Ukraine's View on European Security Issues
Ukrainian First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Boris Tarasyuk

The year 1995 has seen remarkable progress in the development of fruitful cooperation between the Alliance and its Partners--the new European democracies. The Partnership for Peace (PFP) program is becoming one of the most effective and successful cooperative security programs in modern history. As a result of the program's implementation, the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) framework has been widened, one aspect only of PFP's great potential. In addition, the Russian Federation's decision to approve an Individual Partnership Program has widened and deepened its dialogue with NATO, a situation that is most welcome.


Ukraine is making every effort to strengthen stability and security in Europe and to build a comprehensive and inclusive all-European security system. We are one of the most active NACC participants; we strongly supported the launching of the PFP program and were among the first to sign its Framework Document. We wish to be not only a recipient of cooperative security efforts but also a contributor to them. Mr. Leonid Kuchma, President of Ukraine, made our commitment very clear during his substantive and fruitful talks with Secretary General Claes at the NATO Headquarters meeting in early June.

The most important issue raised at the talks was the present and future of the Ukraine-NATO relationship. We consider this relationship to be of special significance to the future of European stability, to security in general, and to the current discussion on the enlargement of the Alliance. Since many believe that, in order to secure its stability, Europe should remain undivided, Ukraine's relationship with NATO and also the NATO/Russia dialogue have a unique part in the general European security debate.


The issue of NATO's possible enlargement is a crucial one from Ukraine's perspective. Ukraine has never in principle renounced the idea of enlargement as a future option. In our opinion, the decision on enlargement must be based on a "no veto" principle, which must be the choice of the Alliance and the applicant countries.

A "no veto" formula, however, should not be exercised without taking into account the security concerns of those parties whose stability may be affected. For Ukraine, that means practical implementation of principles of inclusiveness and of comprehensiveness of security in an undivided Europe. A situation under which dividing lines are changed in a new geopolitical framework may be the most undesirable development for European cohesiveness, stability, and security.

Today the overall security situation in Europe includes the coexistence of NATO and the Tashkent Collective Security Treaty. Conditions for this coexistence are not clear at this time. Ukraine, while not a part of the Tashkent arrangement, is promoting bilateral ties with CIS member-states. The fact that Ukraine may find itself in the position of "buffer state" between an expanded Alliance and the Tashkent arrangements is a point of special concern.

The clear-cut interest of Ukraine's neighbors to the West to acquire NATO membership should make the Alliance reconsider thoroughly its role in modern Europe. Ukraine believes that this role should evolve from a collective-defense type of system to a collective-security type of institution, the nucleus of a future all-European security system. Our country wishes to participate fully in such a future system.

The decision on enlarging NATO should not be a hasty one. Ukraine hopes that in the process of defining new-member criteria, the Alliance will take into account the interests of a future united Europe and, in so doing, upgrade confidence on the grounds of strict respect for territorial integrity, existing borders, and minority rights. For a period of time, "who" and "when" issues should not be at the forefront for two reasons: (1) to avoid political instability in post-communist states and to encourage their rapid transition to open, democratic societies, and also (2) to secure more time for the evolution of NATO's new role. During this interim period, attention should be focused on the effective implementation of the PFP program, the full potential of which has not yet been exploited.


The relationship between Ukraine and NATO and between Russia and NATO should not be overlooked when discussing NATO's future in a new European security environment. While these relationships may seem to have similarities, they do vary in some important aspects, particularly in Ukraine's "non-great-power" posture. Ukraine's stance is that it is nonproductive to work toward ensuring a new security architecture in Europe without Russia.

With its specific geographical, military, and political position within Europe, Ukraine must widen the scope of its relations with the Alliance, and vice versa. A formal relationship between NATO and Ukraine would definitely play an important role in the Alliance's evolutionary development, since our nation of 52 million has broad security interests and one of the biggest military potentials on the continent. The time has come to work on a new, wider relationship between Ukraine and NATO, which will require a special scope of cooperation beyond the framework of PFP and NACC. Developing NATO-Ukraine ties should not be confused with deepening the Russia-NATO dialogue.


As a natural part of Central and Eastern Europe and also one of the successor states to the former Soviet Union, Ukraine is paying great attention to creating a stable, friendly external environment for implementing the crucial internal task of transforming into an open, democratic society with a market-oriented economy. Developing both closer and mutually beneficial ties with Russia and our immediate neighbors in Central and Eastern Europe, in the Baltic and Black Sea regions, as well as gradually and coherently expanding relations with the West, are therefore high Ukrainian priorities. An enhanced Ukrainian relationship with the West should not be understood as an alternative to friendly cooperation with all its neighbors.

Ukraine is very much interested in a relationship with NATO that would include both regular and formalized political and military ties, security consultations on a systematic basis, and direct participation in NATO organizations that deal with specific activities of relevant interest to Ukraine. Such a relationship would embrace the "16 + 1" principle, keep future options open, and not infringe on any country's security interests. This new Ukraine-NATO dialogue and relationship should be an inseparable part of the new, developing European security architecture.

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