Is NATO Warsaw Summit a Chance or a Challenge for Ukraine?

Is NATO Warsaw Summit a Chance or a Challenge for Ukraine?

The NATO Summit held July 8-9, 2016in Warsaw demonstrated that further relations between Ukraine and NATO would develop under the formula “all but membership”. Did this Summit become a chance or a challenge for our state?

Even before the Summit it was clear that Ukraine's membership was not on the agenda of the Alliance because Ukraine had not fixed the goal of full membership in NATO in its official documents, and our state had not been mentioned as a candidate country in various NATO documents for the previous year.

With this regard, Ukraine should focus more on the use of all available opportunities to deepen cooperation with NATO and take into account external factors to minimize their negative impact, as well as use defined by the Alliance chances.

External factors. Russia

Impact of external factors on the relations between Ukraine and NATO could be found in the Warsaw Summit Communiqué. Eight of the eleven articles of this document, in which Ukraine is mentioned, are dedicated to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and aggressive policy of the Russian Federation. Even six of the thirteen points of the Joint statement of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at the level of Heads of State and Government arededicated to the support of Ukraine in light of countering Russia’s aggression. On the one hand, this indicates Russia's influence on the Ukraine-NATO relations that is a challenge for our state, and on the other hand, this shows the solidarity of NATO and Ukraine to counter the common threat from Russia.

Considering Moscow's position on counteracting Ukraine's membership in NATO, the Alliance did not dare to confirm those prospects for Ukraine trying to neutralize the persistent declarations of Russia that NATO was its main enemy, and that Russia fought against it in Ukraine. However, the spirit of the Warsaw Summit demonstrated resoluteness of NATO to fully support Ukraine and confront the major current threat from Russia. That approach was confirmed at the NATO-Russia Council on July 13. “Russia’s actions in Ukraine have undermined Euro-Atlantic security, as well as NATO-Russia relations”, - said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. De facto, Ukraine has become a key ally of NATO in the East, and one time the current level of partnership with the Alliance can grow into clear outlines of full membership.

Now Ukraine cannot and should not allow the Kremlin rhetoric impacts the prospects of its membership and the level of cooperation with NATO. To do this, among other things, Ukraine should appeal to the provisions of the Bucharest Summit Declaration of 2008 that Ukraine will become a NATO member, because this statement, like all other previous decisions of NATO, remains in force today. At the same time, Ukraine still should legally fix its membership in NATO as the final goal and constantly emphasize the unity of security objectives of Ukraine and NATO, particularly in opposing and deterring the threat from Russia.

Ukraine can become not only a major ally of NATO but also a security pillar in Eastern Europe. The documents of the Warsaw Summit and other related activities of NATO show that the Alliance is ready to give Ukraine its necessary practical assistance. Strong and well-organized Ukraine with the prepared and equipped armed forces is able to deter aggression from the East. To this end, it is necessary to implement deep transformations in the defense sector of Ukraine and create an effective system of security and defense of the state. In fact, Ukraine should be able to protect itself from a powerful external aggressor like neighboring Russia or be prepared indeed for a defensive war against it that will become a decisive deterrent factor. The Alliance also counts on deterrence while increasing its efforts in the East and helping Ukraine.

Complex approach to comprehensive security

The Alliance understands that an approach to security must be complex and bound to cooperation with partners. In atmosphere of hybrid warfare, which the Allies are facing due to provocations on its borders, flows of illegal migrants and information attacks, NATO is not able itself to ensure security of its member countries because it does not have all necessary non-military means. The European Union, which includes 22 members of NATO, can assist creating a comprehensive security system for the Allies.

