BITS Briefing Note 97.1
July 1997

NATO-Ukraine Charter: First Act or Curtain Call ?

John Borawski
is the Director of the Political Committee of the North Atlantic Assembly.
Ambassador Jonathan Dean
is an advisor on international security issues for the Union of Concern Scientists. He was the US Ambassador at the MBFR negotiations.
Admiral Sir James Eberle
is currently the Director of the UK-Japan 2000 Group and was formerly the Director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs from 1984-1991. He retired from the Royal Navy in 1983. Between 1976-83 he held the posts of a member of the Admiralty Board, Commander-in-Chief UK fleet, Allied Commander-in-Chief NATO Channel Command, and Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Navy Home Command.
Dr. Sergiy P. Galaka
is an Assistant and Associate Professor at the Institute of International Relations at the Kyiv University. He specializes in international security and nuclear nonproliferation.
Sherman Garnett
is a Senior Associate that the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC, and the author of "Keystone in the Arch: Ukraine and the Emerging Security Environment in Europe."
Oliver Meier
is a Senior Analyst at the Berlin Information-center for Transatlantic Security in Berlin.
Otfried Nassauer
is the Director of the Berlin Information-center for Transatlantic Security in Berlin.
Hrihoriy Perepelitsia
is the Director of Political Science, the Head of the Department for the National Institute for Strategic Studies and an Associate Professor at the Institute of International Relations at Kyiv University.
Dr. Dmitri Trenin
is a retired Colonel of the Russian Armed Forces. Currently, he is Deputy Director of the Carnegie Center in Moscow.


The Ukraine, the largest single country positioned between Russia and NATO, is an important player in European security. She is unlikely to join NATO anytime soon but establishing closer ties with Western institutions clearly is in Kyiv's interest. Since Ukrainian membership in NATO has been kept open as an option for the future, Ukraine-NATO relations have a potential to influence NATO-Russia relations. They could generate irritation or even contribute to the development of tensions between NATO and Russia in case NATO-Ukrainian bilateral ties became ever closer and would be perceived to be directed against its interests by Moscow.

At the NATO summit on July 8 and 9 in Madrid, NATO and Ukraine heads of state and government will sign the "Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between the North Atlantic Alliance Treaty Organization and Ukraine". The signing of the Charter presents several questions: Can the accord lessen some of the security dilemmas which Kyiv faces? What effect will it have on Russia-Ukraine relations? And what is the relationship between the Charter and the "Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation" signed between NATO and Russia in Paris on May 27?

If it is necessary to integrate Russia into a European security architecture, Ukraine certainly cannot be left out. The question of whether the Charter is the right approach to solving this problem is the topic of this publication.

In order to find answers to these questions, the Berlin Information-center for Transatlantic Security has asked seven experts from four countries to give their view on the implications of the Charter for European security.

Ambassador Jonathan Dean (Union of Concerned Scientist, Washington) contributes a critical assessment of Ukraine's role in European Security from an American perspective. Dr. Sergiy P. Galaka (University of Kyiv) points out some of the weaknesses of the Charter, as does Admiral (ret.) Sir James Eberle (United Kingdom), who also reflects on the implications of the Charter for NATO. Dr. Dmitri Trenin (Carnegie Centre, Moscow) gives a Russian view on the document. Sherman Garnett (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington) places the accord in the broader context of security challenges to Ukraine. Captain Hrihoriy Perepelitsia (National Institute for Strategic Studies, Ukraine) makes a positive assessment of the Charter's contribution to Ukrainian security. Finally, John Borawski (North Atlantic Assembly, Brussels) provides a unique account on the background of the history of the Charter and the various interests involved. The annex contains a summary of milestones in NATO-Ukraine relations and the Charter itself.

There are striking similarities and differences in the statements, highlighting the chances and risks associated with the NATO-Ukrainian Charter. All authors come to the conclusion that NATO-Ukraine relations are unproblematic and are likely to remain so in the near future. "[U]nlike Russia, Ukraine harbored no official hostility toward NATO or its enlargement and sought true partner relations." (John Borawski) In this regard, the Charter itself reflects the good relationship of Kyiv with the West. "[I]t is useful that Ukraine and NATO have decided to systemize their relationship." (Jonathan Dean) There is also broad agreement that the implementation of the Charter will be decisive for the quality of NATO-Ukrainian relations. "The NATO-Ukrainian Charter has to be understood in the broad context of what Ukrainian diplomacy must still address." (Sherman Garnett) The accord, because it is vague in comparison to the NATO-Russia "Founding Act", leaves a broad range of options for NATO-Ukrainian relations. "[T]he NATO Ukrainian Charter seems to be specifically aimed at further evolution of these relations, thus underlining the Ukrainian intention to integrate into Euro-Atlantic structures in the future." (Sergiy P. Galaka)

This, however, is where the views start differing. While some analysts point out that "the Ukraine-NATO Charter is a document, which opens up the possibility for Ukraine to be a part of NATO's continuing evolution" (Hrihoriy Perepelitsia), others stress that the accord could "distract" Ukraine from its real security challenges, which are economic and social rather than military. There are also widely differing views on the effects that the Charter will have on Ukraine-Russia relations. "The NATO-Ukraine Charter will inevitably be seen by some in Russia and particularly by the military as a further measure of NATO's encirclement of Russia." (James Eberle). And: "[I]f joint military exercises are given an anti-Russian scenario as a background, this could make Moscow view the Charter as a vehicle for turning Ukraine into a bulwark against Russia." (Dr. Dmitri Trenin)

While at present Ukrainian-NATO relations generally are perceived to be unproblematic, the possibility of Ukraine applying for NATO membership sometime in the future cannot be excluded. It "cannot be treated as hypothetical, and NATO will have to consider seriously whether or not, in fact, its door remains open to any European state regardless of where it sits on the map."(John Borawski)

This briefing package on the NATO-Ukraine charter provides us with different assessments on problems that will remain on the agenda of European security. BITS wants to thank all the authors for their willingness to contribute to this publication on very short notice. Our thanks also go to Catriona Goualay of the International Security Information Service (ISIS, Brussels) and Tasos Kokkinides of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC, London) without whom we would not have been able to publish this booklet. This publication has been made possible through the generous support of the Ford Foundation, USA.

