NATO has recognized Ukraine as an Enhanced Opportunities Partner, declaring its aim to deepen cooperation with the country for its significant contributions to the alliance’s operations and missions.

“As a NATO partner, Ukraine has provided troops to Allied operations, including in Afghanistan and Kosovo, as well as to the NATO Response Force and NATO exercises. Allies highly value these significant contributions, which demonstrate Ukraine’s commitment to Euro-Atlantic security,” the NATO press service stated on June 12.

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As an Enhanced Opportunities Partner, Ukraine will benefit from tailor-made opportunities to help sustain such contributions, the alliance added. This includes enhanced access to interoperability programs and exercises, and more sharing of information, including lessons learned.

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The Enhanced Opportunity Partners program was initially launched following NATO’s 2014 Wales summit, after which five non-alliance members — Australia, Finland, Georgia, Jordan and Sweden — joined the initiative.

The program particularly envisages deeper cooperation with NATO in terms of security consultations, access to interoperability programs, exercises and information.

Ukraine initially requested membership in the program in 2016, and it confirmed its intention to become an Enhanced Opportunities Partner in early 2020. By confirming its request, Ukraine stated it wanted to acquire the membership in 2020.

As a NATO partner, Ukraine participates in missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo and also contributes to the NATO Response Force.

The alliance noted that Ukraine’s newly-acquired status does not “prejudge any decisions on NATO membership,” which the country has sought for decades.

“NATO Allies continue to encourage and support Ukraine in its reform efforts, including in the security and defense sector, with regard to civilian control and democratic oversight, and in the fight against corruption,” the NATO statement added.

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