NATO’s relations with Ukraine

  • Last updated: 06 May. 2015 09:43

The Allies believe that a sovereign, independent and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to Euro-Atlantic security. Relations date back to the early 1990s and have since developed into one of the most substantive of NATO’s partnerships. Since 2014, in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, cooperation has been intensified in critical areas.

The Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

Highlights

  • 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.
  • Cooperation has deepened over time and is mutually beneficial with Ukraine being the only partner to have contributed actively to all 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.

More background information

  • Response to the Russia-Ukraine conflict

    Following Russia’s military escalation in Crimea and with its independence and territorial integrity under threat, Ukraine invoked Article 14 of the NATO-Ukraine Charter and requested a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, which took place on 2 March 2014. The Allies condemned Russia’s military action against Ukraine as a breach of international law, which also contravenes the principles of the NATO-Russia Council and the Partnership for Peace.

    On 5 March, the NATO-Russia Council met to discuss the crisis. Russia’s continued escalation of the crisis prevented any progress on the issue. Therefore, on 1 April 2014 NATO foreign ministers decided to suspend all practical civilian and military cooperation with Russia, but to maintain political contacts at the level of ambassadors and above, to allow NATO and Russia to exchange views, first and foremost on this crisis.

    In response to Russia’s illegal and illegitimate “annexation” of Crimea on 18 March 2014 and the violence and insecurity in eastern Ukraine caused by Russia and Russian-backed separatists, the Allies have continued to express their full support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.

    In April 2014, 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 NATO’s Summit in Wales in September 2014, Allied leaders met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in the NATO-Ukraine Commission. In a joint statement, they condemned Russia’s “annexation” of Crimea and its continued and deliberate destabilisation of eastern Ukraine in violation of international law.  The Allies pledged to support the efforts of the Ukrainian government to pursue a political path that meets the aspirations of the people in all regions of Ukraine without external interference. They also agreed a comprehensive and tailored package of measures to help Ukraine better provide for its security.

    Existing cooperation in the defence and security sector is being reinforced through capability development and capacity-building programmes. Trust Funds – a mechanism which allows individual Allies and partner countries to provide financial support on a voluntary basis – have been set up to support the launch of substantial new initiatives in five critical areas, including:

    • Command, control, communications and computers (C4) – to support the modernisation of Ukraine’s  structures and capabilities, both to enhance the country’s ability to provide for its own security and to contribute to NATO-led exercises and operations;
    • Logistics and standardization – to help reform Ukraine’s logistic system and increase its interoperability with NATO, notably through the adoption of NATO standards for the tracking and management of national military equipment and supplies;
    • Cyber defence – to help Ukraine develop technical capabilities to counter cyber threats, provide training and advice on policy development;
    • Military career transition – to assist Ukraine’s defence ministry with the development of a sustainable and effective resettlement programme for military personnel returning to civilian life (this builds on existing NATO-sponsored retraining activities);
    • Medical rehabilitation – to ensure that injured Ukrainian servicemen and women have access to appropriate rehabilitation services and that local Ukrainian medical centres have the equipment required and that staff receive specialised training.

    NATO is also providing advisory and financial support in the area of public diplomacy, media relations and strategic communications.

    Moreover, the Allies have reinforced their advisory presence at the NATO offices in Kyiv.

    (For more information on NATO’s practical support to Ukraine, see fact sheet)

  • Key areas of NATO-Ukraine cooperation

    Consultations and cooperation between NATO and Ukraine cover a wide range of areas including peace-support operations, defence and security sector reform, military-to-military cooperation, armaments, civil emergency planning, science and environment, and public diplomacy. Cooperation in many areas is being intensified to enhance Ukraine’s ability to provide for its own security in the wake of the conflict with Russia.

    Peace-support operations

    Ukraine has long been an active contributor to Euro-Atlantic security by deploying troops that work with peacekeepers from NATO and other partner countries. It is the only partner country that has contributed, at one stage or other, to all ongoing NATO-led operations and missions.

    Ukraine has supported NATO-led peace-support operations in the Balkans – both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. Ukraine continues to contribute to the Kosovo Force (KFOR), currently with a Heavy Engineer Platoon, as part of the joint Polish-Ukrainian battalion in the Multinational Task Force “East”.

    The country supported the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, with over-flight clearance, and allowed for the transit of supplies for forces deployed there. Ukraine also contributed medical personnel to support Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan and instructors to the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan. Following the completion of ISAF’s mission at the end of 2014, Ukraine is currently supporting the NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces, known as the Resolute Support mission.