Otfried Nassauer, Oliver Meier



by John Borawski





Ambassador Jonathan Dean

In general terms, it is useful that Ukraine and NATO have decided to systematize their relationship in the Charter to be signed at the Madrid summit. Although the Charter does not contain a treaty commitment to come to Ukraine's aid if Ukraine is attacked, it will benefit European security to have clear international understanding that the NATO allies have a strong interest in Ukraine's independence and security.

In particular, Paragraph 14 of the Charter, where the NATO allies state that Ukrainian independence is a key factor of stability in Europe, and Paragraph 15, which provides for a crisis consultative mechanism, make clear to all that the allies will resist possible efforts to curtail that independence. There is no mechanism in the Charter for continuing interaction between Ukraine and the NATO Council like the mechanism which is a main feature of the Founding Act with Russia. But this fact underlines the main purpose of this Charter, to declare NATO's interest in Ukraine's security.

On the other hand, while it is constructive that Russia, Ukraine's main Eastern neighbor, should be clearly aware of NATO's continuing interest in Ukrainian independence, it would be unwise for NATO to enter into a competition with Russia for influence in Ukraine or to permit Ukraine to attempt to play off Russia against NATO to its own advantage. Such attempts have been made often in European history, with extremely negative consequences. In this sense, the commitment of Ukraine in Paragraph 3 of the Charter to increase the interoperability of its forces with those of NATO, although a usual aim of the Partnership for Peace Program, will be closely watched by the many Russian readers of the Charter.

There is some question about the durability of the new Charter. Opinion in Ukraine about the desirability of Ukrainian candidacy for NATO membership is both divided and shifting. If the Baltic States appear to be nearing success in their continuing active attempt to gain NATO membership, this circumstance could precipitate acute political crisis in Ukraine between supporters and opponents of NATO membership for Ukraine. If this situation does in fact develop, the best solution for Ukraine may be a policy of strict military neutrality. In this case, many of the cooperative military features of the Charter might have to be dropped, though the NATO allies would surely be called to guarantee Ukraine's neutral status.

Dr. Sergiy P. Galaka

The Charter will demonstrate to Russia the level of cooperation between NATO and Ukraine. Russia will be irritated by the Clause 2, which reads that "no state can regard any part of the OSCE region as its sphere of influence," and states the right of all states "to be free to choose or change its security arrangements, including treaties of alliance, as they evolve." . . . . This commitment depicts clear-cut Ukrainian intention to keep the doors of NATO open and to envisage the possibility of quick rapprochement with the Alliance in the emergency or upon its evolution towards political in essence organization and the core of the comprehensive European security system. This irritation can be enhanced by the declared NATO support to the reforms of the Ukrainian armed forces aimed to "increase their interoperability with the forces of NATO."

Considering an effect on NATO-Ukrainian relations, one should not underestimate political importance of the Clause 14 of the Charter, committing NATO Allies to "support Ukrainian sovereignty and independence, territorial integrity . . . and the principle of inviolability of borders" and Clause 16, recalling the security assurances, provided to Ukraine in 1994 in Budapest. Positive meaning for Ukraine has Clause 17, mentioning the status of foreign troops and Clause 18, confirming NATO's intention not to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new members.

At the same time, in contrast with the Russian-NATO Act the Charter contains rather vague mechanisms for consultations and cooperation, committing virtually all the meetings for the consultations almost exclusively to Brussels. The NATO-Ukraine commission established by the Charter seems to be no match for the Permanent Joint council in the Russia-NATO Act. A "crisis consultative mechanism" is yet to be developed.

In regard to the Russian-Ukrainian relations, intention to explore among the areas of cooperation "armaments cooperation . . . , military training," and defining "NATO-Ukrainian military cooperation and interoperability" among the areas for consultations and cooperation might alert Russia as a preparatory stage, leading to compatibility of Ukrainian arms with NATO standards in the future.

Generally, NATO-Russia Founding Act seems to cover larger areas and produce more elaborate mechanism for cooperation, enabling Russia to exercise sizable influence on security in Euro-Atlantic area. But the NATO-Ukrainian Charter seems to be specifically aimed at further evolution of these relations, thus underlining the Ukrainian intention to ingrate into Euro-Atlantic structures in the future.

Admiral Sir James Eberle

  1. The NATO-Ukraine Charter will inevitably be seen by some in Russia and particularly [by] the military, as a further measure of NATO's encirclement of Russia.

  2. Its signing at the Madrid Summit will similarly be seen as evidence of NATO's 'triumphalism' in 'winning the Cold War.'

  3. Nevertheless this Charter does confer a lesser status than that conferred by the NATO-Russia Founding Act.

  4. I have also not noted adverse reaction from the Russian Government to the principles of the Charter.

  5. The Charter adds another 'category' to NATO membership. Present members, 'Madrid invitees, aspirant invitees, improbable invitees -- PfP members -- PfP plus members (i.e. Ukraine). Together with the development of the Atlantic Partnership Council, this looks to me like an administrator's nightmare!

  6. Once again, the 'Western' Governments are putting the 'military card' before the 'Political/Economic horse'! The Ukraine needs help to restructure the economy far more than advice on Ukrainian Defense Reform (III Paragraph 7 -- item 2.)

  7. The practical arrangements for consultation section IV make this a very 'unequal' charter. Twice yearly meetings at NAC level of the NATO Ukraine Commission place yet another not unsubstantial commitment on already heavily over-committed Ministers.

  8. The conduct of NATO/Ukrainian exercises on Ukrainian territory, and in the Black Sea, will need very sensitive handling vis-à-vis Russia.

  9. All these points are essentially negative -- and have the potential for hindering, rather than helping, the development of a cooperative European Security System.

  10. Nevertheless, it would also be dangerous for NATO to ignore the justifiable need and wishes of Ukrainian people to enhance their own sense of security. However, as will other East and Central European countries Ukraine wants closer ties with NATO, not to meet new security challenges, but because she remains frightened of Russia.

  11. Having recently signed an Agreement with Russia (the Black Sea Fleet / Sevastophol issue having been finessed), it is not unreasonable to see this Charter with NATO as an act of 'political balancing'! I, however, would tend to see a different balance. I suspect that, in practice, the Charter will do little to strengthen Ukraine's security; and could do much to weaken NATO's coherence and cohesion.

