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Relations between Ukraine and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) started in 1994. Ukraine applied to join the NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) in 2008. On December 3, 2008 NATO decided it will work out an Annual National Programme of providing assistance to Ukraine to implement reforms required to accede the alliance without referring to MAP. Plans for Ukrainian membership to NATO were shelved by Ukraine following the 2010 Ukrainian presidential election in which Viktor Yanukovych was elected President. President Yanukovych opted to keep Ukraine a non-aligned state. This materialized on June 3, 2010 when the Ukrainian parliament excluded, with 226 votes, the goal of "integration into Euro-Atlantic security and NATO membership" from the country's national security strategy. "European integration" is still part of Ukraine's national security strategy and co-operation with NATO was not excluded. Ukraine considers its relations with NATO as a partnership. Ukraine and NATO still hold joint seminars and joint tactical and strategical exercises and operations.
According to numerous independent polls conducted over the past few years, Ukrainian public opinion on NATO membership is low. A 2009 Gallup poll asked Ukrainians whether they saw NATO as a threat or protection for Ukraine; 40% saw NATO as a threat, 17% saw NATO as protection, and 33% saw NATO as neither. However, since the 2014 pro-Russian conflict in Ukraine, public support for Ukrainian membership in NATO has risen greatly. As of June 2014, nearly 50% of those asked voice support.
Russia's reactions to the 2008 plan of the (then) Ukrainian Government to join MAP were hostile. A NATO spokesman said that despite Russian reactions towards NATO's eastward expansion the alliance's door remained open to those who met the criteria. Objections to Ukrainian membership in NATO include the nature of the decision as a departure from the original purpose of the alliance, political instability in Ukraine, the difficulty of defending Ukraine militarily, and the absence of a clear NATO interest in defending Ukraine.
- 1 History of relations
- 2 Popular opinion in Ukraine
- 3 Russian resistance to Ukrainian NATO membership
- 4 See also
- 5 References and footnotes
- 6 External links
History of relations
Relations officially began when Ukraine became the first CIS country to enter NATO's Partnership for Peace program in February 1994. In the summer of 1995 NATO stepped up to help to mitigate consequences of the Kharkiv Drinking Water Disaster. This was the first cooperation between NATO and Ukraine. On May 7, 1997 the first-ever official NATO Information and Documentation Center opened in Kiev, aimed to foster transparency about the alliance. A Ukrainian public opinion poll of May 6 showed 37% in favor of joining NATO with 28% opposed and 34% undecided. On July 9, 1997, a NATO-Ukraine Commission was established. In 2002 relations with the governments of the United States and other NATO countries deteriorated after one of the recordings made during the Cassette Scandal revealed an alleged transfer of a sophisticated Ukrainian defense system to Saddam Hussein's Iraq. At the NATO enlargement summit in November 2002, the NATO–Ukraine commission adopted a Ukraine–NATO Action Plan. President Kuchma's declaration that Ukraine wanted to join NATO (also in 2002) and the sending of Ukrainian troops to Iraq in 2003 could not mend relations between Kuchma and NATO. Currently, the Ukrainian Armed Forces are working with NATO in Iraq.
After the Orange Revolution in 2004 Kuchma was replaced by President Viktor Yushchenko who is a keen supporter of Ukraine's NATO membership. In January 2008 the second Yulia Tymoshenko cabinet's proposal for Ukraine to join NATO's Membership Action Plan was met with opposition. A petition of over 2 million signatures has called for a referendum on Ukraine's membership proposal to join NATO. The opposition have called for a national referendum to be held on any steps towards further involvement with NATO. In February 2008 57.8% of Ukrainians supported the idea of a national referendum on joining NATO, against 38.6% in February 2007.
Ukrainian governments proposal to join the NATO Membership Action Plan
On January 16, 2008 United States Senator Richard Lugar announced: "Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Parliamentary Chairman Arseniy Yatsenyuk have signed the statement calling for consideration on Ukraine's entry into the NATO membership action plan at the Bucharest summit."
