NATO-Ukraine relations began to develop shortly after the country gained its independence in 1991. Ukraine immediately joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) and became an active participant. It joined the Partnership for Peace program in 1994 and was a founding member of Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, who replaced the NACC in May 1997. When President Kuchma visited NATO on 1 June 1995, he reported his country's desire to update the NATO-Ukraine relations to a new level. Three months later, on 14 September 1995, Foreign Minister Udovenco visited NATO to accept the official program of the Ukrainian PfP Individual Partnership and hold talks with the North Atlantic Council on matters concerning European security. There was issued a joint press release describing the general principles of the NATO-Ukraine relations in the context of the Partnership for Peace and other areas.
Ukraine has made significant contributions to international peacekeeping activities. It contributed with an infantry battalion of 550 men to forces under the NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR) in Bosnia after the Dayton Peace Agreement. Similarly, it participated in the Stabilisation Force (SFOR) which replaced IFOR, contributing to a mechanized infantry battalion and a squadron of helicopters, including about 400 people.
The signing in Madrid of the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between NATO and Ukraine in 1997, passed cooperation on another plane and formally recognized the importance of an independent Ukraine, stable and democratic for all of Europe. Charter's stated strategy is to accelerate Ukraine's integration into European and transatlantic structures. This is the basis on which NATO and Ukraine agree to consult in the context of Euro-Atlantic security and stability in areas such as conflict prevention, crisis management, peace support and humanitarian operations. In December 1997, it was signed a Memorandum of Understanding on civil emergency planning, ensuring cooperation in this field.
Consultations and cooperation take place through joint seminars and meetings of joint working groups in many different fields, including civil-military relations, democratic control of armed forces and Ukrainian defense reform, defense planning concepts, establishing the budget, policy, strategy and national security, defense restructuring, interoperability and NATO-Ukraine military cooperation, military instruction and exercises, the economic aspects of security, scientific and technological matters, matters relating to environmental security, including nuclear safety, aerospace research and development, and civil-military coordination of air traffic control and management. It was set up a Joint Working Group NATO-Ukraine (JWG) for defense reform, in order to intensify efforts in this field.
Other strong areas of cooperation are: science, were the NATO supported Ukrainian scientific community by offering subsidies, the economics of security, and training. In this context, NATO launched a language teaching program for up to 100 Ukrainian military officers. NATO Information and Documentation Centre, inaugurated by Secretary General of NATO in 1997, became a focal point for intelligence activities in order to explain the benefits of the distinctive partnership with NATO to Ukrainian public. The Center is the first of its kind that was opened in a NATO partner country. Since its opening, the center has played an important role in explaining the Alliances policies and also in avoiding different misperceptions.
NATO- Ukraine Commision
North Atlantic Council meets regularly with representatives of Ukraine, usually no more than twice a year, within the Charter-established forum, called the NATO-Ukraine Commission. The Commission's role is to assess the implementation of the Charter and to discuss ways of improvement or cooperation development. The year of 2008 revealed a number of significant developments in the NATO-Ukraine relation through the Ukraine and Georgia membership perspective opened at the NATO Summit in Bucharest and the transition to a qualitatively new stage in relations with the Alliance, following NATO's ministerial decision in December to guide cooperation within the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC) and the NATO-Georgia Commission (NGC) to maximize allied assistance and supporting the accession preparing process.
In this context, in line with the Ministerial decisions of NATO in December 2008, NATO-Ukraine dialogue within the 2009 addressed central topics of interest such as amending the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership NATO-Ukraine (Madrid, 1997) in order to reflect the decisions of the Bucharest Summit and the central role of the NUC in overseeing the process started in Bucharest, the National Annual Program, strengthening the Liaison Office and the NATO Information and Documentation Center in Kiev.
Practical cooperation is carried out through the Joint Working Group on Defence Reform (JWGDR), under which there were a series of projects designed to support defense and security sector reform.
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