Dr. Dmitri Trenin

  1. a. The immediate effect of the signing of the Ukraine-NATO Charter on Russia's relations with NATO is bound to be minimal. The document is not coming as a surprise; it does not contain provisions which could be seen in Moscow as a clear provocation. Very importantly, arriving after the Russia-NATO Founding Act, it will be perceived as "covered" by it. Few people in Moscow believe that Ukraine can be invited to join NATO in the foreseeable future. The really important question, however, will be whether Russia and NATO will make the Founding Act work anytime soon.

b. As a result of the Charter, NATO-Ukraine relations will gain a solid foundation and a better framework. In short, the dialogue and cooperation will be better structured. Even now, the relations between Ukraine and the Sixteen are virtually unproblematic, and could develop even without a special document. The Charter, establishing a formal link between Brussels and Kyiv, is important as a symbol: NATO cares about Ukraine, and says so.

c. Fortunately, Russia and Ukraine managed to resolve the main outstanding issue between them during Yelsin's visit to Kyiv last May. The Russians seem to have decided that Ukraine, though tilting politically toward the West, is economically still very much tied to Russia, and that the latter is unlikely to change. And in the current view of the Russian government, geo-economics is rated substantially higher than geopolitics or geostrategy.

  1. Any negative impact of the Charter on NATO-Russian relations will result from the document's future implementation and interpretation. E.g. if the principle of the "free choice of alliances" ultimately leads to Ukraine's entry into NATO, this will produce extremely negative fallout. Or if joint military exercises are given an anti-Russian scenario as a background, this could make Moscow view the Charter as a vehicle for turning Ukraine into a bulwark against Russia.

  2. From a NATO perspective, both documents serve as pieces of a new web of relations between the Alliance and the countries which are unlikely to be invited to join. More substantially, the Act and the Charter are two very different documents. The one with Russia is basically a damage-limitation exercise, but having a potential of becoming a pillar for a transcontinental security community; the one with Ukraine is a necessary compensation in the context of NATO enlargement.

  3. The Charter's signing is a positive step, on the whole: ignoring Ukraine would have been a mistake, because this would have made Kyiv less confident, and far more nervous. Bolstering Ukrainian morale without at the same time provoking Russia is a small feat. Other positive results may include more transparency about Ukrainian arms and technology exports, ensuring that these transfers do not reach the less predictable regimes.

At present, negative aspects of the Charter are not evident. If, however, this document becomes a vehicle for drawing a dividing line (= a security barrier) between Ukraine and Russia, there can be no question anymore of a cooperative security system in Europe.

  1. For a new European system, we need a new NATO and a new Russia. The enlargement works as a catalyst of change. Dangers are abundant, but so are the opportunities to turn the change into a win-win game.

Sherman Garnett

The Ukrainian-NATO Charter represents an important achievement. However, for the next decade or more, Ukraine's core strategic challenges will have little to do with the kind of partnership it fashions with the alliance. Ukraine has serious political and economic work to do at home. It also has to find a way to sustain recent momentum toward normalization of relations with Russia. For both tasks, it needs support not only from NATO, but from the nations of Europe and Europe's core institutions.

There is a danger in the coming months of focusing too intensely on the details of the Ukrainian-NATO partnership, to the neglect of the role NATO and the West in general might play in helping Ukraine address these core strategic challenges and weather the inevitable shockwaves that expansion of the alliance will bring to Eastern and Central Europe.

For the Ukrainians, the Charter is another in a series of foreign policy successes over the past two years. Despite serious internal problems and a lack of resources, Ukrainian diplomacy has successfully pursued a foreign policy aimed at normalizing ties with Russia, settling outstanding disputes, deepening cooperation with its immediate neighbors and seeking support for reforms at home and stability in the region from the West. Ukraine has successfully managed relations with Russia, avoiding entanglement in the Commonwealth of Independent States and seeking to resolve bilateral differences with Moscow bilaterally, on the basis of normal state-to-state ties. In May of this year, the two sides finally agreed on long delayed Treaties that define the basic terms of the bilateral relationship and settle the division and basing of the Black Sea Fleet. Ukraine has steadily expanded its cooperation with Poland, resolved outstanding disputes with Romania and maintained good relations with its other neighbors. In the past two years, Ukraine has expanded its relationship with the United States to a "strategic partnership,” won membership in the Council of Europe and the Central European Initiative, reached out to NATO and key European states and declared its long term policy to be one of membership in the European Union.

Yet in no way can it be said that any of these key external processes are complete. The NATO-Ukrainian Charter has to be understood in the broad context of what Ukrainian diplomacy must still address. It must also be understood in light of three serious challenges-- both domestic and foreign-- still facing Ukraine:

The first challenge is an internal one. While Ukrainian foreign policy seeks a place in Europe, economic and political problems at home undermine this policy. After real success in bringing the country back from hyperinflation, President Kuchma's economic reforms have lost momentum. Corruption, political infighting and weak state institutions make Ukraine look like anything but a serious aspirant for a place in Europe. The regional and ethnic diversity that Ukraine inherited has not proven to be as dangerous to the state as many feared, but there is still no internal consensus on basic questions of economic and political reform or foreign policy orientation. At precisely the time when Ukraine is seeking Europe, and Europe should be supporting Ukraine, Ukraine's internal situation undermines support and momentum on both sides.

In such an environment, NATO-Ukrainian cooperation could easily be seen by many in Europe as a justifiable substitute for the Ukrainian-EU cooperation Ukrainian internal conditions do not warrant. If Ukrainian-NATO cooperation is seen as an alternative to-- rather than a part of-- a deeper engagement by Europe in Ukraine, it will turn out to be a dead end and of little real significance for Ukraine itself. Let me stress here, however, that the key to this broader European engagement is, first and foremost, in Ukraine's own hands. It must restart economic and political reforms.

