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.
Ukraine’s Integration into the Transatlantic Community

Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood Roundtable X:
"Compelling Bilateral Relations"

Ukraine’s Integration into the Transatlantic Community:
Building Euro-Atlantic Security

Celeste Wallander

Featured remarks by Dr. Celeste Wallander, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, delivered at Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood RT X: Compelling Bilateral Relations, held in Washington DC on Oct 21–22, 2009.

Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here. Just two weeks ago I travelled to Kyiv, where I spoke at a similar conference and had an opportunity to meet with a number of Ukrainian officials. I am pleased to report that despite a few setbacks this year, the U.S.-Ukraine defense relationship continues to be strong. My interlocutors assured me that Ukraine remains committed to Euro-Atlantic integration—an effort that has the full support of the Department of Defense and the United States Government.

Regarding the bilateral defense relationship, our high-level engagement underscores the importance of the U.S.-Ukraine strategic partnership. Shortly before I arrived in Kyiv, the United States and Ukraine concluded the annual Bilateral Defense Consultations. These Consultations constitute an important element of the US-Ukrainian defense relationship, one in which the U.S. Department of Defense and Ukrainian Ministry of Defense meet to discuss key issues in our bilateral defense relationship.

Assistant Secretary of Defense Ambassador Alexander Vershbow led the consultations on behalf of the Defense Department. He also had an opportunity to speak at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, where he reaffirmed that, “the United States and Ukraine share an important strategic partnership” and the United States will “stand by Ukraine as Ukraine continues on the path to freedom, democracy and prosperity.”

In reaffirming U.S. commitment to greater cooperation between NATO and Ukraine, Ambassador Vershbow also expressed U.S. support for greater integration of Ukraine into the transatlantic community, reiterating the message delivered by Vice President Biden in July, during which the Vice President emphasized the United States stands “by the principle that sovereign states have a right to make their own decisions, to chart their own policy, [and] to choose their own alliances.” The United States “supports Ukraine’s deepening ties to NATO.”

This is my message today: the Department of Defense is committed to strengthening and reinforcing our bilateral and multilateral defense partnership with Ukraine. Our bilateral efforts within the Department of Defense are designed to support Ukraine’s defense reform, NATO interoperability, and—should Ukraine’s leaders and citizens make the choice—NATO integration. Regardless of whether Ukraine ultimately joins the alliance, deeper engagement between NATO and Ukraine—including the United States and Canada as NATO members—will contribute to a more stable transatlantic community. It does so not only by integrating Ukraine into that community, but also by strengthening the overall web of bilateral and multilateral ties that constitutes it as one of the most secure, peaceful, and prosperous communities of states in world history.

The Department’s primary goal is to assist the Ukrainian armed forces transform into a modern, professional, joint, and NATO-interoperable force; a force that can protect the homeland and contribute to international coalition and NATO-led operations. We have multiple efforts underway to accomplish this task. We are providing assistance in the development of Ukraine’s defense doctrine and planning documents; we are providing equipment to help the armed forces conduct better training; and we are assisting in the establishment of a professional noncommissioned officer corps.

The United States provides funding – known as Foreign Military Financing – to help develop interoperability, support defense reform, and increase training capacity of the Ukrainian military. To date, Ukraine has purchased 85 million dollars worth of defense articles and services using U.S. grant money, and for 2009, Ukraine was authorized a budget of seven million dollars for this program.

The United States sends Ukrainian officers to professional military schools in the United States under the International Military Education and Training program. Since the program was established in 1992, 903 Ukrainian officers—including four general officers— have completed training at military schools such as the U.S. Army War College. These examples highlight the very real success of our bilateral efforts. We have a strong record of cooperation, and we continue to look for ways to further engage with Ukrainian defense officials and the Ukrainian military.

So, our efforts are aimed at assisting Ukraine to develop a democratically-controlled Ukrainian military that is deployable, sustainable and interoperable with NATO forces. Indeed, greater Ukrainian cooperation with NATO, as well as stronger bilateral ties with NATO member states, enhances regional and global security.

From its earliest days, NATO has built security and defense cooperation in the transatlantic community. But after the end of the Cold War, NATO reoriented its capacity for security and defense cooperation to meet the new challenges facing the transatlantic community. NATO now works with partner countries on a number of security missions, ranging from humanitarian intervention to civil disaster relief. Partnership for Peace comprises the primary vehicle for NATO’s cooperation function, but NATO also works with partner countries individually to focus upon their particular capacities and priorities.

For example, Ukraine recently joined thirteen NATO and other NATO-partner countries in the MEDCEUR 09 exercises (held in Serbia), which built mutual defense and disaster relief capacity. Both Ukraine and Canada participated in COOPERATIVE LONGBOW/COOPERATIVE LANCER 2009. Held in Georgia, this exercise trained NATO, Partnership for Peace, and partner forces to operate using NATO standards in a UN-mandated crisis response scenario. And in Bosnia this past month, Ukraine and Canada numbered among more than 20 NATO, Partnership for Peace countries and coalition partners participated in COMBINED ENDEAVOR 09, an exercise to test, analyze, and document interoperability of C4 (Command, Control, Communications, and Computer) systems.

