Last update: 10-Jul-2006 16:41 NATO Update

19 June 2006


Largest ever demilitarization project launched in Ukraine

NATO Partnership for Peace Trust Fund
High resolution photos

A contract was signed on 19 June 2006, at the NATO Liaison Office in Kyiv, between Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence and the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency for the destruction of 1000 Man-portable Air Defence Missiles (MANPADS).

This is the first element of the NATO Partnership for Peace Trust Fund project to destroy surplus munitions and weapons in Ukraine. A demonstration of the destruction of MANPADS took place on 20 June near the town of Shostka in Northeast Ukraine.

A deadly legacy

As a legacy of the Cold War, Ukraine holds more than seven million surplus small arms and light weapons and more than two million tons of excess munitions.

The presence of such huge stockpiles is dangerous and represents a direct threat to the safety of the population of Ukraine as well as a potential security threat to the region. Three ammunition depots in Ukraine have suffered devastating explosions in the last few years and the situation will worsen as the stockpiles age and degrade.

The destruction of the MANPADS is the first step in the safe destruction of 1.5 million small arms and light weapons and 133,000 tons of munitions in Ukraine. The tendering process for the equipment and facilities to undertake the subsequent tasks will begin in due course.

Largest project ever

It is the largest Trust Fund project established by NATO and is the single largest demilitarization project ever undertaken.

The project, established at the request of Ukraine, is led by the United States with funding from 12 other NATO Member and Partner Nations (Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom) and the European Union.

This is the second of three NATO Trust Fund projects to be established in Ukraine. The first project, completed in 2003 in Donetsk, destroyed 400,000 anti-personnel landmines as part of Ukraine’s implementation of the Ottawa Convention to eliminate landmines. A third Trust Fund project led by the Netherlands was established in Khmelnitsky in January 2006 for the retraining and resettlement of its redundant military personnel.