Upcoming Events 2020
US-UA Security Dialogue XI
Washington, DC
March 5, 2020 
New York City
April 30, 2020
US-UA WG Yearly Summit VIII
New York City [Webcasting]
June 17-18, 2020

US-UA Energy Dialogue SE
Washington DC [Webcasting]
June 29, 2020 
UA HES Special Event:
Ukrainians in 1945/75th 
Year Retrospective 
Ukrainian Institute of America
September 26, 2020 
Washington, DC
October 22, 2020
PL-LT-UA Relations
Chicago, IL 
November 14, 2020 


CUSUR 2016 - Project I
US-UA “Working Group” Initiative

The US-Ukraine “Working Group” Initiative was launched in 2007 in order to secure an array of experts in "areas of interest” for CUSUR and its various forums/proceedings; at the same time, it was hoped that the ‘experts’ might agree to write a series of ‘occasional papers’ to identify “major issues” impacting on US-Ukrainian relations.
CUSUR 2017 - Project II
Publication Efforts

Recognizing the urgent need to set up proper channels for the maximum circulation of the information/analysis CUSUR possessed or had at its disposal, the Center long focused on having ‘a publication presence’ of some form or another.
CUSUR 2019 - Project III
DC Occasional Briefings Series

CUSUR did not turn its attention to having a DC presence until summer 2012. Borrowing space when the need arose (particularly for various forum steering committees meetings) from the American Foreign Policy Council, its longest abiding partner, seemed to suffice; an Acela ride from the Center’s NY office did the rest. If there was a concern, it was to open an office in Kyiv.
Ukrainian Perspective on UA's NATO Accession Process (keynote)

Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood Roundtable VII:
"Ukraine and NATO Membership"

Ukraine’s NATO Accession Process—The Ukrainian Perspective

Volodymyr Khandohiy

Keynote address by Volodymyr Khandohiy, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine, delivered during Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood Roundtable VII: "Ukraine and NATO Membership" Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington DC, October 17, 2006.

Thank you very much Oleh. First of all, I would like to thank the organizers of this conference for bringing us together for a very important issue. I see some old friends in this audience from the Ukrainian American community and I would like to greet them. I would also like to greet so many of the distinguished individuals who contributed greatly to the development of United States-Ukraine relations that I see in the hall. I have noticed here today a number of former US ambassadors to Ukraine; I would like to greet them in particular. Thank you very much and a deep appreciation goes to the organizers again for making sure that everyone was present for the conference, which is an very important event.

For me personally, it is an important event, since, as Oleh mentioned, I have been privileged to serve as an ambassador to NATO for more than five years, I have been the representative of NATO in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and now, as Deputy Foreign Minister, I'm likewise dealing with issues concerning NATO-Ukraine relations. So this issue is of importance and very deep professional interests for me as well.

Looking back into the history of Ukraine's NATO relations, one cannot but say that we have a very profound, long history and very rich history. The record of our relations is really impressive. A resume with the Alliance includes twelve years experience in the favorable Partnership for Peace program—that is since 1994, six years experience in the framework of the NATO Ukraine Charter under a Distinctive Partnership—since Madrid summit of 1997, and four years of practical cooperation within the framework of the Action Plan and annual Target Plans— since the Prague summit of 2004.

In April last year, we opened up yet another chapter in our relations though our partnership, mainly an effort to intensify dialogue on Ukraine's membership aspirations and the reforms that would be necessary to achieve it. This format of relations was necessary for us in order to focus NATO support on Ukraine's reform goals, but it was also an important opportunity for the Ukrainian authorities and indeed for the Ukrainian people to learn more about NATO as an organization—about its goals and principles and about Ukraine's future place in the alliance.

The decision to launch an intensified dialogue was of crucial importance. It was a signal that all of the NATO allies recognized Ukraine's aspiration to join the alliance as a legitimate one and were committed, individually and collectively, to help Ukraine achieve that goal. One wonders why we were so eager to attain that intensified dialogue. I can answer that question simply by saying that we had been earlier privileged to have special relations with NATO or relations that were distinctive. Apparently, as it normally happens when you have special relations, it is something that is forever. For instance, I can draw a parallel with the so-called EU neighborhood policy with Ukraine, which is designed for those countries that would never be members of the European Union, since neighbors are forever. In our view, special, distinguished relations that are specifically tailored and designed for a particular country is something that will not bring those countries to real membership. That's why the shift from the distinctive partnership—and such is the format that is in NATO books, was very important and now we are pursuing our relations within a new framework, quite satisfied with a fact that the Intensified Dialogue turned into the practical process of substantive consultations that Ukraine and NATO used to achieve a better understanding of the requirements and expectations of each other in the context of strategic course towards membership in the alliance.