The Ukrainian parliament headed by chairman Arseniy Yatsenyuk was unable to hold its regular parliamentary session following the decision of the Parliamentary Opposition to prevent the parliament from functioning in a protest against joining NATO. The parliament was blocked from January 25, 2008  till March 4, 2008 (at 29 February 2008 factions leaders agreed on a protocol of mutual understanding). US President George W. Bush and both nominees for President of the United States in the 2008 election, U.S. senator Barack Obama and U.S. senator John McCain, did offer backing to Ukraine's membership of NATO. Russian reactions were negative.
2008 Bucharest summit
2008 Bucharest summit aftermath
In November 2008 Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime-Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and former Ukrainian minister of defence Anatolii Hrytsenko doubted Ukraine would be granted membership of MAP in December 2008. In a Times of London interview in late November, President Yushchenko stated : "Ukraine has done everything it had to do. We are devoted to this pace. Everything else is an issue of political will of those allies who represent NATO." Although NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary-General Aurelia Bouchez  and NATO's Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer still supported Ukraine's NATO bid at the time the Bush administration seemed not to push for Georgian and Ukrainian membership of MAP late November 2008. President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev responded that "reason has prevailed".
On December 3, 2008 NATO decided it will work out an Annual National Programme of providing assistance to Ukraine to implement reforms required to accede the alliance without referring to MAP. Foreign Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Ohryzko interpreted this as a de facto obtaining of the NATO Membership Action Plan. On February 18, 2009 the Ukrainian Parliament approved by 239 votes (only 226 votes were required for their approval) the creation of a NATO information and documentation center in Ukraine and the appointment of NATO communications officers in Ukraine.
Candidate during the 2010 presidential election and Party of Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych stated during 2010 presidential election-campaign that the current level of Ukraine's cooperation with NATO was sufficient and that the question of the country's accession to the alliance was therefore not urgent.
Following the election, newly elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych stated on February 14, 2010 that Ukraine's relations with NATO were currently "well-defined", and that there was "no question of Ukraine joining NATO". He said the issue of Ukrainian membership of NATO might "emerge at some point, but we will not see it in the immediate future."
On March 1, 2010 during his visit to Brussels, Yanukovych stated that there would be no change to Ukraine's status as a member of the alliance's outreach program. He later reiterated during a trip to Moscow that Ukraine would remain a "European, non-aligned state."
(As of May 2010) NATO and Ukraine continue to cooperate in the frame of the Annual National Program, including joint exercises. According to Ukraine the continuation of Ukraine-NATO cooperation does not exclude the development of a strategic partnership with Russia.
On May 27, 2010 Yanukovych stated he Ukraine considered Ukraine's relations with NATO as a partnership, "And Ukraine can't live without this [partnership], because Ukraine is a large country".
On June 3, 2010 the Ukrainian parliament excluded, with 226 votes, the goal of "integration into Euro-Atlantic security and NATO membership" from the country's national security strategy in a bill drafted by President Yanukovych himself. The bill forbids Ukraine's membership of any military bloc, but allows for co-operation with alliances such as NATO. "European integration" is still part of Ukraine's national security strategy.
- Involvement of Ukrainian aviation and transport material in the transportation of cargo and personnel of the armed forces of NATO's member states and partners participating in NATO-led peacekeeping missions and operations
- The continuation of Ukraine's participation in a peacekeeping operation in Kosovo
- Possible reinforcing of Ukraine's peacekeeping contingents in Afghanistan and Iraq
- Ukraine's participation in a number of international events organized by NATO
- Training of Ukrainian troops in the structures of NATO members
Ukraine and NATO have held joint seminars and joint tactical and strategical exercises and operations since June 2010.
Euromaidan and beyond
Yanukovich fled Ukraine amid the Euromaidan uprising in February 2014. As a result of this revolution, the interim Yatsenyuk Government came to power in Ukraine. The Yatsenyuk Government has stated it does not have the intention of making Ukraine a member of NATO.
NATO officials vowed support for Ukraine and worked to downplay tensions between the bloc and Russia, which refused to recognize the impeachment of Yanukovich and (neither) the Yatsenyuk Government. Late February 2014 Anders Fogh Rasmussen reaffirmed NATO membership is still an option for Ukraine.