The second challenge is managing relations with Russia. Ukraine's most important foreign policy task is to encourage and sustain normalization of ties with Russia. Despite important recent successes, the two sides still do not share a common vision of where such relations ought to head. Ukraine seeks a normalized, state-to-state framework as a basis for building long term ties. Russia still believes its ties with Ukraine should be better than normal, defined by bilateral and multilateral integration. The two sides have repeatedly acted with great pragmatism at key junctures to avoid serious crisis. Yet until these May agreements, they were unable to conclude sustained agreements without outside involvement (such as the US role in denuclearization or the IMF's in debt relief). The significance of the May agreements is precisely that no such third party involvement was apparent, though it is too early to tell whether these agreements will hold over time.

There is also little doubt that Russian policy was deeply influenced by NATO expansion and the desire to avoid carrying a simmering feud with Ukraine into the post-expansion environment. Such a policy could be the beginning of a shift in Russian thinking, or merely a tactical maneuver. Ukraine cannot impose normalization on Russia. It is and will remain the weaker party. Without the outside world recognizing and acting upon its interests in seeing normalization continue and deepen between these two important states, the process could still go off track. NATO-Ukrainian ties must continue to be a contributor to this process of normalization. Far from being an irritant, they have contributed to both greater realism in Moscow and greater confidence in Kiev. If a broad European engagement in the region were to follow, it would likely prove a decisive factor in sustaining the momentum toward normalization of Russian-Ukrainian ties.

The third challenge is getting the West's-- and particularly-- Europe's help to address the first two. To manage the above tasks successfully, Ukraine needs support from the outside world, especially from Europe. Europe provides the basic market and political model for Ukrainian reforms, as well as the likeliest source of incentives to pursue them. Europe also represents a web of relationships beyond NATO that more directly address Ukraine's core internal problems and help dilute the security-heavy overtones in the Russian-Ukrainian-NATO triangle. If European nations and Europe's core institutions support and expand the Ukrainian-NATO Charter, it will prove a real turning point in Ukraine's internal reform process and in creating the conditions for long term stability in Russian-Ukrainian relations. At present, however, there is no consensus for such an approach in Europe.

Ukraine's internal problems appear to justify other European countries and institutions lagging behind NATO in defining interests in-- and developing ties with-- Ukraine. For some in Europe, Ukraine resembles Turkey in being currently so far from the European norm as to make contemplation of membership in Europe unthinkable. Yet, like Turkey, Ukraine is a key factor in Europe's long term stability. Europe's great institutions, particularly as they are expanded over time into East Central Europe, will be seriously affected by Ukrainian chaos at home or Ukrainian-Russian tensions. A comprehensive strategy, beginning with serious NATO cooperation with both Ukraine and Russia is crucial. But such a strategy cannot be sustained solely by NATO alone. Europe and its key institution, the European Union, have to provide leadership. It must provide incentives for reform in both countries and for normal relations between the two. Thus the real test of both the NATO-Russian Founding Act and the NATO-Ukrainian Charter is whether they stimulate rapprochement between these two countries and Europe as a whole, and whether Europe acts as a positive force in relations between the two. A good test of the NATO-Ukrainian Charter is whether it is soon joined (or even overtaken) by an EU-Ukrainian document.

Hrihoriy Perepelitsia

The NATO-Ukrainian accord could have a positive impact on the development of a cooperative European security system, because NATO looks to the Ukraine as one of the key factors in ensuring stability in Central and Eastern Europe and the continent as a whole.

One of the principle undertakings of Ukraine in relationship with NATO is the strengthening of the European security system.

The NATO-Russia Founding Act was a result of the different views Russia and NATO had on European security. In comparison to Russia, the Ukraine views NATO as a stabilizing factor in Europe and approves NATO's enlargement.

The Ukraine-NATO Charter is a document, which opens up the possibility for Ukraine to be a part of NATO's continuing evolution, through the alliance's enlargement and a deepening cooperation with the Ukraine and the North Atlantic Alliance.

In this context Ukraine places great importance on NATO's obligations to support Ukrainian sovereignty and independence, territorial integrity, democratic development, economic prosperity and its status as a non-nuclear weapon state. The NATO-Ukraine Charter will have a positive impact on NATO-Russia relations, NATO-Ukraine relations and Ukraine-Russia relations. The continued development of the relationship between the Ukraine and NATO does not contradict the principles of the Ukrainian-Russian relations as laid out, in the agreement between Ukraine and Russia. Under this agreement both countries stated they will not conclude agreements with third parties in opposition to Russia or Ukraine. The NATO-Russia Founding Act states that Russia and NATO are no longer adversaries.



by John Borawski

  1. The "Enhanced NATO-Ukraine Relationship," established by the Charter on a "Distinctive Partnership" signed at the NATO Madrid Summit, had its origins in Ukraine's participation in the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) and the Partnership for Peace (PFP). Ukraine was the first CIS state to sign the PFP Framework Document, on 8 February 1994. PFP offered the same terms to all interested Partners, but Russia reacted by seeking a "special" relationship with NATO complementing PFP. Ukraine, with over 50 million inhabitants, a strategic location, and holding among the highest manpower and equipment levels under the CFE Treaty, chose eventually to do the same.

  2. Ukraine's motivations and interests, apart from expected recognition of its major regional status in Europe, might be viewed as fourfold and interrelated: enhancing integration with the West, limiting any negative consequences of NATO enlargement, striving for security guarantees, and underscoring independence within existing borders and thus bolstering Ukraine's position in international relations.

  3. Firstly, unlike Russia, Ukraine harbored no official hostility toward NATO or its enlargement and sought true partner relations, including as a means to advance its priority objective of eventual "integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures." Whereas until the Spring of 1995 it seemed to have taken the view that enlargement would compel Ukraine to choose between NATO and the CIS, thereafter it took the line that good relations with Russia and rapprochement with NATO were not necessarily mutually exclusive. Indeed, despite having declared permanent neutrality in 1990 prior to post-Soviet independence, largely to reassure the then USSR, by June 1996 President Leonid Kuchma was declaring that Ukraine should have the right to join "any military-political structure tending to turn into an element of European of transatlantic security" (with Russia opposed to any former Soviet republic joining). Likewise, although having proved unsuccessful in obtaining "associate partner" status in the WEU (reserved for countries on a path to EU membership), on 30 June an agreement was concluded whereby Ukraine would provide long-range transport aircraft to assist WEU missions in peacekeeping and peacemaking.