    From March 2005, Ukraine contributed officers to the NATO Training Mission in Iraq, which terminated in December 2011.

    Ukraine has deployed ships in support of Operation Active Endeavour – NATO’s maritime operation in the Mediterranean aiming to helping deter, disrupt and protect against terrorism – six times since 2007, most recently in November 2010. At the end of 2013, it also contributed a frigate to NATO’s Operation Ocean Shield, which fights piracy off the coast of Somalia.

    Ukraine is also the first partner country to have contributed to the NATO Response Force (NRF), contributing a platoon specialised in nuclear, biological and chemical threats in 2011 and strategic airlift capabilities in 2011.

    Defence and security sector reform

    Ukraine’s cooperation with NATO in the area of defence and security sector reform is crucial to the ongoing transformation of Ukraine’s security posture and remains an essential part of its democratic transition.

    Ukraine has sought NATO’s support in efforts to transform its Cold War legacy of massive conscript forces into smaller, professional and more mobile armed forces, able to meet the country’s security needs and to contribute actively to stability and security in the Euro-Atlantic area and beyond. Another overarching objective of NATO-Ukraine cooperation in this area is to strengthen democratic and civil control of Ukraine’s armed forces and security institutions.

    NATO supports Ukraine’s defence and related security sector reform through the Joint Working Group on Defence Reform (JWGDR) and the Partnership for Peace (PfP) Planning and Review Process (PARP) mechanism. It assists Ukraine in the modernisation of its force structure, command and control arrangements, defence capabilities and plans and procedures. Allies also contribute to the transformation of Ukraine’s defence and security institutions into modern and effective organisations under civil and democratic control, able to provide a credible deterrence to aggression and defence against military threats.

    • Capacity-building and civil control 
      NATO programmes and initiatives contribute to specific aspects of strengthening civil control over defence and related security institutions, including in the intelligence sector. Improving the capacity of these institutions is of fundamental importance for Ukraine’s development as a democratic country. As part of wider cooperation in this area, a number of specific initiatives have been taken:
      • A JWGDR Professional Development Programme (PDP) for civilians working in Ukraine’s defence and security institutions was launched in October 2005. The budget for this programme was doubled in 2014, with a focus on supporting transformation and reform processes by introducing NATO standards and best practices to defence and security sector, building Ukraine’s own self-sustained capacity for professional development, and improving inter-agency cooperation and information-sharing.
      • A Partnership Network for Civil Society Expertise Development was launched in 2006 to promote the sharing of experience on the role of civil society in defence and security affairs among civil society groups and security practitioners in NATO member countries and Ukraine.
      • Since 2007, Ukraine has participated in the NATO Building Integrity Programme. Civilian and military officers have participated in education and training activities to strengthen capabilities and learn best practices which strengthen transparency, integrity and accountability in the defence and security sector, and reducing the risk of corruption. The participation of Ukrainian civil servants and military officers in such activities tripled in 2014. A specifically tailored programme to raise awareness of corruption as a security threat and to strengthen the management of financial and human resources is being taken forward in 2015-2017.
      • Expert talks with security sector institutions have been launched in the area of cyber defence, with the aim of enhancing inter-agency cooperation and coordination, as well as supporting the development of Ukraine’s national cyber security strategy.
    •  Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP)
      NATO developed a DEEP programme with Ukraine in response to a request from the Ukrainian Defence Minister in 2012. The programme is the biggest of its kind with any of NATO’s partner countries. It is designed to help improve and restructure the military education and professional training systems, with specific focus on eight main defence education institutions in Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, Odessa and Zhitomir. The programme has two main elements: the development of teaching methods ("faculty development" for teaching staff) and curriculum development. Additionally, a high-level advisory team is supporting the Defence Ministry’s efforts to reform the military educational system.
    • Retraining and resettling former military personnel
      Various initiatives are underway to help Ukraine retrain and resettle former military personnel made redundant as a result of the progressive downsizing of the Ukrainian armed forces.  NATO support for resettlement initiatives has been boosted in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict (see above).
    • Destroying stockpiles of weapons and munitions
      Individual Allies are supporting the destruction of Ukraine’s stockpiles of anti-personnel mines, munitions and small arms and light weapons through Partnership Trust Fund projects. A first project involved the safe destruction of 400,000 landmines at a chemical plant in Donetsk in 2002-2003. A second project to destroy 133,000 tons of conventional munitions, 1.5 million small arms and 1000 man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS) was launched in 2005. With projected costs of some €25 million, the project is to be carried out over an estimated 12 years. It is the largest demilitarization project of its kind ever to be undertaken, and will permanently increase Ukraine's capacity to destroy surplus munitions.
    • Air situation Data Exchange (ASDE)
      Ukraine joined the ASDE programme in July 2006. Through the exchange of filtered air situation information it reduces the risk of potential cross-border incidents and optimises responses to terrorist attacks using civil airplanes. Connections between NATO and Ukraine have been in operation via Hungary since end 2008 and via Turkey since mid 2011. Following the Russia-Ukraine crisis, air data information provided by NATO has been extended to cover a larger area.
    • Economic aspects of defence
      Dialogue and exchanges of experience with experts take place with Ukraine on the economic aspects of defence. Issues covered include security aspects of economic development and economic matters, as well as topics specifically related to defence economics such as defence budgets, the management of defence resources and restructuring in the defence sector. Courses are also organised for Ukrainian staff, covering the whole budgetary process from financial planning to financial control.

