Relations with Ukraine

NATO condemns Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable aggression against Ukraine, which is a blatant violation of international law and gravely undermines global stability and Euro-Atlantic security. In accordance with relevant resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly, NATO demands that Russia immediately cease its use of force, withdraw all its forces from Ukraine completely and unconditionally, and stop the war.

All those responsible for abuses and violations of international human rights law, particularly in Ukraine’s civilian population, including violence, sexual conflict, and the children of deportation, must be held accountable. The destruction of civilian infrastructure and attacks against civilians, as well as other atrocities and war crimes committed by Russia, cannot go unpunished. NATO Allies call on Russia to fully respect international humanitarian law and ensure unhindered and safe access to humanitarian assistance for all in need.

The welfare and global economy of billions of people around the world have been profoundly impacted by Russia’s war. Additionally, Russia’s decision to halt Ukraine’s agricultural exports and withdraw from the Black Sea grain deal has strongly condemned by Ukraine and its allies, as it affects the livelihoods of millions of people worldwide who depend on these exports. The United Nations and European Union are working together to enable the continued export of Ukrainian grain by sea and land, and to revitalize the grain deal.

The Allies strongly condemn Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and declare that they will not recognize it as a legitimate occupation. NATO has taken a firm position in fully supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders. Since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its aggression in Eastern Ukraine in 2014, NATO has adopted a strong stance.

Beginning in 2014, NATO has augmented its presence in the Black Sea and intensified maritime collaboration with Ukraine and Georgia. NATO partners have likewise denounced Russia’s ongoing hostility and disruptive operations in eastern Ukraine and the Black Sea area.

In support of the rules-based global order, the international community stands in solidarity with Ukraine, delivering a clear and forceful message that Russia is facing isolation. The United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly denounced Russia’s attempted annexations. Ukraine will always remain as Ukraine, and these territories hold no legitimate claim. NATO will not acknowledge them as the fraudulent referendums in these areas were orchestrated in Moscow and imposed upon Ukraine. This marks the largest land seizure attempt in Europe since the Second World War, and NATO also condemns Russia’s unlawful endeavor to annex four Ukrainian regions – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia – in September 2022.

To hinder Russia, these endeavors of reconstructing its armored vehicles, producing projectiles, and funding its conflict will pose greater challenges. In order to intensify the strain on Moscow, allies persistently enhance and refine these penalties. Since Russia’s extensive invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, severe sanctions have been imposed on Russia by allies to deprive the Kremlin’s war apparatus of vital resources. Despite maintaining open lines of political and military communication, NATO allies made the decision in 2014 to suspend all practical civilian and military collaboration with Russia due to Russia’s unlawful and unjustifiable seizure of Crimea.

In the region of the Black Sea, the newly established NATO-Ukraine Council, which was formed during the 2023 Vilnius Summit, convened as part of a crisis consultation mechanism in response to the escalation of Russia. Throughout the conflict, NATO and Ukraine maintained ongoing discussions regarding the security situation and the support provided by the Allies to Ukraine through the Commission. Additional exceptional meetings of the Commission were held at NATO Headquarters in January and February 2022, with a focus on Russia’s military buildup and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The Commission convened for extraordinary sessions following Russia’s aggression in Crimea and eastern Ukraine in 2014, as well as after Russia’s unwarranted use of military force against Ukrainian vessels near the Kerch Strait in November 2018 and during Russia’s menacing military buildup in April 2021. Since 2014, regular consultations have taken place within the NATO-Ukraine Commission to address the direct threats faced by Ukraine to its territorial integrity, political independence, and security.

NATO remains steadfast in its commitment to further step up practical and political support for Ukraine as it continues to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty, which are internationally recognized borders. The Alliance fully supports Ukraine’s inherent right to self-defense, as enshrined in Article 51 of the UN Charter. NATO stands in unwavering solidarity with the heroic people and government of Ukraine, sharing their values and supporting the defense of their nation.

Practical assistance to Ukraine – the Comprehensive Aid Package.

They have also decided to further develop their support to Ukraine, based on substantial new programmes of development as well as significant enhancement of existing cooperation programmes. In 2014, following Russia’s illegitimate and illegal annexation of Crimea, NATO Foreign Ministers agreed on measures to enhance Ukraine’s ability to provide for its own security. NATO has significantly stepped up its practical assistance to Ukraine, in parallel with its political support.

The CAP Assistance Comprehensive became part of Ukraine’s support measures in the Warsaw Summit NATO 2016, designed to implement wide-ranging reforms based on Euro-Atlantic best practices and principles, and to provide support for Ukraine’s own security.

