NATO has entered a closer partnership with Ukraine, recognizing the former Soviet republic as an enhanced opportunities partner (EOP) after Kyiv demonstrated its "commitment to Euro-Atlantic security."
This status is part of a NATO initiative intended to "maintain and deepen cooperation between Allies and partners that have made significant contributions to NATO-led operations and missions," the Western alliance announced on June 12.
"Ukraine has provided troops to Allied operations, including in Afghanistan and Kosovo, as well as to the NATO Response Force and NATO exercises," it said.
The statement said Ukraine's new status will enable the country to benefit from "enhanced access to interoperability programs and exercises, and more sharing of information."
However, it insisted that the new status "does not prejudge any decisions on NATO membership."
Australia, Finland, Georgia, Jordan, and Sweden are also recognized as EOPs.