    Military-to-military cooperation

    Helping Ukraine implement its defence reform objectives is also a key focus of military-to-military cooperation, complementing the work carried out under the JWGDR with military expertise.

    Another important objective is to develop operational capabilities and interoperability with NATO forces through a wide range of activities and military exercises organised under the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme and sometimes hosted by Ukraine. These exercises allow military personnel to train for peace-support operations and gain hands-on experience of working with forces from NATO countries and other partners. Ukraine also recently joined a new initiative – the Partnership Interoperability Initiative – launched at the 2014 Wales Summit. It aims to maintain the levels of interoperability developed by international forces during the NATO-led operation in Afghanistan which completed its mission in December 2014.

    Senior Ukrainian officers also regularly participate in courses at the NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy, and the NATO School in Oberammergau, Germany. Contacts with these establishments have been instrumental in setting up a new multinational faculty at the Ukrainian Defence Academy.

    The military side has also taken the lead in developing a legal framework to enable NATO and Ukraine to further develop operational cooperation:

    • A PfP Status of Forces Agreement facilitates participation in PfP military exercises by exempting participants from passport and visa regulations and immigration inspection on entering or leaving the territory of the country hosting the event (entered into force in May 2000).
    • A Host Nation Support Agreement addresses issues related to the provision of civil and military assistance to Allied forces located on, or in transit through, Ukrainian territory in peacetime, crisis or war (ratified in March 2004).
    • A Strategic Airlift Agreement enables Ukraine to make a substantial contribution to NATO’s capability to move outsized cargo by leasing Antonov aircraft to Allied armed forces – an arrangement which also brings economic benefits to Ukraine (ratified in October 2006).

    Defence technical cooperation

    Defence technical cooperation between Ukraine and NATO focuses on enhancing interoperability of Ukrainian contributions to international operations with the forces of NATO nations.

    Cooperation in this area began with the entry of Ukraine to the PfP programme and, in particular, their participation in a number of groups that meet under the auspices of the Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD) – the senior NATO body responsible for promoting cooperation between Allies and partners in the armaments field. The CNAD identifies opportunities for cooperation between nations in capability development, defence equipment procurement processes, and the development of technical standards.

    The Joint Working Group on Defence Technical Cooperation, which met for the first time in March 2004, works toward increased cooperation in this area between NATO and Ukraine.  Current priorities include:

    • Standardization and codification as a means for increasing interoperability of the Ukrainian armed forces with Allied forces.
    • Implementation of the Trust Fund projects on command, control, communications and computers (see above, Response to Russia-Ukraine conflict) (C4) and demilitarization of expired ammunition and excess small arms and light weapons (see above, Defence and security sector reform).
    • Cooperation in the framework of the CNAD and with the NATO Science and Technology Organization.
    • Ukraine’s participation in NATO’s Smart Defence projects, with the country having joined two projects in 2014 – on harbour protection and promotion of female leaders in security and defence.
    • Implementation of the Air Situation Data Exchange (ASDE) programme, which Ukraine joined in July 2006, to improve situational awareness of activity in the national and nearby airspace to reduce the risk of misunderstanding through the exchange of filtered air situation information. Connections between NATO and Ukraine have been operational via Hungary since end 2008 and via Turkey since mid 2011. Following the Russia-Ukraine crisis, air data information provided by NATO has been extended to cover a larger area.

