Updated: 28-Jan-2002 Week of 21-27 January 2002

21 Jan. 2001

Converting military bases in Ukraine

The former military airbase of Uzyn, south of Kyiv, is to be converted for civilian use, according to the Ukrainian authorities. A NATO group of experts, led by the NATO Economics Directorate, is working with the Ukrainian authorities to examine ways of developing the feasibility of a pilot project for Uzyn. This project is part of the NATO-Ukraine Work programme for 2002 and would use the expertise of NATO countries in this field.

The military personnel working at the base have been gradually released as a result of defence reform and the process of base closures in Ukraine. NATO has set up a language programme aimed at helping motivated former or soon to be released military personnel to find a civilian job in a very difficult job market. This programme is part of Ukraine's economic-related co-operation with the Alliance, which is implemented in coordination with the National Coordinating Center for Professional Adaptation for Military Servicemen, Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

Similar language courses have been held in Kyiv, Uzyn, Odessa, Sebastopol and Lvov. So far, approximately 200 former or to be released military have benefited from courses in English, French or German. A first group of NATO sponsored students (photo) graduated in 2000, leading to the creation of an English Club in Uzyn and the creation of local jobs. At the end of December 2001, 14 former members of the Ukrainian armed forces working on the former Soviet strategic airbase of Uzyn, received certificates after four months of intensive NATO-sponsored courses in English, delivered by the British Council of Ukraine. The language programme is due to continue throughout 2002.