Head of the NATO Representation to Ukraine and Director of the NATO Liaison Office, Alexander Vinnikov, outlined the main tasks the Alliance sees in reforming the country's security and defense sector in 2020.

"In 2020, a new cycle of outlining security and defense issues will start in Ukraine. A new national security strategy, a military security strategy, and a strategic defense bulletin should be adopted, while a series of inspections should be held in the security and defense sector, Vinnikov wrote in a column "Ukraine-NATO: New Challenges and Opportunities," published in Ukrainian by Tyzhden.

The official said the implementation of these tasks would shape up key strategic priorities of Ukraine's policy in the security and defense sectors for the coming years, which will require not only strategic thinking, but also strategic action.

"These challenging tasks of reform in 2020 include strengthening civilian control and democratic oversight of the defense, security, and intelligence agencies, improving the command and control system in the defense forces, ensuring effective management and tackling corruption in security and defense," added Vinnikov.

Ukrainian society, he underlined, is striving for visible progress in these areas and beyond, while NATO will support Ukraine to achieve such progress.

"In 2020, we expect further important steps to implement the national security law. Its adoption in 2018 was welcomed by the Alliance Member States as a significant step that brought Ukraine closer to European and Euro-Atlantic standards and principles. Today and in 2020, there is a window of opportunity for translating the vision laid down by this law into practical reforms to achieve tangible results," said Vinnikov.

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In this regard, he noted that the reform of the Security Service of Ukraine is the main element, and the Alliance together with the EU and the USA has for more than three years been providing advisory support in this regard in the framework of the International Advisory Group.

"As in any democracy, the reform of intelligence agencies and security services is a sensitive issue. But it cannot see success without involving a wide range of various stakeholders in its development and expanding the domestic dialogue between them. And, of course, there is no magical, universal, and immediate solution to this problem," Vinnikov added.

"However, European and Euro-Atlantic partners will welcome the transformation of the Security Service of Ukraine into a depoliticized, effective agency that will focus on fulfilling its main tasks defined by the national security law. These include counterintelligence, counterterrorism, and protection of state secrets. International cooperation and information exchange with the structures of the Euro-Atlantic security and intelligence community will also benefit from progress in SBU reform," said the head of the NATO Mission.

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Vinnikov also believes that the Verkhovna Rada of the new convocation saw a powerful start in 2019.

"NATO expects Parliament to pro-actively support reform in security and defense. At the same time, it is important to find a balance between the 'turbo mode' of processing bills and the 'Euro-Atlantic' quality of legislation passed. That is why strengthening Parliament's institutional capacity will remain one of the priority areas where we will provide advisory assistance," Vinnikov wrote.