    Civil emergency planning

    NATO and Ukraine have developed practical cooperation in the field of civil emergency planning (CEP) and disaster preparedness, since the signing of a memorandum of understanding in 1997.

    A Joint NATO-Ukraine Group on Civil Emergency Planning made up of representatives of NATO staff and Ukraine’s State Emergency Services meets on a yearly basis to oversee cooperation in the area of CEP.

    Ukraine’s western regions are prone to heavy flooding and NATO countries and other partners have provided assistance after severe floods in 1995, 1998 and 2001. A key focus of cooperation has therefore been to help Ukraine better prepare for such emergencies and manage their consequences more effectively. Using some of this expertise, Ukraine sent a mobile rescue centre to Poland as part of an aid effort following flooding in the country in 2010. 

    PfP exercises also help develop plans and effective disaster-response capabilities to deal with other natural emergencies such as avalanches and earthquakes, or man-made accidents or terrorist attacks involving toxic spills or chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear agents. Ukraine has hosted such exercises in 2000 and 2005 and plans to host another in September 2015.

    Since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine crisis (see above), NATO has consistently shown its solidarity with Ukraine through CEP activities.

    Security-related scientific cooperation

    Since April 2014, cooperation in the framework of the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme has been stepped up significantly and Ukraine is now the largest beneficiary of NATO grants for scientific collaboration. Recently approved research projects address new security concerns such as chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear agents, energy security and cyber defence. Cooperation is currently underway to develop a new SPS flagship project to support humanitarian de-mining in Ukraine.

    Beyond applying science to defence against terrorism and new threats, cooperation with Ukraine is also taking place in the fields of information technologies, cell biology and biotechnology, new materials, the rational use of natural resources and cooperation focused on defence-related environmental problems.

    Ukraine’s participation in NATO science programmes began in 1991 and intensified following an exchange of letters on cooperation in the area of science and the environment in 1999. A Joint Working Group on Scientific and Environmental Cooperation directs cooperation in this area. In the past, NATO also sponsored several projects to provide basic infrastructure for computer networking among Ukrainian research communities and to facilitate their access to the Internet. (More on Ukraine’s ongoing cooperation under the SPS Programme )

    Public information

    It is important for the Ukrainian administration to inform its people about NATO-Ukraine relations and the benefits of cooperation in terms of the country’s reform programme. Many people in Ukraine still lack information regarding the role, activities and goals of the Alliance, and outdated Cold War stereotypes remain strong in the minds of some. The Allies cooperate with the national authorities in raising awareness about what NATO is today, and in better explaining the NATO-Ukraine relationship.

    The NATO Information and Documentation Centre, based in Kyiv, is NATO’s principal public information facility, offering seminars and talks, as well as coordinating visits by NATO officials to Ukraine and representatives of Ukrainian civil society to NATO Headquarters to help better illustrate the mechanisms behind the partnership.

    In every partner country an embassy of one of the NATO member states serves as a contact point and operates as a channel for disseminating information about the role and policies of the Alliance. The current NATO Contact Point Embassy in Ukraine is the embassy of Lithuania.

  • Framework for cooperation

    The 1997 Charter on a Distinctive Partnership remains the basic foundation underpinning NATO-Ukraine relations. The NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC) directs cooperative activities and provides a forum for consultation between the Allies and Ukraine on security issues of common concern. The Declaration to Complement the Charter, signed in 2009, gave the NUC a central role in deepening political dialogue and cooperation to underpin Ukraine’s reform efforts.

    An Annual National Programme (ANP) composed of five chapters focuses on: political and economic issues; defence and military issues; resources; security issues; and legal issues.

    Allies assess progress under the ANP annually and the results of the assessment are presented to the NUC. The responsibility for the ANP implementation falls primarily on Ukraine, which is being urged to take the reform process forward vigorously in order to strengthen democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the market economy. Helping Ukraine achieve a far-reaching transformation of the defence and security sector is a priority.

    Joint working groups have been set up under the auspices of the NUC, to take work forward in specific areas. Two are of particular importance: the Partnerships and Cooperative Security Committee in NUC format, which takes the leading role in developing Annual National Programmes and preparing high-level meetings of the NUC, and the Joint Working Group on Defence Reform, which facilitates consultation and practical cooperation in the priority area of defence and security sector reform.