NATO CAP has helped transform Ukraine’s defense and security sector over the course of many years by providing tailored advice and a wide range of capacity-building initiatives and programs. This support has significantly strengthened Ukraine’s resilience and capacity in the face of hybrid threats from Allies and NATO, as well as enhanced its ability to counter such threats. Additionally, NATO’s provision of equipment, education, and training, including the development of capability support, has further contributed to the strengthening of Ukraine’s defense and security sector. The strategic-level advice provided through the NATO Representation in Ukraine has played a crucial role in these initiatives and programs.

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Since its launch in 2014, the Funds Trust has been actively focusing on supporting key areas in building sustainable capacity and development capability by providing resources. Several complementary projects have been initiated under the Funds Trust.

  • Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4), which aids Ukraine in restructuring and modernizing its C4 systems and capabilities;
  • The Medical Rehabilitation program in Ukraine aims to enhance its medical system in order to provide sustainable long-term services to patients, including civilian personnel, women, and discharged or active Ukrainian servicemen, seeking support from the sector of security and defense.
  • The Professional Development Programme aids in enhancing the skills of civilians employed in Ukraine’s defense and security establishments.
  • Completed Trust Funds in Ukraine have also provided support for the standardization and logistics; cyber defense; restoration of land and safe disposal of radioactive waste; management of ammunition stockpile safety; destruction of anti-personnel landmines, conventional ammunition, and small arms and light weapons (SALW); countering improvised explosive devices (C-IED) and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD); as well as military career transition.

    Enhancing the Comprehensive Support Bundle.

    The CAP has obtained more than EUR 500 million from Allies and partners since the Madrid Summit. The enhanced CAP, which was agreed upon at the 2022 NATO Summit in Madrid, includes mechanisms to enhance NATO’s long-term assistance and initiatives to offer immediate, short-term, non-lethal military aid to Ukraine.

    Non-deadly support tailored to the urgent requirements of Ukraine.

    Through the Ukraine CAP Trust Fund, starting from February 2022, NATO has implemented initiatives that offer assistance in various fields, such as:

  • Combat rations,.
  • Fuel supplies (including aviation fuel),.
  • Army boots,.
  • Medical provisions (including emergency kits and medications),.
  • Military instruction and training apparatus.
  • Detectors and protection for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) hazards.
  • EOD equipment for handling explosive devices.
  • Anti-drone equipment, and.
  • Improved satellite communication.
  • Additional initiatives are in different phases of development and implementation, including:.

  • Additional assistance to Ukraine in the field of C4 (Command, Control, Communications and Computers).
  • Amphibious bridge and ferry systems,.
  • Shelters and power generators.
  • Mobile showers,.
  • Portable laundry facilities.
  • Food catering apparatus.
  • Emergency vehicles and fire engines.
  • Fuel vehicles and transport containers.
  • Water trucks,.
  • Tires,.
  • Batteries, and.
  • Winter clothing.
  • Ukraine insists that it is crucial for the NATO Allies to continue supporting them in their efforts to sustain and progress. In addition, the Allies are also offering significant humanitarian and financial aid, including hosting millions of refugees from all countries across the Alliance. The Allies have also intensified their support by helping Ukraine uphold its right to self-defense, through training, supplying weapons and equipment, and providing bilateral assistance. This assistance is being provided in parallel with NATO’s non-lethal provision.

    Continued assistance to Ukraine in the long run.

    At the Vilnius 2023 Allies Summit, it was agreed to further develop the CAP into a multi-year assistance program for Ukraine, based on predictable and sustained funding. This program will provide assistance to Ukraine in coping with the social and physical consequences of war, as well as in supporting coordinated medical and demining efforts. Additionally, NATO and Ukraine will also work together to assist Ukraine in rebuilding its defense and security sector, including providing assistance in aligning with NATO doctrines and training standards, as well as progressing towards full interoperability with NATO.

    The NATO Mission in Ukraine.

    The NATO Mission in Ukraine., established in September 2015 to oversee two already existing offices, supports cooperation on the ground. It consists of the NATO Information and Documentation Centre (NIDC) and the NATO Liaison Office (NLO).

    NATO Information and Documentation Centre (NIDC).

    The first information office established by NATO in partnership with a country in the public general was the Centre for Public Diplomacy, which is part of the NATO International Diplomatic Cooperation Division. The NIDC was inaugurated in Kyiv in 1997 to support efforts to inform the Ukrainian public about the benefits of Ukraine-NATO cooperation and NATO’s activities.