Cooperation with NATO also helps build an environment of mutual trust and reassurance. The exercises I just mentioned are but one mechanism by which NATO and its partners enhance the transparency of one another’s intentions, planning processes, and capabilities.

By doing so, NATO and its partners—including Ukraine—limit the chance of misunderstandings and misapprehensions that might threaten the stability of the transatlantic security community. They also develop processes and relationships that enable them to address common challenges, such as the threats posed by terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, cyber attack, and energy insecurity.

The task of strengthening transatlantic security requires both multilateral and bilateral efforts. NATO’s multilateral defense activities are complimented by a host of bilateral initiatives among its members and partners. Canada plays an important role in these efforts, including the specific task of integrating Ukraine into the transatlantic community.

Canada and Ukraine signed a declaration of “special partnership” in 1994, which was renewed in 2001 and 2008. This past September, Canada and Ukraine signed a “roadmap” to facilitate the pursuit of priority areas of mutual cooperation, including on defense policy. Indeed, the Ukraine-Canada relationship demonstrates how the transatlantic community is built on deeper foundations than mere political ties. Canada, as many at this conference know well, is home to more than a million citizens of Ukrainian ancestry—one of the largest concentrations of ethnic Ukrainians outside Ukraine itself. Canada was the first government to recognize Ukrainian independence, and now stands as an important supporter of closer ties between Ukraine and NATO. Canada has been a significant advocate for extending to Ukraine the option of NATO membership. To that end, the Canadian armed forces engage in a number of cooperative ventures with their Ukrainian counterparts, particularly in the areas of language and peacekeeping training. Ukraine participates in Canada’s Military Training Assistance Program. For example, officers from Ukraine have attended Canada’s Army Operations Course. And, in years past, Canada and Ukraine—along with Poland and Lithuania—have conduct Ex Maple Arch, a biannual exercise designed to enhance participants’ peacekeeping capacities. These examples demonstrate that the United States and Canada share a common vision for, and approach to, Ukraine’s integration into the transatlantic community. They also highlight the role of bilateral and multilateral relations in building and sustaining that community.

But for those efforts to bear fruit, each party must do its part. Which is why the United States was very disappointed when the Verhkovna Rada failed to pass the foreign exercises legislation this year. This failure forced the cancellation of the annual Sea Breeze and Rapid Trident exercises. Sea Breeze and Rapid Trident, which are conducted “in the spirit of” Partnership for Peace, facilitate engagement among participants’ armed forces, and provide important opportunities for Ukraine to develop interoperability with U.S. and NATO forces.

The last-minute cancellation of a visit by the Chief of Defense to the United States in September provided another unfortunate setback.

Indeed, keeping Ukraine’s defense reform efforts on track remains a crucial challenge. Ukraine has made important progress, such as establishment of a Joint Operational Command. But, unfortunately, other efforts appear to be lagging, as exemplified by the delay of plans to transition to an all-volunteer force from 2010 to 2015. These challenges are not simply a matter for the uniformed military. Political leaders must also address question concerning defense cooperation. After all, democratic control of the armed forces is a feature of the Ukrainian military – as it should be in any democratic society. But democratic control renders civilian leaders ultimately responsible for the state of their country’s armed forces.

In fact, Ukraine’s defense budget is at a dangerously low level. Although the global economic crisis has hit Ukraine particularly hard, Ukrainian leaders must step up efforts to provide adequate resources to the Ukrainian military and to defense reform efforts. Ukraine’s challenge is to keep defense reform on track during a time of economic crisis and political uncertainty.

I would like to address one more issue before I close, and that is President Obama’s decision on missile defense in Europe. President Obama based his decision upon careful consideration of what architecture would best defend against current and future ballistic-missile threats.

The proposed architecture uses more effective technology, offers earlier protection, and provides protection for all European allies. It is also better able to adapt to longer-range ballistic missile threats that may develop in the future.

Despite whatever misconceptions have appeared in the media, the United States has no plans to incorporate Ukrainian assets into the new missile defense architecture. We have no plans to station any missile defense elements on Ukrainian territory. And we have not engaged in any discussions with Ukraine about integrating their assets into our missile defense architecture. We do, however, value our longstanding and valuable defense cooperation with Ukraine, and are grateful to Ukraine for its broad contributions to international security.

In closing, I would like to echo President Obama’s and Vice President Biden’s message to Ukraine. The United States strongly supports Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We stand by Ukraine on its chosen path towards democracy. And we support Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration efforts. The United States, Canada, and Ukraine—as well as the rest of the transatlantic community—all have a stake in the continued success of defense reform, cooperation, and other key aspects of these strategic partnerships. They enhance peace and security not just for Ukraine, but also for the entire transatlantic region.


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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