, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, visited Ukraine on 9-10 July 2017 (See also: NATO Secretary General stresses Alliance’s strong support for Ukraine, 10 July 2017). A meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission with the President of Ukraine, Mr. Petro Poroshenko took place on 10 July (Joint statement of the NATO-Ukraine Commission).

Following the meeting of the NATO-Russia Council held on 26 October 2017, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had a Press Point where he said:

"NATO Allies and Russia continue to have fundamental differences on the issue of Ukraine, how to solve the crisis in Ukraine. This conflict continues to have a profound impact on the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic region, and it remains the primary reason for the current state of NATO-Russia relations. Improving the security situation in eastern Ukraine remains the priority in order to move towards the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. However, the situation remains fragile and violations of the ceasefire continue. Heavy weapons are still close to the conflict line. And the access of OSCE monitors is still obstructed, including at the Russian-Ukrainian border. We welcome the ongoing diplomatic efforts to promote the implementation of the Minsk agreements by all sides."

In April 2018, NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller underscored the Alliance’s strong support for Ukraine during a two-day visit to Kyiv (NATO Deputy Secretary General addressed Kyiv Security Forum, 13 April 2018).

'The Ukraine Conflict' Hot Topic offers a constantly updated list of books and articles from the NATO Multimedia Library catalog, from a current as well as historical perspective. (It might be useful to sort the result list by publication date (please sort by 'B1 (Year)').

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A chronology of NATO statements on the events in Ukraine

Ukraine - chronology of events