NATO takes up (de facto permanent) residence in UkraineFebruary 26, 2016
On 26th February 2016, President Poroshenko signed into being the law “On Ratification of the Agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on the status of NATO to Ukraine” – which finally paves the way for a “permanent” NATO presence in Ukraine per the agreement between Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg and President Poroshenko signed on 22nd September 2015.
Thus it comes to pass that a “NATO Liaison Information and Documentation Office” with full privileges, immunity and assistance provided to diplomatic missions in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 can now legally take up residence in Ukraine de facto permanently.
De facto permanently, for it seems highly unlikely that NATO will decide to close its Liaison Office (de facto Embassy) in Ukraine of its own volition during the next few decades, and even less likely that any Ukrainian politician/legislature would ask it to leave for at least a generation. After all, there will be no return to normalcy with Russia for this Ukrainian generation and only the retarded or naive could think otherwise.
Ergo whatever stresses and strains that may lay ahead in the NATO-Ukrainian relationship, NATO will de facto be permanently on Ukrainian soil henceforth.
According to the Presidential Website, “the Agreement, provides for exemption from taxes, duties and other taxes, quantitative restrictions on the activities of the projects in Ukraine by financing NATO (in particular, this will involve the import and export of goods, for the purchase of goods and services contracts for the projects under the trust funds, scientific, educational and other programs)” – notwithstanding the other usual diplomatic privileges such as parking where you like and never paying the parking tickets.
A reasonable and sensible decision by both parties in reaching this agreement it has to be said – for there is much more to NATO than its collective military force. It is something of an achievement for Ukraine to now have a NATO presence (de facto permanently) on its soil, for it means that the NAC were in favour of the opening such an office – and that requires a lot of “Yeahs” and absolutely no “Nays” (unanimous decisions only) from the NAC members that take the political decisions.
Whatever the case, there will now permanently (de facto) be, if not “NATO boots” on the ground in Ukraine, then certainly highly polished “NATO brogues and suits” in Ukraine – complete with full Vienna Convention niceties.
It will be interesting to see who staffs the office!