Popular opinion in Ukraine
|2002 Razumkov Centre||32%||32.2%||-|
|2004 University of Sussex||30%||40%||2%|
|April 2009 FOM-Ukraine||21%||57%||9%|
|November 2009 Ukrainian Project System||12.5%||-||8.5%|
|December 2009 Democratic Initiative Foundation||21%||60%||8.5%|
|January 2011 RATING||24%||70%||3%|
|February 2012 RATING||20%||70%||4%|
|July 2012 RATING||17%||70%||3%|
|December 2012 Democratic Initiatives Foundation & Razumkov Center||15%||60%||2%|
|March 2014 GfK Ukraine||44%||47%||29%|
|(Late) April 2014 Razumkov Center||36.7%||41.6%||7.3%|
|May 2014 Democratic Initiative Foundation||41%||40%||4.3%|
|June 2014 Gorshenin Institute||47.3%||36.2%||6.3%|
A Gallup poll conducted in October 2008 showed that 45% of Ukrainians associated NATO as a threat to their country, while only 15% associated it with protection. A November 2009 poll by Ukrainian Project System relieved 40.1% of Ukrainians polled said the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) was the best global security group for Ukraine to be a part of and 33.9% of the respondents supported Ukraine's full membership in CSTO; more than 36% of the respondents of the poll said that Ukraine should remain neutral and only 12.5% supported Ukraine's accession to NATO. A 2009 Gallup poll showed that 40% of Ukrainian adults associate NATO with "Threat" and 17% with "Protection". According to a poll by Razumkov Center in March 2011 20.6% on average across Ukraine considered NATO a threat; this number was 51% in Crimea. A 2013 Gallup poll showed that 29% associated NATO with "Threat" and 17% with "Protection"; 44% viewed it as neither.
Russian resistance to Ukrainian NATO membership
Neighbouring Russia is strongly opposed to any eastward expansion of NATO. On February 12, 2008 (then) Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia may target its missiles at Ukraine if its neighbour joins NATO and accepts the deployment of a US missile defence shield. Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has stated more than once his country would not allow foreign military bases on its territory; as of December 2009 NATO is not planning to deploy military bases in Ukraine.
During a NATO conference in Hungarian parliament on 20 November 2008 Deputy Assistant Secretary-General Aurelia Bouchez said: "We should not make a choice between NATO enlargement and Russia as we need both" and NATO's Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told a conference in Spain twelve days later: "The emergence of independent states within the former Soviet space is a reality. The ability of these states to determine their own future is a litmus test for the new Europe. Do we have to choose between good relations with Russia and further enlargement? My answer is no - we will not choose, will not sacrifice one for the other. It would bring new dividing lines."
- Enlargement of NATO
- 2006 anti-NATO protests in Feodosiya
- Georgia–NATO relations
- Ukraine–European Union relations
References and footnotes
- Signatures of Partnership for Peace Framework Document.
- CNN | U.S. wins NATO backing for missile defense shield[dead link]
- Rice, Kouchner, comment NATO Ministerial's decision, UNIAN (03-12-2008)]
- NATO To Work Out National Programme Of Assistance To Ukraine For Acceding Alliance, Ukrainian News Agency (December 3, 2008)]
- Ukraine makes it official: Nation will abandon plans to join NATO, Kyiv Post (May 28, 2010)
- Yanukovych opens door to Russian navy keeping base in Ukraine GlobalSecurity.org Retrieved on March 09, 2010
- Ukraine drops NATO membership bid, EUobserver (June 6, 2010)
- Yanukovych: Ukraine currently not ready to join NATO, Kyiv Post (May 27, 2010)
- Yanukovych: Ukraine positively evaluates level of relations with NATO, Kyiv Post (September 21, 2011)
- Ukraine, NATO to hold security exercises during Euro 2012, Kyiv Post (26 March 2012)
Yanukovych signs decree on Ukraine-NATO annual cooperation programs, Interfax-Ukraine (12 June 2013)
Military manoeuvres in Ukraine, Euronews (4 August 2011)
Thys, John (22 February 2013). "Ukraine Joins NATO's Counter-Piracy Operation". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- Yanukovych approves program of Ukraine-NATO cooperation for 2012, Kyiv Post (20 April 2012)
- Razumkov Centre poll Retrieved on August 26, 2009
- "Ukraine leftists meet NATO envoys with burning U.S. flag". RIA Novosti. 2008-06-17. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
- Khrestin, Igor (2008-08-18). "Politics as usual". UNIAN. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
- Kupchinsky, Roman (2008-09-10). "Surprising and Contradictory Opinions on the Ukrainian Streets". Eurasia Daily Monitor (Jamestown foundation). Retrieved 2008-09-21.[dead link][dead link]
- NATO military exercise begins in Ukraine Retrieved on September 20, 2008
- "Half of Ukrainians opposed to Ukraine's membership of NATO, poll indicates". Interfax. 2008-02-11. Retrieved 2008-09-15.[dead link]
- Ukrainians Likely Support Move Away From NATO, Gallup (April 2, 2010)
- Afghanistan, Russia top challenges for new NATO head, Reuters (July 30, 2009)
- ""Ukraine in NATO? The Case Against" ''Nowa Ukraina'' Issue No. 11. 2011" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- Signatures of Partnership for Peace Framework Document.