Much has been done since April 2005. In various areas of our county’s development, let me mention several benchmarks against which one can judge Ukraine's performance in reaching membership criteria.

It is clear that Ukraine made significant steps towards Euro Atlantic standards of democratic government, government strengthening civil society, shared values, free and fair elections. We have likewise had positive results in defense reform and we are on the right track in the security sector. Here I would like to refer to very recent meeting of NATO and Ukraine defense ministers in Tirana that was a very important one; during that meeting, NATO defense ministers recognized the performance of Ukraine and the progress that Ukraine has reached in the pursuing needed changes in the defense and security sector. Positive results have been found also in the fight against corruption and de-shadowing of the economy.

Certainly there are some problems, drawbacks and shortcomings, for example, in spite of some obvious steps forward, with regard to ensuring the independence and strengthening of judicial authorities. This area is widely recognized as one that needs further progress. At the same time we are quite confident in our ability to bring our judicial system in line with European standards in the nearest future.

Over the early part of last year, some negative tendencies developed in the economic field, namely slow down of economic growth and flow of investments. However, lessons have been learned and there are already obvious signs the Ukrainian government has managed to take the situation under control and started improving it. The latter effort consisted of the creation of the more favorable and transparent environments for business as well as needed reforms of the tax system. I can only say, despite all the political discussion and turbulence that continue to go on in Ukraine, the level of the economic growth was recently cited at a figure of 6% and that is quite an important development. The government also has been working hard to achieve rapid WTO accession. As we know now, the government has introduced to the parliament the necessary draft laws and we expect those draft laws to be adopted very soon in order to enable us to become a WTO member by the end of this year.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in the summer of this year a new coalition government led by Prime Minister Viktor Yanykovych was formed in Ukraine as a result of democratic parliamentary elections. The country is now going through a period of active political dialogue related mostly to the transition to a parliamentary-presidential model. Let me touch upon recent developments in terms of Ukraine's policy towards NATO.

On September 14, the Prime Minister visited NATO headquarters to participate in the NATO-Ukraine Commission meeting. Viktor Yanykovych clearly highlighted Ukraine's government priorities vis-a-vis the alliance. Among them, I would like to mention the following: the strategic course towards NATO membership remains unchanged, as does the continuation of democratic reforms. Ukraine is dedicated to implementing civilian and democratic control over the military, promoting good neighborly relations, including with Russia—which should benefit all countries in Euro Atlantic area, strengthening the alliance’s ability to contribute to European and international security by participation of Ukraine's military in NATO-led peace keeping and anti terrorist operations, putting into effect an entire range of practical NATO Ukraine projects and, what is extremely important, intensifying public awareness campaign and creation in Ukraine of a positive NATO image.

At the same time, the PM's critical point, which caught the attention of Ukraine's, and indeed, the international mass media, was that Ukraine's government proposed to temporarily postpone the issue of upgrading NATO-Ukraine relationship up to the level of Membership Action Plan because of low public support. Given the fact that in February 2005, at the NATO Ukraine Brussels summit, President Yushchenko clearly expressed Ukraine's aspirations for NATO membership and our strong will to join MAP, the current position of the coalition as presented by the government remains the subject of internal political discussion.

It should be specially noted that there are no principle divergences between president and the prime minister on the strategic goals… I would like to emphasis this point… that is, on the strategic perspective goal of Ukraine's foreign policy and aspirations for NATO membership. But, due to different political platforms, the two sides have different technical visions on the time frame work on Ukraine's readiness to join NATO's Membership Action Plan and on the holding of a referendum on the issue. There is admittedly, I would say, no unanimity as yet among the Ukraine’s political activists with regard to the tactics in further advancing our relationship with NATO at this juncture. In view of this, our major challenge today is to succeed in forming a firm consensus on Ukraine's NATO perspectives among the Ukraine political forces on the basis of national unity pact, the Universal, as you know. Once this consensus is reached, the issue about joining MAP, which would then get a new impulse to the overall discussion on NATO membership for Ukraine, will become rather technical. While such discussion is under way, we continue to focus particular attention on a NATO awareness program and practical operations likewise remain a priority.

Now what kind of a strategy should be adopted in this situation? In my view the answer is lies in essentially four dimensions, namely: the political, the Parliamentary, the public and, of course, the practical.

First, the political dimension… and that means intra Ukrainian political dialogue. I'm convinced that the political dialogue between major activists of Ukraine's political process, first of all, the leading political parties and their members and associates, should be strengthened. Special attention should be paid, in this regard, to explaining to the politicians the true nature of NATO as an organization, about its goals and principles and Ukraine's possible place in it, including possibilities which would be opened for Ukraine.

Next, the Parliamentary dimension… this means intensification of inter Parliamentary dialogue with the members of parliaments of NATO countries, especially from new NATO member states. By this, I mean, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, others new members. The political forces as we all know, even from the left spectrum, managed to find a consensus on the issue of NATO and the EU membership. This evident example could be applied to Ukraine.