The Joint declaration of the EU and NATO of July 8 says that “the time has come to give new impetus and new substance to the NATO-EU strategic partnership”. The key areas of strengthening this partnership are: ability to counter hybrid threats; cooperation at sea; countering illegal migration; cyber security; coherence and interoperability of defense capabilities of the EU and NATO; greater defense industrial cooperation; coordination of exercises; foster the resilience of partners in the East and South. Common security goals of the EU and NATO and plans to assist partners, especially Ukraine, allow our country to use this double assistance to strengthen its own security by coordinating the processes of European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

NATO has already directly switched to the integrated approach as at the Warsaw Summit it endorsed the Comprehensive Assistance Package (CAP) for Ukraine, which will combine existing and new areas of assistance (40 defined areas). There are several reasons for this decision. First, it is difficult to coordinate fragmented assistance for Ukraine provided by the Alliance as an organization and its member countries. Second, only a complex approach enables Ukraine to reform its military organization, which is a wider dimension than armed forces, and bring it into accordance with NATO standards in all spheres. Third, it is easier to monitor a coordinated assistance in terms of efficiency and purposeful use. Here it is necessary to pay attention to the fight against corruption, as this issue was raised by NATO in general and in the context of Ukraine in particular. “Corruption and poor governance are security challenges, which undermine democracy, the rule of law and economic development”, - says the Article 130 of the Warsaw Summit Communiqué. Thus, anti-corruption activities hold a red line across the whole cooperation between Ukraine and NATO.

The new complex approach of the Alliance will also require Ukraine to change its approaches to planning and implementation of cooperation activities. That is why in the light of the Warsaw Summit decisions our state must do its homework.

Homework for Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic Integration

The comprehensive working document of Ukraine is the Annual National Programof NATO-Ukraine cooperation (ANP), which should be structurally and contently updated after the Warsaw Summit. For example, the Program for 2016 says that it is implemented within budget allocations and “financial assistance of NATO and some member countries of the Alliance”. However, in the text of the Program there is no clarity what funds are allocated to what actions, what assistance is provided by the Alliance, and what are the terms of defined measures. One of the results of absence of concrete definitions is that in previous years the ANP was implemented by only 30%, as announced Vice Prime Minister of European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze.

Another reason of the low efficiency of Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration is a lack of coordination at the national level. For a long time there had not been a profiled Vice Prime Minister and a coordinating body in the Government. On July 8, 2016 the President of Ukraine signed the Decree and created the Commission for Coordination of Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic Integration. However, its status is defined as a “subsidiary body under the auspices of the President of Ukraine", and the main tasks are “monitoring, analysis and evaluation of activities related to the implementation of tasks in the field of Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine and NATO cooperation”. These powers are not indeed enough to perform the routine work of the coordination and implementation of Euro-Atlantic integration. A working governmental body should be created to be responsible for Euro-Atlantic integration and subordinated to the profiled Vice Prime Minister with the power to coordinate the work of Euro-Atlantic integration departments of all concerned ministries. Activities should be coordinated not only at the level of deputy ministers but also at the level of ministerial executive structures.

Ukraine also has to strengthen sectoral cooperation with NATO by using actively the already available opportunities. Besides military structures,all ministries and institutions of Ukraine have to join the process of integration to NATO, because about 40% of points of the Joint statement of the NATO-Ukraine Commission concern non-military dimension. For example, in the area of ​​cyber security Ukraine has established and maintains contacts with the NATOCooperative Cyber DefenceCentreof Excellence in Estonia, but with the NATOEnergy SecurityCentreof Excellence in Lithuania Ukraine is just “continuing cooperation” as it is defined by the ANP. At the same time, Georgia joined this Centre in 2014, and Ukraine has to do the same, taking into account its numerous energy security challenges.

At the Warsaw Summit and during the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, a special emphasis was made on democratic control over security sector, which would meet standards and principles of the Alliance. The important role has to be given not only to parliamentary control but to close communication between security structures and civil society organizations, which have to be involved into the aforementioned processes.

Finally it should be noted that strengthening the format of NATO-Ukraine cooperation in the light of the Warsaw Summit results requires our country's willingness to develop this cooperation, overcome challenges and take full advantage of them. If not, no efforts of the Alliance will help us to build a strong security and defense sector. After this homework is done, membership in NATO may be a purely formal procedure for Ukraine.

UCIPR, Research Update, Vol. 23. - №1 (754), 2016

19th July 2016

Svitlana Gorobchyshyna, Vitalii Martyniuk, UCIPR

02000, Ukraine, Kyiv Malopidvalna St, 10, office 1
© Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research 1991