Ukraine will support NATO's efforts to strengthen security in Iraq. This was discussed by Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba and NATO Assistant Secretary General for Operations John Manza at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on January 14.
"I informed the Assistant Secretary General that there is a plan in Ukraine to send 20 military in support of the NATO Mission in Iraq after the Alliance resumes its work. The invitation to become an operational partner of the Alliance's Mission in Iraq testifies to recognition of the value of Ukrainian military experience and professionalism," Dmytro Kuleba stressed.
In response to a statement made by the Ukrainian side, the NATO Assistant Secretary General emphasized that Ukraine's participation in the Mission in Iraq is incredibly important for the Alliance.
The parties agreed on the next common steps to be taken to implement NATO's new "One Partner - One Program" approach, discussed the prospects for adopting a national security strategy in Ukraine, and further developing strategic documents toward its implementation. Dmytro Kuleba also briefed his counterpart on the work done to pass the required laws on security and defense, in particular, on the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) reform.
Ukraine has participated in the NATO Training Mission in Iraq (NTM-I) since 2006. This is a joint exercise of NATO countries, Iraqi forces and NATO Partner countries and part of the international effort to help Iraq establish effective and accountable security forces. Ukrainian officers served as military advisers in the Prime Minister's National Operations Center (PMNOC) and the Joint Coordination Center in the Ministry of Interior of Iraq and actively participated in the development of operational procedures at both of the tactical and strategic levels.
In 2019, the Alliance invited Ukraine to continue cooperation - the North Atlantic Council (NAC) granted Ukraine the status of a potential operational partner of the NATO Mission in Iraq. Ukraine has already submitted a request to NATO to become a full-fledged operational partner. In addition, the development of a national regulatory framework for participation in this operation is ongoing. A total of 20 staff officers are expected to be deployed in 2020 to participate in the Mission.
Apart from that, the parties also discuss the possibility of involving Ukrainian servicemen as instructors for the DEEP program in the framework of the NTM-I to train Iraqi military personnel. On January 12-15, a reconnaissance visit of the leadership of the National Defense University of Iraq and representatives of the NATO DEEP-Iraq (Defence Education Enhancement) Programme to the National Defense University of Ukraine.