Third, the public dimension… that means, in my view, intensification of the information policy, first and foremost. Ukraine realizes the need to enhance significantly its information activities related to NATO-Ukraine cooperation. For the government of Ukraine, conducting an information campaign is the main priority regarding the Euro Atlantic integration process. The government of Ukraine intends to achieve transparency and understanding about NATO within the Ukrainian society. We have started the deliberation of a national information strategy on the issues of Euro Atlantic integration of Ukraine. Our strategic priority is winning the minds of Ukrainians. Interested NGOs, think tanks, journalists and experts from new NATO member states have devised a set of measures to reinforce and strengthen and streamline the NATO communication campaign in Ukraine. Special attention is going to be paid to raise public awareness at the regional level. I would like to emphasize, in this connection, that it not a brainwashing campaign about how good NATO is. More than anything else, it is about bringing objective information to the population and ending old stereotypes about NATO as an aggressive bloc. So now you can positively present NATO and US decisions to assist Ukraine in this endeavor.

Lastly, in the practical dimension… cooperation means that, despite a continuing political debate, Ukraine remains committed to robust and effective partnership with the alliance. Ukraine continues to do more and more serious work with NATO… under the NATO-Ukraine Intensified Dialogue… on membership questions and related reforms, by de facto introducing NATO standards into Ukraine's politics, economy, security and defense.

Ukraine remains fully committed to the fight against terrorism by participation in NATO’s Operation Active Endeavour, together with Russia. Ukraine remains a contributor to KFOR, to NATO's training mission in Iraq and stands ready to contribute to NATO's logistic support of African unity in Darfur, Sudan. Ukraine is interested in engaging in the postwar reconstruction in Afghanistan. We are ready for the discussions concerning practical aspects of our involvement in NATO international security assistance forces, transit agreements and provincial reconstruction teams, PRT activities. Recent parliamentary decisions to ratify Ukraine NATO memorandum on strategic air lift has become a major development in further advancing our joint efforts in strengthening this decisive dimension of the alliances capabilities.

To summarize, I would like to say, that at this moment, we are planning the following: to strengthen and streamline political dialogue and public awareness campaign as number one, to continue step by step policy of “rapproachment” with the alliance, to remain a strong contributor to Euro Atlantic security and NATO defense, to continue a wide range reform process, including reforms in political, economic, defense and security areas.

This is a test that requires much work and commitment to reforms. If we are successful in these systemic efforts, then the question of joining MAP is just a matter of time. I am sure that Ukraine did not lose a chance to move ahead and join the alliance. How quickly it will be done depends first and foremost on Ukraine itself. But US support and the support of other countries cannot be overestimated in this regard. We hope that the NATO open door policy will remain a corner stone of the alliance’s relationship with Ukraine and other countries for the future. In our meeting today and throughout the conference, we look forward to hearing more about what we can do collectively to further enhance our cooperation with NATO and, ultimately, Ukraine's success is in our common interest. Thank you for your attention.


Past Highlight Events

RT XVII Items of Note
Highlights from Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood RT XVII: Ukraine & Religious Freedom, held in Washington, DC on Oct. 27, 2016
UA HES SE: UA 25th B-Day
Highlights from UA HES Special Event: 'Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Modern Ukrainian State', held at the NY Princeton Club on Sept. 17, 2016
US-UA WG YS IV Highlights
Highlights from US-UA WG Yearly Summit IV: Providing Ukraine with an Annual Report Card, held at the University Club in Washington, DC on June 16, 2016
US-UA SD VII Items of Note
Highlights from US-Ukraine Security Dialogue VII held on February 25, 2016 in Washington DC
UA HES SE: WW2 Legacy
Highlights from the UA Historical Encounters Special Event: 'Contested Ground': The Legacy of WW2 in Eastern Europe, held in Edmonton on October 23-24, 2015
Holodomor SE Highlights
Highlights from the UA Historical Encounters Special Event: Taking Measure of the Holodomor, held at the Princeton Club of NY on November 5-6, 2013
US-UA SD III Items of Note
Highlights from US-Ukraine Security Dialogue III held on May 19, 2012 in Chicago, IL

  • Former UA Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko's keynote
UEAF Forum VI Highlights
Highlights from UEAF Forum VI, held in Ottawa, Canada on March 7-8, 2012
RT XII Items of Note
Highlights from Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood RT XII: PL-UA & TR-UA, held in Washington, DC on Oct 19–20, 2011
US-UA ED III Items of Note
Highlights from US-Ukraine Energy Dialogue III, held in Washington DC
on April 15-16, 2008
© 2020 CUSUR—Center for US Ukrainian Relations