- Serhy Yekelchyk "Ukraine: Birth of a Modern Nation", Oxford University Press (2007), ISBN 978-0-19-530546-3
- Gerald B. H. Solomon, Center for Strategic and International Studies. The NATO enlargement debate, 1990-1997, 1998, p. 120
- Solomon, Center for Strategic and International Studies, p. 121
- NATO-Ukraine Commission
- "Armed Forces of Ukraine, Ukrainian peacekeeping personnel as a part of Multinational forces in Iraq (from Dec 2005) and NATO Training Mission in Iraq (NTM-I) (from Feb 2006)". Mil.gov.ua. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- "Europe | Medvedev warns on Nato expansion". BBC News. 2008-03-25. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- Half of Ukrainians opposed to Ukraine's membership of NATO, poll indicates - Interfax Ukraine[dead link]
- "Ukraine asks to join NATO membership action plan : Ukraine News by UNIAN". Unian.net. 2008-01-16. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- "Party of Regions blocks rostrum in parliament : Ukraine News by UNIAN". Unian.net. 2008-01-25. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- "Verkhovna Rada to resume work on Tuesday – Yatseniuk : Ukraine News by UNIAN". Unian.net. 2008-02-29. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- "Bush to back Ukraine's Nato hopes". BBC News. April 1, 2008. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
- Obama Statement on Ukraine's Commitment to Join NATO | U.S. Senator Barack Obama
- "McCain Backs Tougher Line Against Russia - March 27, 2008 - The New York Sun". Nysun.com. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- "Nato denies Georgia and Ukraine". BBC News. April 3, 2008. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
- "At key time, French resist NATO membership for Ukraine, Georgia". Kyiv Post. November 30, 2010. Retrieved November 30, 2010.
- "Ukranian News". Ukranews.com. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- "European media publish interviews with President Yushchenko : UNIAN news". Unian.net. 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- During a NATO conference in Hungarian parliament on 20 November she said:"We should not make a choice between NATO enlargement and Russia as we need both" 
- He told a conference in Spain: "The emergence of independent states within the former Soviet space is a reality. The ability of these states to determine their own future is a litmus test for the new Europe. Do we have to choose between good relations with Russia and further enlargement? My answer is no - we will not choose, will not sacrifice one for the other. It would bring new dividing lines."
- Condoleezza Rice told a press conference, "We believe that the NATO-Georgia Commission and the NATO-Ukraine Commission can be the bodies with which we intensify our dialogue and our activities. And, therefore, there does not need at this point in time to be any discussion of MAP."