    In February 2014, Ukraine established a new Commission for NATO-Ukraine cooperation chaired by the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine.

    Two NATO offices in Kyiv support cooperation on the ground. The NATO Information and Documentation Centre, established in 1997, supports efforts to inform the public about NATO’s activities and the benefits of NATO-Ukraine cooperation. The NATO Liaison Office, established in 1999, facilitates Ukraine’s participation in NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme and supports its defence and security sector reform efforts by liaising with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, National Security and Defence Council, and other Ukrainian agencies.

  • Milestones in relations

    1991: Immediately upon achieving independence with the break-up of the Soviet Union, Ukraine joins the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (the NACC was replaced in 1997 by the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council).

    1994: Ukraine joins the Partnership for Peace (PfP), becoming the first of the Commonwealth of Independent States to do so.

    1996: Ukrainian soldiers deploy as part of the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    May 1997: The NATO Information and Documentation Centre opens in Kyiv.

    July 1997: At a summit meeting in Madrid, Spain, the Allies and Ukraine sign the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership, which sets out principles and arrangements for the further development of NATO-Ukraine relations and identifies areas for consultation and cooperation, establishing the NATO-Ukraine Commission to take work forward.

    1997: Ukraine establishes a diplomatic mission to NATO.

    1998: The NATO-Ukraine Joint Working Group on Defence Reform is established.

    1999: The NATO Liaison Office opens in Kyiv.

    1999: The Polish-Ukrainian battalion deploys as part of the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo.

    May 2000: The Ukrainian parliament ratifies the PfP Status of Forces Agreement.

    September 2000: Ukraine hosts a multinational disaster-response exercise, Trans-Carpathia 2000.

    May 2002: President Leonid Kuchma announces Ukraine's goal of eventual NATO membership and at a NUC meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, foreign ministers underline their desire to take the relationship forward to a qualitatively new level.

    July 2002: A project for the safe destruction of 400,000 landmines is inaugurated in Donetsk.

    November 2002: The NATO-Ukraine Action Plan is adopted at a NUC meeting of foreign ministers in November in Prague, the Czech Republic. The Action Plan aims to deepen and broaden the NATO-Ukraine relationship and to support Ukraine’s reform efforts on the road towards Euro-Atlantic integration.

    March 2004: The Ukrainian parliament ratifies the Host Nation Support Agreement with NATO.

    June 2004: Ukraine signs a Strategic Airlift Agreement with NATO.

    Autumn 2004: The Allies closely follow political developments surrounding the presidential elections in Ukraine and the "Orange Revolution". They stress the importance of respect for free and fair elections and postpone a NUC ministerial-level meeting scheduled for December.

    February 2005: The Allies invite newly-elected President Viktor Yushchenko to a summit meeting at NATO Headquarters. They express support for his ambitious reform plans and agree to refocus NATO-Ukraine cooperation in line with the new government's priorities.

    April 2005: NUC foreign ministers meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, launch an Intensified Dialogue on Ukraine's aspirations to NATO membership and a package of short-term actions to strengthen support for key reforms.

    September 2005: A series of staff-level expert discussions is initiated under the Intensified Dialogue.

    October 2005: Ukraine hosts a multinational disaster-response exercise, Joint Assistance 2005.

    October 2005: The North Atlantic Council visits Kyiv to discuss the Intensified Dialogue with Ukraine's foreign and defence ministers.

    February 2006: A Resettlement and Retraining Centre is inaugurated in Khmelnytskyi.

    March 2006: NATO's Secretary General welcomes the conduct of free and fair parliamentary elections as contributing to the consolidation of democracy in Ukraine.

    June 2006: A contract is signed for the launch of a project with Ukraine to destroy 133,000 tons of conventional munitions, 1.5 million small arms and 1,000 man-portable air defence systems over an estimated 12 years.

    September 2006: During a visit to NATO, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych reassures Allies of Ukraine's commitment to ongoing cooperation with NATO. However, he says the Ukrainian people are not yet ready to consider possible NATO membership.

    October 2006: The Ukrainian parliament ratifies the Strategic Airlift Agreement.

    June 2007: Ukraine deploys a ship for the first time in support of Operation Active Endeavour, NATO’s maritime counter-terrorist operation in the Mediterranean. This is followed by a second deployment in the autumn.

