Military Eurointegration: How Ukraine fulfills its security obligations under an agreement with the EU

Taking into account the difference between the military potential of Ukraine and Russia, active foreign cooperation between Kiev and friendly states in the security sphere is necessary. Such cooperation is one of the commitments that Ukraine has assumed under the Association Agreement with the EU.

Over the past few years, Ukraine faces powerful security challenges related to aggression by the Russian Federation.

Taking into account the difference between the military potential of Ukraine and Russia, active foreign cooperation between Kiev and friendly states in the security sphere is necessary. Such cooperation is one of the commitments that Ukraine has assumed under the Association Agreement with the EU.

In particular, it deals with organized crime, illegal trade in weapons, cyber threats, terrorism, as well as participation in joint EU security and defense policy operations and stable participation in EU combat units, strengthening training initiatives and a common foreign and security policy, etc.

Convergence with the EU

The Cabinet of Ministers approved the Plan of Measures for the implementation of the Association Agreement contains some tasks related to the security sector.

At the same time, this plan does not cover issues such as the ability to respond to regional chemical, biological, radiobiological and nuclear incidents, strengthening training initiatives and a common foreign and security policy, providing a legislative framework for participation in EU common EU security and defense policy operations, cybercrime , ensuring regional stability, little attention was paid to the issue of arms trade.

The issue of fighting terrorism is about preventing the financing of terrorist activities; no other anti-terrorist measures are envisaged.

The Ukrainian national security strategy is based on such fundamental values ​​as respect for international law and human rights, similar to those outlined in the EU security strategy.

The 2018 of the year passed the law "On National Security of Ukraine", developed with the participation of Western experts. Civil service reform and decentralization are being implemented as an important part of the implementation of good governance practices in Ukraine.

Ukraine has made significant steps towards the goals envisaged by the Association Agreement Implementation Plan, in the field of migration and border management, the most famous of which was the transition to biometric foreign passports. On a regular basis, there is a joint risk analysis and information exchange with the border services of neighboring EU member states.

Certain progressive steps can also be noted in the fight against crime (in particular, amendments to the Criminal and Criminal Procedural Codes for the prevention of domestic violence) and emergency management. Experts from the EU Consultative Mission have participated in a comprehensive national police reform.

Finally, Ukrainian cybercratches have found critical vulnerabilities in data protection systems of government agencies, which is a serious risk in terms of cyberattacks, which in recent years have been carried out by Russian hackers in relation to Ukraine's infrastructure facilities.

Military cooperation

An important part of the European integration course of Ukraine is cooperation within the framework of the European Security and Defense Policy and military bilateral cooperation with the EU member states.

Regular contacts between the leadership of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the military structures of the EU began with 2005 year. However, since the beginning of the military aggression of the RF against Ukraine, this cooperation has acquired fundamentally different content.

Attracting forces and means of the Armed Forces to the implementation of the Concept of EU tactical militias, from the political point of view, is a confirmation of Ukraine's intentions towards joint crisis management.

In military terms, this provides an opportunity to introduce positive experience in the national practice for the development of the capabilities of the Armed Forces. Such capabilities are important for the fulfillment of tasks in international peacekeeping operations and crisis management operations, as well as will contribute to protecting the territory of Ukraine on its own.

From 2010 year, representatives of the Armed Forces of Ukraine participated in four EU combat tactical groups (BGT). In the 2018 year, the Concept of the EU BGT was changed; their role as the main tool for responding to sudden crises is foreseen.

In October 2013, the Ukrainian Parliament approved the referral of a national contingent for Ukraine's participation in the NATO Atlantic Piracy Operation Oceanic Shield and the European Union Operation Atalanta.

The Ukrainian contingent, consisting of the Hetman Sagaidachny frigate crew, the inspection team and the helicopter detachment, carried out four patrols in the Gulf of Aden. During the operation, the 30 ship spent the nights at sea directly on patrols in areas where there was a risk of piracy attacks.

About 50 civilian ships traveled through these areas every day. Vessels suspected of piracy were inspected; The crew of the Ka-27 helicopter performed around 50 reconnaissance flights.

Ukrainian troops stopped two high-speed boats that did not respond to ship's requests and continued their movement. The helicopter unit also provided flights between the ships in the sea.

With the onset of RF aggression against Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, the participation of the Armed Services Union units in multinational operations led by the EU crisis management is temporarily suspended. At the same time, the Ministry of Defense is working on the issue of further participation of Ukrainian military in missions and operations of the EU.

Military cooperation continues within the framework of educational programs. The issue of involving the Ministry of Defense in the Permanent Structured Cooperation in the field of Security and Defense (PESCO) is under consideration.

