NATO and Ukraine: In or Out?
Despite being the first of the former Soviet republics to join the NATO Partnership for Peace, and later signing the Charter on Distinctive Partnership, for the last 20 years Ukraine’s integration aspirations have been somewhat unstable. Kiev has struggled to maintain a balance between Russian influence and finding the optimal and most beneficial format for relations with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. By announcing its non-bloc status in 2010, Kiev did not lower the level of interaction and coordination with Alliance, but in fact developed interoperability and cooperation in new areas. The 2013-2014 events in Ukraine raise new questions about the future of the Ukrainian-NATO cooperation, as well as about the future of NATO itself. What does partnership mean and can it guarantee the security of a non-member state? Should NATO return to Europe? These are just a few of the questions raised by the current crisis. Despite the fact that Ukrainian membership in NATO is not on the agenda, public opinion in Ukraine in support of further NATO integration is increasing dramatically, and a search for new options for cooperation is timely.
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