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March 5, 2020 
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US-UA Energy Dialogue SE
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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.
Pondering UA’s Future Course re. NATO Membership

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

Pondering Ukraine’s Future Course with Regard to NATO Membership
Present State of Affairs and a View to the Future

Petro V. Kanana

Plenary remarks by Petro V. Kanana, Assistant to the Minister of Defense 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 18, 2006.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to thank the Organizers for inviting me to participate in Round Table #7 to discuss Ukraine’s possible NATO Accession, the current status of the process and whether it should be called “Fast Track”, Slow Track” or “On Hold”.

In my relatively short presentation, I will try to present some indicators of the present state of affairs in Ukraine’s Road to NATO in the context of developments at the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Before I provide you with one more assessment in addition to the previous speakers’ ones, I would like to remind you of a scientific fact. Mathematicians recently carried out an analysis of world literature and discovered that there exist only 12 basic plots. Whether a book becomes a best-seller thus depends primarily on the talent of the writer, who will take one of the twelve plots and apply it to the situation of his time. I dare say that all the esteemed diplomats, politicians, governmental and non-governmental experts assembled here today are generally aware of what has been happening in Ukraine since the disintegration of the Soviet Union. I think that during our two-day discussions, we have learned lessons of the successes of the new Allies. These tools can make the Ukrainian story a happy one as well. For this to happen, however, we must keep in mind their experiences while not forgetting Ukrainian realities.

In this context, I would call to mind NATO’s creation in 1991 of the NACC and its historical decision in 1994 to launch the NATO/PfP Program for the countries of the former Soviet Empire and Warsaw Pact. These initiatives were the tools to help willing countries learn the basics of democracy, the means of creating Civil Society and the procedures of Democratic and Civilian control over the Security and Defense sector to manage resources more efficiently and transparently.

In 1991, the fragments of the Soviet Union’s military machine left behind in Ukraine included components of 5 services (Strategic Nuclear Missiles, Land Forces, Air Force, Air Defence Force, and Navy. Altogether these forces comprised a total of about 780 000 personnel and encompassed 1 missile army, 3 combined-arms armies, 2 tank armies, 1 army corps (land forces), 4 air force armies, a separate ADF army and the Black Sea Fleet). Over the years since independence Ukraine has substantially reduced its Armed Forces. Now we have only 3 services (Army, Air Force, Navy) and at the end of 2006 our Armed Forces will have only 221 000 personnel. Thus the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been reduced by more than 3 times in the space of 15 years.

Why did Ukraine do this?

It is clear for us present here today that one reason was the lack of resources provided by every Ukrainian government for sustaining and developing the Armed Forces. Yet another one was clearly linked to the external institutional environment. In joining NACC and PfP, Ukraine began to actively participate in consultations and cooperation with NATO Allies and PfP Partners, creating in the process a situation that allowed us to reduce the Armed Forces without creating a risk to the country’s security.

Our cooperation with the Alliance helps us address the practical problems that face our country and our Armed Forces. That is why Ukraine has been steadily increasing the quantity and quality of our cooperation with NATO. This was not always clear to our tax-payers, however, because some political parties (e.g. Communist, Socialist, Progressive Socialist parties) chose to speculate on Soviet stereotypes. Assessing their actions, one can conclude that they do not care about Ukrainian National interests, but are rather pursuing the interests of our Big Northern Neighbor. Currently these parties make up only a small percentage of seats in the Verkhovna Rada, our Parliament, but they are part of the Parliamentary сoalition that forms the Government. This is the first challenge we are faced with.

The second challenge is to find the right direction of our Euro-Atlantic course.

Reforms in Ukrainian society in general and in the Armed Forces in particular have been, to quote Hrihoriy Perepelytsia: “Inefficient also because of the unclear political course.” (Hrihoriy Perepelytsia, National security and defense #8,2004, p.20)

The close and fruitful cooperation with NATO in the political and other spheres has made clear the importance of the Alliance to the national security of Ukraine. Therefore, it was only logical that on 19 June 2003 the Verkhovna Rada adopted the Law of Ukraine “On the Foundations of the National Security of Ukraine”, which stated that one of directions of State policy is support of Ukraine’s participation in European and in regional systems of collective security, including accession to the EU and NATO.

Even generals with a Soviet background started, if slowly, to understand that Ukraine should not be a neutral country, but take part in collective security architecture building. The Former Defense Minister, Army General of Ukraine Kuzmuk, expressed his views on what the Armed Forces of Ukraine have to be prepared for: “It is necessary to note also that we have spent a lot of time talking about neutrality, although it is clear now that the future of Ukraine is within the system of collective security.” (National security and defense № 8,2004, page 26). Another former Minister of Defense, Yevhen Marchuk, stated that: “In addition to the merely practical tasks of defining perspectives for Ukraine’s Armed Forces for 2015, this process (Defense Review-P.K.) has a profound political meaning, since it has occurred simultaneously with Ukraine’s official announcement of its political course towards NATO integration.” Thus, by 2002 with the signing of the Action Plan at NATO’s Prague summit, Ukraine’s political course was at last determined to the point where the authorities of Executive power, including the Ministry of Defence, could develop distinct plans.

