NATO Partnership for Peace ratification - Ukraine

It is not often that this blog touches upon defence or security issues - or indeed the war in eastern Ukraine - despite the fact that every time it does readership numbers skyrocket.

The simple fact is that so many others write about the war in eastern Ukraine, and there is much more to Ukraine than the war in the east.

Thus the blog generally sticks to policy (and by extension, rather than by choice, politics).  The challenges Ukraine faces are multiple and gargantuan and the war in eastern Ukraine is but one challenge - and probably not the greatest one.

Rule of law, the effective control of corruption, and the transition to genuine democracy and its consolidation etc, are probably far greater challenges and more important.  After all, the war in eastern Ukraine is being fought against the antithesis of all those things listed above, and that are currently embodied by the current Kremlin system/regime.

Thus there is a larger policy picture to view, and one painted in much broader brush strokes.

Yesterday saw the Ukrainian Rada approve Bill 0035 by 267 votes in favour - a Bill that ratifies the 24th April Memorandum signed in Brussels committing Ukraine to the NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme.

The PtP is “based on a commitment to the democratic principles that underpin the Alliance itself, the purpose of the Partnership for Peace is to increase stability, diminish threats to peace and build strengthened security relationships between individual Euro-Atlantic partners and NATO, as well as among partner countries.

Activities on offer under the PfP programme touch on virtually every field of NATO activity, including defence-related work, defence reform, defence policy and planning, civil-military relations, education and training, military-to-military cooperation and exercises, civil emergency planning and disaster response, and cooperation on science and environmental issues.

The essence of the PfP programme is a partnership formed individually between each Euro-Atlantic partner and NATO, tailored to individual needs and jointly implemented at the level and pace chosen by each participating government.”

Over the coming years it will be interesting to see how this develops - or not.

In the immediate and medium term, Ukraine will concentrate upon command and control, communications, intelligence, surveillance, defence reform and reconnaissance - Geopolitics 101, when you live in a volatile neighbourhood with an aggressive neighbour, is be prepared.

Having been ill-prepared, and having been forced to surrender territory in exchange for time, Ukraine will naturally want to make the most of these PfP options to be better prepared in the future.

Ultimately, however many years hence, it will require PfP assistance with demobilisation, reintegration, disarmament, continued assistance with cyber-defence, and more general security related reforms that are currently not the headline grabbing priorities - though are planning and structural necessities nonetheless.

This newly ratified partnership with NATO will be interesting to watch as it develops over the years, both with regard to just how effectively Ukraine uses the PfP toolbox, and also just how forthright NATO will be in getting the tools from the toolbox when Ukraine requests them.