    2007: Ukraine sends medical personnel to support a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan.

    April 2008: At the Bucharest Summit, Allied leaders agree that Ukraine will become a NATO member in future.

    2008: Ukraine deploys two vessels in support of Operation Active Endeavour: one in summer, another in autumn.

    December 2008: NUC foreign ministers agree to enhance opportunities for assisting Ukraine in its efforts to meet membership requirements and to develop an Annual National Programme (ANP).

    April 2009: Ukraine signs a land transit agreement for the supply of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

    21 August 2009: A "Declaration to Complement the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between NATO and Ukraine" is signed to reflect decisions taken at the Bucharest Summit and the December foreign ministers' meeting in 2008.

    February 2010: The new Ukrainian government under President Viktor Yanukovych decides to continue present cooperation with NATO. However, he takes Alliance membership for the country off the agenda.

    May 2010: A memorandum of understanding on "Air Situation Data Exchange" is signed, which aims to reduce airspace conflicts by minimising potential cross-border incidents and optimising responses to renegade situations with civil airplanes.

    November 2010: Ukraine deploys a ship in support of Operation Active Endeavour.

    April 2011: At their meeting in Berlin, NUC foreign ministers reaffirm their distinct partnership and agree to take forward practical cooperation activities.

    May 2012: President Yanukovych attends NATO's Summit in Chicago to participate in a meeting with counterparts from countries that are contributing troops to ISAF.

    February 2013: NUC defence ministers agree to reinforce NATO-Ukraine cooperation: agreement is reached on a set of priorities to guide cooperation over the next five years, including in training and exercises; a project for the retraining of former military officers in Ukraine is extended; plans are discussed for a new project to support the neutralisation of radioactive sources from former Soviet military sites; and Ukraine becomes the first partner country to contribute to NATO’s counter-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia, Operation Ocean Shield.

    March 2014: NATO calls on Russia to de-escalate tensions as a so-called referendum is held in Crimea and Russian armed forces are used on the territory of Ukraine. With its independence and territorial integrity under threat, Ukraine invokes Article 14 of the NATO-Ukraine Charter and requests a meeting of the NUC. The Allies state that they do not and will not recognise Russia’s illegal and illegitimate “annexation” of Crimea.

    April and June 2014: At ministerial meetings in spring and summer, NATO agrees on concrete support measures for Ukraine to strengthen its ability to provide for its own security. Measures include a number of immediate and short-term actions to help Ukraine cope with the current conflict, and longer-term measures geared towards capacity-building, capability development, and deep reform of the armed forces and the security sector.

    3 September 2014: A NATO-sponsored conference on Ukraine’s defence industry takes place at the International Defence Industry Exhibition in Kielce, Poland.

    4-5 September 2014: At the Wales Summit, Allied leaders meet Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, reaffirming their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and reiterating their condemnation of Russia’s actions; they pledge to step up strategic consultations in the NUC and to further reinforce support for Ukraine.

    2 December 2014: NUC foreign ministers meet to discuss the developments in Ukraine and to review progress made in joint work since the Wales Summit.

    15 December 2014: Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk visits NATO Headquarters to discuss the Alliance’s efforts to support Ukraine’s government with NATO’s Secretary General. Jens Stoltenberg underlines that NATO will stand by the country as it works towards the goal of a sovereign and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law.

    29 December 2014: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signs into law a bill to cancel the non-bloc status of Ukraine and announces that Ukraine will start a process to achieve the criteria needed for NATO membership and also integrate into the Euro-Atlantic security space. He also indicated that a referendum would be held if his country were to apply for NATO membership.

    January 2015: Following the completion of the ISAF operation in Afghanistan in December 2014, Ukraine starts contributing to the follow-on NATO-led mission (“Resolute Support”) to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces and institutions.

    29 January 2015: In talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expresses concern about the recent escalation of violence in the country and says that NATO will continue its strong political and practical support for Ukraine.

    24 April 2015: The NATO Communications and Information Agency and Ukraine sign an agreement to facilitate implementation of the Trust Fund project on Command, Control, Communications and Computers, which is part of the NATO support package to Ukraine in response to the crisis with Russia. Once ratified, the agreement will also allow for the further development of technical cooperation.

    28 April 2015: The NATO Support and Procurement Agency signs an agreement with Ukraine, establishing a formal framework for the implementation of two Trust Fund projects, which focus on Logistics and Standardization and on Medical Rehabilitation.