Regarding to Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense’s activities, the new Minister of Defense Anatoliy Hrytsenko has noted that: “The new political course of our country towards seeking NATO accession is leading the way in progressing the reforms of the defense sector, according to internationally accepted standards.” (White Book 2005/ Ukraine’s Defence Policy). Thus, the plans of the Armed Forces’ development, according to the State Program were designed taking into account Ukraine’s participation in the NATO/PfP Program and the goals of Annual Target Plans in 2003, 2004, 2005 in the framework of the NATO-Ukraine Action Plan, which I could call “the training period” before joining the Membership Action Plan (MAP).

As for MAP, Minister of Defense Hrytsenko has noted that: “As the Minister and as a citizen, I can firmly say: everything that is written down in this Plan is what we Ukrainians need first of all. Moreover, irrespective of whether we become a NATO member or not, an effective economy and competitiveness, efficient laws and judicial authority, an effective electoral system, strong army and socially protected servicemen are indispensable to all of us. And all of these things are included in MAP. All these things exist in the Plan. They are guaranteed within the EU and NATO and we must develop them as well”. ( HYPERLINK

These are the circumstances in which the Ministry of Defense - with assistance of NATO and Allies - has been striving to implement the reforms in the Ministry and in the Armed Forces. Myriad projects have been launched together with the Alliance: the NATO/PfP Trust Fund II for disposal of surplus munitions, expert assistance on the clean-up of the Novobogdanivka depot, help in improving munitions safety and management to prevent future accidents, the Professional Development Programme to improve abilities of civilian personnel in the MoD, the Project of Adaptation and Resettlement of retired personnel, and much, much more.

I would like to stress that cooperation with NATO has helped Ukraine transform its military from a massive, tank-heavy force prepared for WWII to a force that is able to meet today’s risks and challenges and is a substantial contributor to international security and stability. And today Ukraine is not only a consumer of, but an increasingly important contributor to regional and world security. This is one more challenge for us.

Participation of military units and personnel in operations around the globe has created favourable conditions to form Ukraine’s positive image in the World Community. The servicemen of Ukraine’s Armed Forces take part in NATO-led and EU-led Peace Support Operations (Crisis Response Operations-CROs), as well in the UN and the OSCE-led initiatives (in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Mediterranean Sea and Iraq). The President of Ukraine has commended the more than 28000 servicemen who have gained the experience of participating in peace-keeping operations. In Iraq, for example, the Ukrainian contingent was the only one which could complete training of a brigade with 2700 servicemen for the Armed Forces of Iraq. Ukraine has provided its strategic airlift capabilities in the framework of NATO operations and exercise to several Allies: the UK, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, the USA, France, the Czech Republic, Romania. More than 800 flights were carried out by aircrafts of ASTC "Antonov" in the interests of the NATO members since 2001. 130 flights by IL-76 aircrafts of the State enterprise of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine "UATC" were made including transportation of peace-keeping contingents and military cargoes of a multinational brigade SEEBrig in January – February of this year (392 servicemen and 395 tons of cargo).

As the Ministry of Defense in any country might, we also face the Budgetary Challenge.

I would like to emphasize that all plans for development of the Armed Forces of Ukraine 2006-2011 are based on the projections of the budget, provided by the Cabinet of Ministries of Ukraine to the Ministry of Defense. In 2005, the Ministry of Defence, jointly with the Ministry of Finance, started to develop the modern, effective, scientifically proved mechanism of budgetary planning to ensure transparency of budget drafting and spending. (White Book/ page 101). On October 25, 2005, speaking about financial development of the Armed Forces, Chief of the General Staff – Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel General S. Kirichenko noted that according to the projections of the Cabinet of Ministries, the Defense budget for 2007 will have 10 billion UAH. In light of such a level of financing, one can state that we are making the step forward from a maintenance budget to a development budget. (HYPERLINK

On September 26, 2006 the question was posed as to whether resources still exist to implement the defined plans. The answer is that we at the Ministry of Defense have to wait for the first reading of the draft Budget for 2007 and, in parallel, do everything in our power to ensure that the State Program is implemented to the high possible extent.

In addition, I would like to mention that NATO-Ukraine cooperation has already helped Ukraine widen reforms beyond defense and has helped put security sector reform, building democratic institutions, judicial reform, economic reforms and anti-corruption firmly on the political agenda. Therefore, I can once more stress that moving to MAP would only strengthen this positive effect. I trust that our politicians, at least the majority in the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament), will understand that we have to continue those reforms not because it is requested by NATO and EU, but because it is needed by UKRAINE.

All the above mentioned considerations show that the so- called “Fast Track” is the most preferable variant for Ukraine, because the new generation of Ukrainians should have democratic values in their lifetime despite the lack of understanding from the old, Soviet-educated generation.

Unfortunately, the “Slow Track” is likely to continue as long as the Communists and Socialists are in the parliamentarian and governmental coalition. I would love to be wrong, but the recent events surrounding Tuzla, Feodosia, Psy-Ops about CIA Camps in Ukraine, as well as Leonid Kravchuk’s words about KGB agents in the Ukrainian Parliament show that some members of the Parliament are being manipulated by our Big Northern Neighbor and are preventing our country from working for the Ukrainian people.

“On Hold” – is nonsense, to use the most diplomatic language, because Ukraine clearly needs reforms in the security sector and non-military spheres as well.

Having said that, I would like to conclude that there is no magic potion for making a country democratic and prosperous. Education and accurate information will help the majority of Ukrainians understand correctly that for the sake of their future Ukraine should be a NATO member. And a new generation of political and state leaders, one which thinks first and foremost in terms of national interest, will be able to make Ukraine a member of the Euro-Atlantic Family.

I thank you for your attention and am ready to answer your questions.


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
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