  4. A Democratic Initiatives Center poll of May 1997 indicated 36 percent of public opinion favoring and 28 percent opposing Ukrainian NATO membership. These differentials reflect contrasting views in the government and parliament, the Verkhovna Rada. Deputies of the Rukh and Constitutional Center groups favor NATO membership, which former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski has argued would convince Russia that any neoimperalist aspirations on its part are impossible. Foreign Minister Hennadi Udovenko believes NATO membership could depend on Russian behavior, but that if all problems in the post-Soviet space are resolved NATO membership for Ukraine would "not be a positive thing to do"; at the same time, the Minister describes Ukraine's strategic goal as "complete integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures, including NATO"--with National Security Advisor Volodomyr Horbulin aiming at membership before 2010. The Socialist Speaker of the Rada, Oleksandr Moroz, charges the government has no single policy on the issue, and he himself has yet to view NATO enlargement as a problem-solving exercise- -having warned that Russia might react by building up the Black Sea Fleet on Ukrainian territory and "that it would be hard to find an argument against it." Other Socialist and Communist Deputies warn of resulting tension between NATO and Russia or stress the virtues of the OSCE, whereas Crimean Communists intend to hold a referendum on the "intolerability of fraternization with NATO." Of interest is that the 1996 US "NATO Enlargement Facilitation Act" expresses the sense of the Congress that the United States should support the participation of Ukraine in "activities appropriate for qualifying for NATO membership."

  5. Secondly, Ukraine did not wish to play the role of geopolitical shock absorber should enlargement lead to a new confrontation or countermeasures, thus rejecting the "buffer zone" role Western analysts ascribed to it. In this sense, Ukraine, like Russia, sought "damage limitation" but without citing enlargement as a threat to it. Ukraine championed creating a nuclear-weapon-free-zone in Central and Eastern Europe, from the Baltic to the Black seas, having itself unilaterally renounced its share of the former Soviet nuclear arsenal under intense international pressure and not without domestic political debate. A constructive and active relationship with NATO could help promote this objective while reassuring Russia. Ukraine also urged that Romania not be invited to join NATO until both countries had settled border questions.

  6. Thirdly, Ukraine sought specific security guarantees from NATO to help ensure its territorial integrity and political independence.

  7. Fourthly, a NATO-Ukraine relationship could help underscore Ukrainian independence and promote Ukraine's prestige on the international and European level. This could include bolstering its position vis-á-vis Russia by demonstrating that Ukraine too was regarded as "special" by the Alliance. Ukraine supported the NATO-Russia relationship as a way to help integrate Russia into Europe on the basis of OSCE values, but opposed any linkage between the two special relationships and occasionally voiced resentment over what it saw as a NATO preoccupation with Russia, or a view of Ukraine as essentially but a bigger Poland, while conceding that the Alliance could not treat Russia and Ukraine identically. Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeni Primakov stated on 9 May 1997 that Russia had no objections to a NATO-Ukraine document.

  8. The path to the "Distinctive Partnership," a US/UK term adopted by the Alliance to differentiate the relationship from the NATO-Russia "Security Partnership," began with a NATO- Ukraine Joint Press Statement on 14 September 1995, following a 1 June 1995 meeting between Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and then NATO Secretary General Willy Claes during which Kuchma raised the idea of a special relationship. The Statement set out a general program of visits and consultations, albeit already ongoing through normal NATO outreach, but added consultations beyond the PFP "threat- based" consultations in a "16+1" format on political and security issues, nuclear safety, and non-proliferation, recognized Ukraine's "importance and its growing role" as a "key factor" in European security, stressed respect for Ukrainian territorial integrity, sovereignty, independence, economic prosperity, democratic development, and non-nuclear- weapon state status, affirm NATO's "vital role" and that NATO enlargement should enhance the security of all countries, and registered agreement on developing an "enhanced relationship." Concurrently, Ukraine presented a draft agreement on "special partnership" that would go further in form and would locate some NATO bodies concerned with cooperation activity in Kiev and have Ukraine host NATO and NACC/PFP meetings.

  9. Within a year, Ukraine sought to elevate this "enhanced relationship" to a legally-binding agreement on a "special partnership" that would include NATO ensuring Ukraine's security and establish a NATO mission in Ukraine. Such a legal instrument (submitted on 22 November 1996), First Deputy Foreign Minister Anton Buteiko stated on 19 November 1996, would serve "as one of the main prerequisites" for ensuring Ukraine's national interests in the context of NATO enlargement and as "a guarantee to avoid a new division of Europe and creation of a 'gray zone' of security in Central- East Europe." At the same time, at the December 1996 OSCE Lisbon Summit President Kuchma spoke of security guarantees in an OSCE framework. Although officially neutral, even though the first post-Soviet constitution adopted in June 1996 does not refer to this status, the reasoning was that because the nuclear weapon states had given Ukraine security assurances in 1994, however declaratory, NATO could do the same.

  10. Ukraine overreached: NATO was not willing to extend security guarantees to non-members, codify a nuclear-weapon- free-zone in Central and Eastern Europe, place Ukraine on a par with Russia, or conclude any legal agreement that would require ratification or set a precedent for other countries who might seek a "special" relationship with the Alliance. Indeed, upon inaugurating on 7 May 1997 the first-ever NATO Information and Documentation Center in Kyiv, sought by Ukraine and intended in part to overcome negative stereotypes of the Alliance, Secretary General Javier Solana noted the NATO-Russia relationship had "special importance."

  11. Nevertheless, in December 1996 the NATO Foreign Ministers had agreed to develop a "distinctive and effective NATO- Ukraine relationship, which could be formalized" by the time of the Madrid Summit--the same target for the NATO-Russia document. NATO did not, however, actually respond to Ukraine's proposals until 7 May, with negotiations on formalization begun on 20 March - two months after those with Russia. Securing Ukrainian confirmation of the 1996 relaxation in the "flank" arrangements of the CFE Treaty invariably influenced this process, but there was also discussion about whether concluding a NATO-Ukraine agreement before a NATO-Russia agreement, which had clear priority, would have a stimulative or disruptive affect on the latter consultations.