  • Raising awareness and comprehension of NATO in Ukraine;
  • Providing information to the Ukrainian public about important initiatives in the collaboration between NATO and Ukraine; and.
  • Offering guidance and assistance to Ukrainian organizations in the field of enhancing strategic communications capacity.
  • In order to facilitate NATO’s core mission in Ukraine, the NIDC supports various activities such as multimedia projects, conferences, seminars, roundtable discussions, and public diplomacy and communication projects.

    NATO Coordination Office (NCO).

    The NLO, which was established in Kyiv in 1999, plays a crucial role in advancing collaboration between NATO and Ukraine. Its main areas of concentration encompass:

  • Staying in touch with ministries and agencies in Ukraine;
  • The Ukrainian authorities provide advice on activities related to the support of NATO-Ukraine partnership, particularly in reforms and non-governmental organizations, the Parliament of Ukraine, the Security Service Council, the National Defence and Security Interior, and the Foreign Ministries of Defence Affairs.
  • Promoting NATO-Ukraine political and practical conversation; and facilitating interactions between NATO and Ukrainian civil and military officials and consultants.
  • The NATO Mission in Ukraine. leads on the provision of strategic-level advice under NATO’s Comprehensive Assistance Package for Ukraine.

    Development of NATO-Ukraine relations.

    NATO-Ukraine relations were officially established in 1991 when the newly independent nation became a member of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC), a platform for discussion and collaboration between NATO Allies and their former Warsaw Pact opponents. In 1994, Ukraine became a participant in the Partnership for Peace (PfP), a program that promotes practical cooperation between individual partner countries and NATO. Ukraine was also one of the original members of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), which replaced the NACC in May 1997.

    The Charter established the NATO-Ukraine Commission as the primary entity accountable for promoting relations between NATO and Ukraine. The July 1997 Charter on a Unique Partnership continues to serve as the fundamental basis supporting NATO-Ukraine relations. The Commission oversaw collaborative initiatives and served as a platform for dialogue between the Allies and Ukraine regarding security matters of shared interest.

    In line with Euro-Atlantic principles and standards, the sector of security and defense, human rights, the rule of law, the combat against corruption, and good governance are encompassed in the reforms concerning political and economic matters, defense and military matters, resources, security matters, and legal matters. The Annual National Programme (ANP), which represents Ukraine’s national reform goals and yearly implementation plans, is the primary tool to support this process. The ANP consists of five chapters that focus on: legal matters; security matters; resources; defense and military matters; and political and economic matters. The Declaration to Supplement the Charter, signed in 2009 as a follow-up to the decisions made at the 2008 NATO Summit in Bucharest, granted the Commission a central role in strengthening political dialogue and cooperation to support Ukraine’s reform endeavors relating to its aspirations for NATO membership in the Euro-Atlantic region.

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    Every year, allies evaluate the progress made under the ANP. Ukraine bears the main responsibility for implementing it. The Commission for Coordination of Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, led by the Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, guarantees the overall coordination of its implementation by the government bodies.

    The NATO-Ukraine Council held its first meeting on 12 July 2023 during the Vilnius Summit. In the Council format, the Secretary General and individual participants, including Ukraine, have the ability to convene crisis consultations. Ukraine, as an equal participant, sits alongside all NATO member states in the Council. The transition from the Commission to the Council symbolizes the deepening of political connections and Ukraine’s growing integration with NATO. The establishment of the NATO-Ukraine Council in 2023 replaced the NATO-Ukraine Commission.

    Wider cooperation.

    Since the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, cooperation between Ukraine and NATO has intensified in critical areas, with unprecedented levels of support from Allies and NATO set to begin in February 2022.

    The activities range widely from promoting reforms in Ukraine’s security and defense sector to building interoperability and capabilities with NATO, and the collaboration between Ukraine and NATO has been mutually beneficial over the years. However, practical cooperation between Ukraine and NATO has been ongoing since the 1990s and did not begin with partnership activities and support to Ukraine in 2014 or 2022.

    In addition, Ukraine has implemented programmes and initiatives in cooperation with NATO, as described above, through the projects funded by the CAP Ukraine Trust Fund.

  • The NATO-Ukraine Platform on Combating Hybrid Warfare.
  • The Team for Resilience Advisory Support.
  • The Planning and Review Process for the Partnership for Peace (PfP).
  • The NATO Building Integrity (BI) procedure and the yearly BI customized program,.
  • The NATO Defense Education Enhancement Program (DEEP).
  • The Air Situation Data Exchange program.
  • The Ukraine Work Plan with the Military Committee.
  • The Programme for Evaluating and Providing Feedback on Operational Capabilities.
  • The Programme for Peace and Security (PPS), and.
  • Numerous other initiatives organized through the advisory mission of the NATO Representation in Kyiv.
  • Moreover, collaboration has been arranged through various sub-groups of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, such as:.