- "Russia happy US dropped push for new NATO members : UNIAN news". Unian.net. 2008-11-28. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- Ohryzko Takes NATO Decision To Develop National Programme Of Assistance To Ukraine For Entering Alliance As De Facto Obtaining MAP, Ukrainian News Agency (December 3, 2008)
- Rada Ratifies Additional Protocols To Memorandum Of Mutual Understanding Between Cabinet Of Ministers And NATO, Ukrainian News Agency (February 18, 2009)
- NATO providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Interfax-Ukraine (November 3, 2009)
- NATO-Ukraine consultations to take place in Brussels, RIA Novosti (November 16, 2009)
- NATO Secretary General says Annual National Program is important step on Ukraine's path to membership in Alliance, Interfax-Ukraine (November 16, 2009)
- "Europe or Russia? Whom will Ukraine Choose?". The World Reporter. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
- Yanukovych describes current level of Ukraine's cooperation with NATO as sufficient, Interfax-Ukraine (January 12, 2010)
- Ukraine's Yanukovych: EU ties a 'key priority', Kyiv Post (March 1, 2010)
- Ukraine vows new page in ties with Russia Retrieved on March 09, 2010
- NATO considers Ukraine's behavior 'unprecedented', Kyiv Post (May 25, 2010)
- NATO: Euro-Atlantic prospects a sovereign right of Ukraine, Kyiv Post (May 26, 2010)
- Havrysh: Ukraine-NATO cooperation not excluding strategic partnership between Moscow, Kyiv, Kyiv Post (May 26, 2010)
- Ukraine's parliament votes to abandon Nato ambitions, BBC News (June 3, 2010)
- Cabinet approves action plan for annual national program of cooperation with NATO in 2010, Kyiv Post (June 24, 2010)
- Maidan nominates Yatseniuk for prime minister, Interfax-Ukraine (26 February 2014)
Ukrainian parliament endorses new cabinet, Interfax-Ukraine (27 February 2014)
- Deschytsia states new government of Ukraine has no intention to join NATO, Interfax-Ukraine (29 March 2014)
- "NATO commander plays down tension with Russia over Ukraine". Reuters. 27 February 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
- "Door to NATO remains open for Ukraine". Euronews. 26 February 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
- [http://www.razumkov.org.ua/additional/article_pashkov_chaly_NSD32_eng.pdf NATO-Ukraine relations In the public focus], Razumkov Centre, 17-25 June 2002 (page 55)
- ELECTION BRIEFING NO. 16 - EUROPE AND THE UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 2004, European Parties Elections and Referendums Network/University of Sussex
- Europe or Russia? Whom will Ukraine Choose?, The World Reporter (21 October 2011)
- FOM-Ukraine April 2009 survey, FOM-Ukraine, Retrieved on 4 June 2009
- Poll: over 40 percent of Ukrainians prefer Collective Security Treaty Organization , 12.5 percent favor NATO, Kyiv Post (November 26, 2009)
- Ukrainians want to enter EU, not NATO, poll shows, RIA Novosti (2 March 2010)
- The language question, the results of recent research in 2012, RATING (25 May 2012)
- Poll: Almost half of Ukrainians back Ukraine's accession to EU, Kyiv Post (10 January 2012)(Ukrainian) Майже половина українців хочуть в ЄС, трохи менше - в Митний союз Almost half of Ukrainian want the EU, a little less - the Customs Union, Ukrayinska Pravda (10 January 2013)
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(Ukrainian) "1 +1" researched Ukrainian sentiment towards the EU, NATO, Russia, and Ukraine's new government, GfK Ukraine (22 March 2014)
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- (Ukrainian) The attitude of citizens to join NATO and other security, Democratic Initiative Foundation (1 July 2014)
- Over 60% of Ukrainians want accession to EU, Ukrinform (17 June 2014)
(Ukrainian) Because of Russia almost half of all Ukrainians want to join NATO, Ukrayinska Pravda (17 June 2014)
- Endgame in NATO's Enlargement: The Baltic States and Ukraine by Yaroslav Bilinsky, 1999, Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-275-96363-2/ISBN 978-0-275-96363-7, page 25
- Before Crisis, Ukrainians More Likely to See NATO as a Threat, Gallup (14 March 2014)
- Ukrainians May Oppose President’s Pro-Western Goals Gallup Retrieved on August 26, 2009
- Poll: Most Crimean residents consider Ukraine their motherland, Kyiv Post (11 April 2011)
- "Europe | Bush backs Ukraine on Nato bid". BBC News. 2008-04-01. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- Ukraine Says 'No' to NATO, Pew Research Center (29 March 2010)
- "Russia in Ukraine missile threat". BBC News. February 12, 2008. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
- Ukraine says ‘no’ to foreign bases, Russia Today (June 16, 2008)
- Ukraine's territory will never be used against Russia, says Yuschenko, Interfax-Ukraine (July 6, 2009)
- NATO not planning to deploy military bases in Ukraine, Kyiv Post (December 16, 2009)
- (Ukrainian) The Imperial complex of Russians, Ukrayinska Pravda (July 3, 2008)
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