  12. Although Ukraine held out for a legal document or "accord," a "Standing Commission" akin to the NATO-Russia "Council," and some form of NATO pledge to involve itself in the event of a threat to Ukraine, the NATO-Ukraine "Charter" (a term initially proposed by France for purposes of the NATO- Russia relationship, but rejected by Russia as insufficiently weighty) was agreed by NATO a few hours after the NATO-Russia "Founding Act" was signed on 27 May. A NATO-Ukraine "Commission" is created, but its role is to review implementation twice a year; regular "16+1" consultations will have no special framework, unlike the NATO-Russia "Permanent Joint Council." Specific areas such as theater missile defense recognized in the NATO-Russia document are not mentioned, nor is there reference to joint decisions and action as in the NATO-Russia Act, but the Charter does refer to promoting defense cooperation between Ukraine and its neighbors (e.g., the Polish-Ukraine peacekeeping battalion) and to arms cooperation beyond the existing NATO outreach program. Like the 1995 press statement, NATO Allies "support" (not guarantee) Ukrainian sovereignty and independence. Perhaps not entirely by accident, within days of the Charter being initialed in Sintra, Portugal, on 29 May, Ukraine concluded historic accords with Russia on the Black Sea Fleet and with Romania on borders (but still seeks to eliminate the flank restrictions of the CFE Treaty).

  13. The future will combine at least two strands. The first is very straightforward: there was never a need to encourage Ukraine to be an active PFP Partner or to recognize that NATO was not an adversary, as was the case with the NATO-Russia Act. Indeed, unlike the Act, the Charter formally recognizes NATO and NATO enlargement as stabilizing, and finds Ukraine pledging to undertake further economic, political, and defense reforms. More broadly, as a May 1997 US Council on Foreign Relations Report, Russia, Its Neighbors, and an Enlarging NATO, pointed out: "The very fact of Ukrainian independence has made NATO enlargement easier politically and less costly militarily."

  14. The second, however, will involve potentially difficult questions: a healthy NATO-Russia relationship is in global interests, but Ukraine does not want to be perceived as a "bridge" between the two: might developments in one relationship affect the other, fueling perceptions that the West regards Ukraine as a junior partner or a region where Russia has prevailing interests? For example, Russia has supported the NATO-Ukraine relationship, but has also made disturbing statements, even at presidential level, about PFP activities in Ukraine or NATO seeking to exploit Russia- Ukraine differences. Moreover, the question of Ukraine applying for NATO membership, regardless of geopolitical conditions in Europe, cannot be treated as hypothetical, and NATO will have to consider seriously whether or not, in fact, its door remains open to any European state regardless of where it sits on the map.


18 February 1994 Ukraine signs PFP Framework Document

1 June 1995 Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma proposes a special partnership with NATO

14 September 1995 NATO-Ukraine Joint Press Statement pledges development of an "enhanced relationship";
Individual Partnership Program concluded;
Ukraine proposes a document to govern special relationship

April 1996 Document agreed on "Implementation of the Enhanced NATO-Ukraine Relationship"

Fall 1996 Discussions stepped up on a formal NATO-Ukraine agreement; Ukraine proposes agreement on "special partnership"

10 December 1996 NATO Foreign Ministers look forward to "distinctive and effective" NATO-Ukraine relationship "which could be formalized" by time of July 1997 Madrid Summit

7 February 1997 NATO Secretary General Solana given mandate to negotiate NATO-Ukraine agreement

20 March 1997 Negotiations begin on NATO-Ukraine agreement

7 May 1997 NATO submits draft agreement;
NATO Information and Documentation Center opens in Kiev

29 May 1997 NATO-Ukraine Charter initialed in Sintra, Portugal

31 May 1997 Russia-Ukraine Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership settles Black Sea Fleet dispute

2 June 1997 Ukrainian-Romanian Basic Treaty proclaims borders inviolable

8-9 July 1997 Charter signed by heads of state and government at NATO Summit in Madrid



I. Building an Enhanced NATO-Ukraine Relationship

1. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and its member States and Ukraine, hereinafter referred to as NATO and Ukraine,

  • building on a political commitment at the highest level;

  • recognizing the fundamental changes in the security environment in Europe which have inseparably linked the security of every state to that of all others;

  • determined to strengthen mutual trust and cooperation in order to enhance security and stability, and to cooperate in building a stable, peaceful and undivided Europe;

  • stressing the profound transformation undertaken by NATO since the end of the Cold War and its continued adaptation to meet the changing circumstances of Euro-Atlantic security, including its support, on a case-by-case basis, of new missions of peacekeeping operations carried out under the authority of the United Nations Security Council or the responsibility of the OSCE;

  • welcoming the progress achieved by Ukraine and looking forward to further steps to develop its democratic institutions, to implement radical economic reforms, and to deepen the process of integration with the full range of European and Euro-Atlantic structures;

  • noting NATO's positive role in maintaining peace and stability in Europe and in promoting greater confidence and transparency in the Euro-Atlantic area, and its openness for cooperation with the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe, an inseparable part of which is Ukraine;

  • convinced that an independent, democratic and stable Ukraine is one of the key factors for ensuring stability in Central and Eastern Europe, and the continent as a whole;

  • mindful of the importance of a strong and enduring relationship between Ukraine and NATO and recognizing the solid progress made, across a broad range of activities, to develop an enhanced and strengthened relationship between NATO and Ukraine on the foundations created by the Joint Press Statement of 14 September 1995;

  • determined to further expand and intensify their cooperation in the framework of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, including the enhanced Partnership of Peace programme;

  • welcoming their practical cooperation within IFOR/SFOR and other peacekeeping operations on the territory of the former Yugoslavia;

  • sharing the view that the opening of the Alliance to new members, in accordance with Article 10 of the Washington Treaty, is directed at enhancing the stability of Europe, and the security of all countries in Europe without recreating dividing lines

are committed, on the basis of this Charter, to further broaden and strengthen their cooperation and to develop a distinctive and effective partnership, which will promote further stability and common democratic values in Central and Eastern Europe.