At the Munich Conference of 2019, Martin Weber, candidate for the post of European Commission chairman, raised the issue of creating a European missile defense system involving Ukraine.

The EU is really interested in the rocket industry in Ukraine.

However, there are significant political risks of such a project, due to the possible reluctance of some EU member states to make decisions that would contradict the security interests of the Russian Federation. Because of this, there is a risk that Ukraine will spend resources on this project and at the same time will not increase its own security.

For Ukraine, it is more promising to attach to the US missile defense system in Europe.

Military-technical cooperation

The development of military-technical cooperation with the EU gives Ukraine access to the best scientific and technical developments in the field of armaments in the interests of national defense. He also provides access to the products of the national defense industry to the European market.

Since 2005 year, after the change of Ukraine's foreign policy toward integration with the EU and NATO, there has been a gradual military-political rapprochement between Ukraine and the EU and, accordingly, a marked increase in the launch of joint projects in the field of military-technical cooperation. For the first time at the expert and industrial levels there was talk of specific mechanisms for interaction with the European Defense Agency.

Representatives of well-known European defense companies began to participate in international conferences in Ukraine. The first deliveries of completed Ukrainian products took place.

In spite of this, Ukraine's significant dependence on cooperation with Russia at that time entailed significant risks, which were unacceptable for the EU and NATO countries. Also, European partners were uncertain about the reliability of arrangements with Ukraine due to periodic sharp changes in foreign policy orientation and the prevalence of corruption schemes.

In addition, the ownership structure, when the main companies producing arms of Ukraine on 90% were in the management and ownership of the state; outdated Ukrainian legislation and insufficiently clear definition of intellectual property rights in Ukraine; and most importantly, the lack of sufficient funding - all this at the time did not allow talking about the broad prospects for the development of the PTS.

During the reign of Viktor Yanukovych, the restrictions in the field of military-technical cooperation have only increased. Instead, in March 2014, the new Ukrainian government decided to completely terminate the PTS with Russia as an aggressor country. As a result, in order to meet its defense needs, Ukraine drew attention to the potential of the PTS with the West. Ukraine abandoned its non-aligned status and legislated its intention to enter the EU and NATO.

In the 2015 year, a framework administrative agreement was signed between the Ministry of Defense and the European Defense Agency. This allowed for the creation of legal bases for practical cooperation with the EU member states, as well as for the regular participation of representatives of Ukraine in the programs and projects of the Agency.

Ukraine has also increased its defense spending and, accordingly, the development and procurement of weapons.

At the same time, it was not always possible to obtain the necessary patterns of arms for political reasons.

Russia has used all available levers - threats, blackmail, bribery - to prevent the strengthening of the Ukrainian armed forces. Manifestations of such a practice of "unpublished restrictions" for Ukraine were sufficient, in particular, from the EU countries.

Another challenge is the real economic attractiveness of the Ukrainian "defense".

Simplification of export and import of military goods gave rise to a real liberalization of foreign economic activity for enterprises of all forms of ownership, in particular in the field of military-technical cooperation. Emerging needs and the emergence of funds today make it possible to carry out the first large-scale projects with the EU.

At the beginning of the 2019 year, Ukraine and the European Union entered a new high-level PTS level, when not only supplies of individual units or small arms began, but also the purchase of basic armament platforms.

What's next?

For further effective security cooperation with the EU, we recommend:

- to pay attention to the threats of cyberattacks and terrorism;

- in accordance with the requirements of international partners, provide the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine with the right to independently listen and start work of the Anti-Corruption Court as soon as possible;

- Given the transfer of the European Union financing of combat tactical groups to the mechanism for the maintenance of the national contingent at the expense of the states themselves, it is necessary to plan the estimates of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine in the short and medium term, taking into account the specific "minimum required" number of troops to be involved in operations within the framework of EU;

- to work on the study of the possibilities and necessity of Ukraine's involvement in the new format of cooperation of the EU member states - the European Intervention Initiative (EI2);

- work towards the conclusion of bilateral military cooperation agreements with all EU member states and strengthening of existing agreements;

- harmonize the legislation in the field of military-technical cooperation with the EU;

- Further increase financing for production and procurement of weapons;

- reform the judicial system, fight corruption in the field of "defense";

- To approve the draft law "On military-technical cooperation", in particular to create favorable conditions for foreign investments in arms production in Ukraine.


Igor Koziy military analyst of the Euro-Atlantic Cooperation Institute,

Leonid Polyakov independent military expert

Konstantin Fedorenko political analyst at the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation

This text was prepared on the basis of the results of the project "Public monitoring of cooperation between Ukraine and the EU in the security sphere" implemented with the support of the European Community funded project "Public Community" and implemented by the International Renaissance Foundation

Article published on European truth