  • The NATO-Ukraine Joint Working Group on Defense Reform (JWGDR),.
  • The JWGDTC, the Joint Working Group on Defense Technical Cooperation.
  • Ukraine has also offered assistance for NATO-led operations and missions, improving the compatibility of Ukrainian soldiers with NATO military forces.

    NATO-Ukraine Platform on Combating Hybrid Warfare.

    The Hybrid Warfare Countering Platform Ukraine-NATO, established at the NATO Summit in Warsaw in July 2016, serves as a mechanism to enhance resilience, counter disinformation, and strengthen the capacity to identify vulnerabilities in society and state. It not only focuses on ongoing consultations, expert training, and research support projects, but also addresses the use of cyber attacks. It is important to note that it was established not only in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, but also against the backdrop of the initial stages of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

    Resilience Support and Advisory Team (RSAT).

    The Centre for Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination (CEDRC) regularly participates in activities organized by NATO to exercise and prepare for multiple disaster responses. In early 2022, CEDRC hosted a full-scale exercise in Ukraine to enhance the country’s long-term civil preparedness and resilience. The exercise provided technical advice and consultations to Ukrainian institutions, drawing upon the recommendations of the Resilience Advisory Support Team (RAST). Since 2019, the RAST has focused on improving Ukraine’s national resilience, with a particular emphasis on protecting the civilian population and critical energy infrastructure. The RAST has also provided advice on crisis management measures and contingency plans for Ukraine. Additionally, experts have provided advice on Ukraine’s response to the destabilization in eastern Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia.

    Planning and Review Process for Partnership for Peace (PfP).

    The Process Review and Planning PfP has helped Ukraine in achieving its realistic yet ambitious objectives for enhancing Ukraine’s ability to conduct peace-support and crisis response operations, as well as improving the capability and transformation reforms of its forces to operate alongside partner and Allied forces.

    Integrity Building (BI) procedure.

    Since 2007, Ukraine has been participating in NATO’s Integrity Building Initiative (BI), which provides practical advice and assistance in strengthening transparency, accountability, and integrity in the security and defense sector. As part of this program, tailored activities are conducted to foster the development of individual capacities and enhance the organizational culture of institutions in the defense and security sectors. The program also aims to improve the management and governance of defense resources, including human, financial, and materiel aspects. To pursue sustainable anti-corruption reforms and enhance good governance, sectoral policy-level recommendations are offered based on a thorough assessment of institutional needs and vulnerabilities. In October 2019, Ukraine’s security and defense sector completed the Peer Review and Self-Assessment Process conducted by NATO’s BI, which provided specific expertise to enhance the good governance and management of defense institutions.

    Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP).

    The Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP) has played a crucial role in enhancing and restructuring Ukraine’s military education and professional training systems. It has specifically focused on eight defence higher education institutions and five training centres for Non-Commissioned Officers. DEEP has provided guidance and support in the development of decision-making processes, leadership courses, and faculty training, thereby improving the management of universities and academies.

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    Air Situation Data Exchange program.

    NATO is providing the utmost pertinent information, as it has been closely collaborating with Ukraine. Since February 2022, in response to Russia’s continued incursion into Ukrainian territory, this capability has become especially operationally significant and advantageous. Aircraft are recognized, categorized, and potentially resolved through the reciprocal exchange of air situation data, which enhances consciousness and aviation safety and enhances the operational efficiency of air defense. Ukraine became a member of the Air Situation Data Exchange program in July 2006.

    Ukraine Work Plan with the Military Committee.

    The Work Plan of the Military Committee of Ukraine focuses on participating in a wide range of military exercises and activities, which contributes significantly to the ongoing reforms of defence and security and also improves the operational capabilities and interoperability of Ukraine’s armed forces.

    NATO Operational Capabilities Concept Evaluation and Feedback Program.

    The Programme for Feedback and Evaluation, as well as the Operational Concept Capabilities, supports the further development of the armed forces by enabling the NATO Alliance to deploy tailored force packages in support of NATO-led operations and missions, while also facilitating Ukraine’s active participation.

    Programme for Peace and Security in Science (SPS).