II. Principles for the Development of NATO-Ukraine Relations

2. NATO and Ukraine will base their relationship on the principles, obligations and commitments under international law and international instruments, including the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act subsequent OSCE documents. Accordingly, NATO and Ukraine reaffirm their commitment to:

  • the recognition that security of all states in the OSCE area is indivisible, that no state should pursue its security at the expense of that of another state, and that no state can regard any part of the OSCE region as its sphere of influence;

  • refrain from the threat or use of force against any state in any manner inconsistent with the United Nations Charter or Helsinki Final Act principles guiding participating States;

  • the inherent right of all states to choose and to implement freely their own security arrangements, and to be free to choose or change its security arrangements, including treaties of alliance, as they evolve;

  • respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of all other states, for the inviolability of frontiers, and the development of good-neighbourly relations;

  • the rule of law, the fostering of democracy, political pluralism and a market economy;

  • human rights and the right of persons belonging to national minorities;

  • the prevention of conflicts and settlement of disputes by peaceful means in accordance with UN and OSCE principles.

3. Ukraine reaffirms its determination to carry forward its defence reforms, to strengthen democratic and civilian control of the armed forces, and to increase their interoperability with the forces of NATO and Partner countries. NATO reaffirms its support for Ukraine's efforts in these areas.

4. Ukraine welcomes NATO's continuing and active adaptation to meet the changing circumstances of Euro-Atlantic security, and its role, in cooperation with other international organizations such as the OSCE, the European Union, the Council of Europe and the Western European Union in promoting Euro-Atlantic security and fostering a general climate of trust and confidence in Europe.

III.Areas for Consultation and/or Cooperation between NATO and Ukraine

5. Reaffirming the common goal of implementation of a broad range of issues for consultation and cooperation, NATO and Ukraine commit themselves to develop and strengthen their consultation and/or cooperation in the areas described below. In this regard, NATO and Ukraine reaffirm their commitment to the full development of the EAPC and the enhanced PfP. This includes Ukrainian participation in operations, including peacekeeping operations, on a case-by-case basis, under the authority of the UN Security Council, or the responsibility of the OSCE, and, if CJTF are used in such cases, Ukrainian participation in them at an early stage on a case-by-case basis, subject to North Atlantic Council decisions on specific operations.

6. Consultations between NATO and Ukraine will cover issues of common concern, such as:

  • political and security related subjects, in particular the development of Euroatlantic security and stability; including the security of Ukraine;

  • conflict prevention, crisis management, peace-support, conflict resolution and humanitarian operations, taking into account the roles of the United Nations and the OSCE in this field;

  • the political and defence aspects of nuclear, biological and chemical non-proliferation;

  • disarmament and arms control issues, including those related to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty); the Open Skies Treaty and confidence and security building measures in the 1994 Vienna Document;

  • arms exports and related technology transfers;

  • combatting drug-trafficking and terrorism.

7. Areas for consultation and cooperation, in particular through joint seminars, joint working groups, and other cooperative programmes, will cover a broad range of topics, such as:

  • civil emergency planning, and disaster preparedness;

  • civil-military relations, democratic control of the armed forces, and Ukrainian defence reform;

  • defence planning, budgeting, policy, strategy and national security concepts;

  • defence conversion;

  • NATO-Ukraine military cooperation and interoperability;

  • economic aspects of security;

  • science and technology issues;

  • environmental security issues, including nuclear safety;

  • aerospace research and development, through AGARD;

  • civil-military coordination of air traffic management and control.

8. In addition, NATO and Ukraine will explore to the broadest possible degree the following areas for cooperation:

  • armaments cooperation (beyond the existing CNAD dialogue);

  • military training, including PfP exercises on Ukrainian territory and NATO support for the Polish-Ukrainian peacekeeping battalion;

  • promotion of defence cooperation between Ukraine and its neighbours.

9. Other areas for consolation and cooperation may be added, by mutual agreement, on the basis of experience gained.

10. Given the importance of information activities to improve reciprocal knowledge and understanding, NATO has established an Information and Documentation Centre in Kyiv. The Ukrainian side will provide its full support to the operation of the Centre in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between NATO and the Government of Ukraine signed at Kyiv on 7 May 1997.

IV.Practical Arrangements for Consultation and Cooperation between NATO and Ukraine

11. Consultation and cooperation as set out in this Charter will be implemented through:

  • NATO-Ukraine meetings at the level of the North Atlantic Council at intervals to be mutually agreed;

  • NATO-Ukraine meetings with appropriate NATO Committees as mutually agreed;

  • reciprocal high level visits;

  • mechanisms for military cooperation, including periodic meetings with NATO Chiefs of Defence and activities within the framework of the enhanced Partnership for Peace programme;

  • a military liaison mission of Ukraine will be established as part of a Ukrainian mission to NATO in Brussels. NATO retains the right reciprocally to establish a NATO military liaison mission in Kyiv.

Meetings will normally take place at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. Under exceptional circumstances, they may be convened elsewhere, including in Ukraine, as mutually agreed. Meetings, as a rule, will take place on the basis of an agreed calendar.

12. NATO and Ukraine consider their relationship as an evolving, dynamic process. To ensure that they are developing their relationship and implementing the provisions of this Charter to the fullest extent possible, the North Atlantic Council will periodically meet with Ukraine as the NATO-Ukraine Commission, as a rule not less than twice a year. The NATO-Ukraine Commission will not duplicate the functions of other mechanisms described in this Charter, but instead would meet to assess broadly the implementation of the relationship, survey planning for the future, and suggest ways to improve or further develop cooperation between NATO and Ukraine.

13. NATO and Ukraine will encourage expanded dialogue and cooperation between the North Atlantic Assembly and the Verkhovna Rada.

V.Cooperation for a More Secure Europe

14. NATO Allies will continue to support Ukrainian sovereignty and independence, territorial integrity, democratic development, economic prosperity and its status as a non-nuclear weapons state, and the principle of inviolability of frontiers, as key factors of stability and security in Central and Eastern Europe and in the continent as a whole.

15. NATO and Ukraine will develop a crisis consultative mechanism to consult together whenever Ukraine perceives a direct threat to its territorial integrity, political independence, or security.

16. NATO welcomes and supports the fact that Ukraine received security assurances from all five nuclear-weapon states parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a non-nuclear weapons state party to the NPT, and recalls the commitments undertaken by the United States and the United Kingdom, together with Russia, and by France unilaterally, which took the historic decision in Budapest in 1994 to provide Ukraine with security assurances as a non-nuclear weapons state party to the NPT.

