The North Atlantic Council on June 12 recognized Ukraine as an Enhanced Opportunities Partner.
This status is part of NATO's Partnership Interoperability Initiative, which aims to maintain and deepen cooperation between Allies and partners that have made significant contributions to NATO-led operations and missions, NATO said on its website.
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," NATO said.
As an Enhanced Opportunities Partner, Ukraine will benefit from tailor-made opportunities to help sustain such contributions. This includes enhanced access to interoperability program and exercises, and more sharing of information, including lessons learned.
"This decision recognizes Ukraine's strong contributions to NATO missions, and demonstrates the Alliance's continued commitment to its partnerships despite the COVID-19 pandemic," said NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu.
Ukraine is now one of six Enhanced Opportunities Partners, alongside Australia, Finland, Georgia, Jordan, and Sweden. Each of the partners has a tailor-made relationship with NATO, based on areas of mutual interest.
"Ukraine's status as an Enhanced Opportunities Partner does not prejudge any decisions on NATO membership. 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," NATO said.