    Since 1991, the Joint Working Group on Environmental and Scientific Cooperation has played a crucial role in identifying priority areas for practical scientific cooperation within the framework of the SPS Programme. In addition, this cooperation has significantly strengthened crisis response capabilities in the field of civil security, particularly in relation to CBRN agents, nuclear and radiological threats, biological and chemical defense, counter-terrorism, and advanced technology. It is worth noting that Ukraine has emerged as the largest beneficiary of this cooperation within the SPS Programme, with a particular focus on security, environmental, and energy-related areas. Furthermore, Ukraine’s participation in the DEXTER Programme is notable, as it involves the development of an integrated system to detect firearms and explosives in public spaces.

    Other initiatives.

    In addition to the above-mentioned programs, Ukraine has participated in many other initiatives organized through its representation in NATO’s advisory mission.

  • NATO backs Ukraine in the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 regarding Women, Peace, and Security.
  • The Strategic Airlift Agreement (approved in October 2006), the Host Nation Support Agreement (approved in March 2004), and the Partnership for Peace (PfP) Status of Forces Agreement (became effective in May 2000) have been established to facilitate NATO and Ukraine in advancing their operational collaboration.
  • Sweden, Jordan, Georgia, and Australia are the additional EOPs. Ukraine receives situational awareness, information sharing, training, and exercises, including the use of NATO’s interoperability toolbox, through its EOP status, which acts as a facilitator. The participation in NATO’s Partnership Interoperability Initiative has greatly contributed to other Alliance goals and NATO operations, leading to Ukraine being designated as an Enhanced Opportunity Partner (EOP) in June 2020.
  • Ukraine has also developed capability and interoperability by taking part in the NATO Response Force.
  • The JWGDR (Joint Working Group on Defence Reform) between NATO and Ukraine.

    Collaboration in the realm of defense and the restructuring of the security sector, between NATO and Ukraine, surpasses that of any other partnering nation. This cooperative domain takes precedence for the NATO-Ukraine Joint Working Group on Defense Reform (JWGDR).

    The Joint Working Group on Democratic Relations between Civil-Military pursues initiatives in the area of civil-military relations, under the auspices of Ukraine-NATO Commission, established in 1998. These initiatives focus on the development planning, management, and oversight of national security and defense agencies, as well as the civilian and democratic oversight of the armed forces and other security sector organizations.

    The Joint Working Group on Defence Reform (JWGDR) serves as a tool through which Ukraine can draw on the considerable expertise and experience of Allied countries. It also provides the institutional basis for cooperation with NATO in the implementation of defense and reform efforts, involving agencies and ministries engaged in the sector. The JWGDR also facilitates the channeling of assistance from Allies to Ukraine.

    The Joint Working Group on Defense Reform (JWGDR) extends invitations to partner nations and representatives from civil society on an individual basis, with participation from all NATO member countries and Ukraine in JWGDR meetings.

    The JWGDTC (Joint Working Group on Defence Technical Cooperation) between NATO and Ukraine.

    Ukraine’s efforts to reform its defense industry are being discussed, including its cooperation with the NATO Science and Technology Organization, the National Armaments Directors Conference of NATO, and the Joint Working Group on Defence Technology Cooperation. This cooperation also includes the management of the life cycle and logistics codification standardization. The development of technical standards and the procurement processes of defense equipment are also part of this cooperation, which has been working towards increased capability development since 2004.

    Assistance for operations and missions led by NATO.

    Ukraine has contributed to peace-support operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Additionally, it has also contributed to KFOR (Kosovo Force) with a heavy engineering unit equipped with capabilities to counter-improvised explosive devices.

    The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) provided support to the Mission Support Resolute from 2015 to 2021, following the end of ISAF’s mission in Afghanistan in 2014. They assisted and advised the Afghan security forces, trained personnel in reconstruction and provincial support, and provided medical assistance. NATO instructors contributed to the Mission Training in Afghanistan and assisted in the Afghan Mission Assistance Security. They also facilitated the transit and clearance of supplies and allowed over-flight from Ukraine to Afghanistan, with the support of the International Security Assistance Force.

    Starting in March 2005, Ukraine provided personnel to the NATO Training Mission in Iraq, which came to an end in December 2011.

    Ukraine has been sharing information to assist NATO’s understanding of the maritime situation in the Black Sea region ever since the initiation of maritime operation Sea Guardian in 2016. Furthermore, Ukraine participated in NATO’s anti-piracy operation Ocean Shield in 2013. In the Mediterranean Sea, Ukraine dispatched its vessels on six occasions from 2007 to 2010 to support Operation Active Endeavour, a maritime surveillance operation focused on counter-terrorism.

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