Ukraine's landmark decision to renounce nuclear weapons and to accede to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state greatly contributed to the strengthening of security and stability in Europe and has earned Ukraine special stature in the world community. NATO welcomes Ukraine's decision to support the indefinite extension of the NPT and its contribution to the withdrawal and dismantlement of nuclear weapons which were based on its territory.

Ukraine's strengthened cooperation with NATO will enhance and deepen the political dialogue between Ukraine and the members of the Alliance on a broad range of security matters, including on nuclear issues. This will contribute to the improvement of the overall security environment in Europe.

17. NATO and Ukraine note the entry into force of the CFE Flank Document on 15 May 1997. NATO and Ukraine will continue to cooperate on issues of mutual interest such as CFE adaptation. NATO and Ukraine intend to improve the operation of the CFE treaty in a changing environment and, through that, the security of each state party, irrespective of whether it belongs to political-military alliance. They share the view that the presence of foreign troops on the territory of a participating state must be in conformity with international law, the freely expressed consent of the host state or a relevant decision of the United Nations Security Council.

18. Ukraine welcomes the statement by NATO members that "enlarging the Alliance will not require a change in NATO's current nuclear posture and, therefore, NATO countries have no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new members nor any need to change any aspect of NATO's nuclear posture or nuclear policy - and do not foresee any future need to do so.

19. NATO member States and Ukraine will continue fully to implement all agreements on disarmament, nonproliferation and arms control and confidence building measures they are part of.

The present Charter takes effect upon its signature.

The present Charter is established in two originals in the English, French and Ukrainian languages, all three texts having equal validity.

Signed at, ......................... on .......................

For NATO For Ukraine

The Secretary General The President of


of NATO Ukraine


"TASK FORCE 16+1" developing a comprehensive approach for NATO-Russia relations

What is the purpose of "Task Force 16+1"?

"Task Force 16+1" is a body of independent researchers from the U.S., European countries and Russia. The project has been made possible through the generous support of the Ford Foundation. Its major goal is to develop a comprehensive approach to review and analyze major aspects of Russia-NATO relations. Task-Force 16+1 works on the assumption that Russia-NATO relations are the centerpiece of policy decisions to be made with regard to the creation of a European Security Architecture for the 21st century.

The signing of the "Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation" on May 27 and NATO's decision on which countries to invite for membership negotiations do not mark the final stages of the creation of a European security architecture. They are rather the starting points in the development of such a system. During the remaining years of the 20th century the main parameters will be set for the mid- to long-term structures of European Security.

"Task Force 16+1" promotes the creation of a European Security Architecture that is inclusive rather than exclusive. The danger of new division lines through Europe has not yet been averted. NATO-enlargement will remain on the agenda of European security policies for a long time. The relation between the existing security institutions is still in a state of flux, opening up possibilities for influencing this process.

The outcome of these interlocking discussion processes will be decisive for the future of European security. Either Russia and the NATO 16 member states will collectively find constructive solutions to the European security dilemmas of the 21st century or they will end up in interblocking discussions. Failing to develop a joint and constructive approach is likely to result in some new type of confrontational behavior between Russia and NATO. Succeeding in finding a collective approach might well help to secure cooperation and stability in the North. However, this might only be achieved at the expense of the countries of the South.

What does "Task Force 16+1" do?

"Task Force 16+1" works on the assumption that both NATO and Russia should be publicly engaged in discussing their relationship as cooperatively as possible. Task-Force 16+1 monitors the different discussion and negotiating fora involved in developing the Russia-NATO dialogue. It develops alternative policy proposals to be used publicly to influence Russia-NATO relations. Finally, the major task for Task Force 16+1 is to develop a detailed proposal to monitor and constructively engage the Russia-NATO dialogue through the decisive years to come.

"Task Force 16+1" brings together independent researchers from the U.S., European countries and Russia to jointly conduct the following tasks:

  • monitor the official discussion processes to discuss Russia-NATO relations, such as the 16+1 process, negotiations on modernizing CFE or developing a CFE-2 treaty, negotiations aiming at the development of a START-III framework agreement, possible bilateral US-Russian talks on tactical nuclear weapons;

  • monitor negotiations dealing with NATO-enlargement;

  • analyze the strengths and weaknesses of these processes;

  • propose alternative approaches and solutions;

  • develop a well recognized and highly visible body of experts to complement official negotiations;

  • create a group of high level persons, joining the researchers occasionally and supporting the Task-Force 16+1 approach.

The basic aim of "Task Force 16+1" is to promote the idea of basing the Russia-NATO dialogue on the principles and needs of collective and/or common security rather than on the principles of a system of collective defense.

"Task Force 16+1" creates public and political awareness to the fact that even though deepening Russia-NATO relations has been subject to constant political rhetoric since 1990/91, there is an urgent need for:

  • adding a fresh approach to strengthen Europe's options to develop collective and/or common security,

  • promoting further steps of nuclear and conventional arms control as a consequence of the end of the cold war and supporting restraints in arms exports,

  • adding more flexibility in politico-military decision-making

  • and furthering adaptability to change.

Who is "Task Force 16+1"?

The core group consist of a small number of research offices and researchers. It will fulfills three basic tasks. Firstly, it will initiate monitoring Russia-NATO relations and the negotiations influencing these relations. Secondly, it will identify policy proposals to be made and a strategy for having impact on politics. Thirdly, it will develop the proposal for the main and realization-phase for Task Force 16+1.

During the initial phase of the project, 1997, the participants to the core group of "Task Force 16+1" are:

  • Otfried Nassauer, Oliver Meier, Berlin Information-center for Transatlantic Security (BITS), Berlin;

  • Dr. Dmitri Trenin, Carnegie Centre, Moscow;

  • Dan Plesch, Tasos Kokkinides, British American Security Information Council (BASIC), Washington, D.C., London;

  • Martin Butcher, Centre for European Security and Disarmament (CESD), Brussels.

BITS Berlin Information-center for Transatlantic Security

Rykestr. 13, D-10405 Berlin, Germany, ph: +49 30 441 0220, fax: +49 30 441 0221

The project is co-ordinated by BITS. To contact "Task Force 16+1" please get in touch with us.