The NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC) is the decision-making body responsible for developing the NATO-Ukraine relationship and for directing cooperative activities. It also provides a forum for consultation between the Allies and Ukraine on security issues of common concern, including Russia’s war against Ukraine.
The NUC was established by the NATO-Ukraine Charter on a Distinctive Partnership signed by Ukrainian and Allied Heads of State and Government in Madrid on 9 July 1997. Its task is to ensure proper implementation of the Charter’s provisions, broadly assess the development of the NATO-Ukraine relationship, survey planning for future activities, and suggest ways to improve or further develop cooperation.
The role of the NUC in NATO's support to Ukraine
The NUC provides a forum for consultation between the Allies and Ukraine on security issues of common concern, including Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Since Russia’s initial violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and seizure of Ukrainian territory in 2014, the NUC has held several extraordinary sessions. On 2 March 2014, Allies and Ukraine convened an extraordinary meeting of the NUC, condemning Russia’s military action against Ukraine. At their meeting in April 2014, Foreign Ministers of the NATO-Ukraine Commission condemned Russia’s illegal and illegitimate “annexation” of Crimea and stated that NATO and Ukraine would intensify cooperation and promote defence reforms through capacity building and capability development programmes. The NUC continued to meet regularly over the following years, coordinating NATO’s enhanced support to Ukraine.
In January 2022, the NUC met to discuss Russia’s military build-up around Ukraine and within its occupied territories. Several weeks later, the NUC held an extraordinary meeting on 22 February 2022, two days before Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The Allies condemned the further Russian incursion into Ukraine and its flagrant violation of international law, urging Russia to choose the path of diplomacy.
Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and throughout the war, NATO and Ukraine have consulted on the security situation and Allied support to Ukraine through the NUC.
Other areas of cooperation under the NUC
Other subjects are also discussed within the framework of the NUC, such as the situation in the Balkans, the fight against terrorism and other regional security issues.
In December 2008, NATO Foreign Ministers decided to further enhance work under the NUC through the development of an Annual National Programme (ANP).
The NUC also keeps under review Ukraine’s activities in the Partnership for Peace programme, in the military sphere under the Military Committee and the Ukraine Annual Work Plan.
Joint working groups have been set up under the auspices of the NUC to take work forward in specific areas, namely defence and security sector reform, armaments, economic security, and scientific and environmental cooperation. These working groups, along with NATO committees in NUC format, prepare senior-level meetings of the NUC.
All NATO member states and Ukraine are represented in the NUC, which meets regularly at the level of ambassadors and military representatives, as well as periodically at the level of Foreign and Defence Ministers and Chiefs of Staff, and occasionally at summit level, involving Heads of State and Government.
Senior-level meetings of the NUC are prepared by the Political Committee in NUC format, which also serves as the forum for ongoing exchanges on political and security issues of common interest, and the preparation and assessment of Ukraine’s programmes of cooperation with NATO.