In 1999–2001, Ukraine served as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Historically, Soviet Ukraine joined the United Nations in 1945 as one of the original members following a Western compromise with the Soviet Union, which had asked for seats for all 15 of its union republics. Ukraine has consistently supported peaceful, negotiated settlements to disputes. It has participated in the quadripartite talks on the conflict in Moldova and promoted a peaceful resolution to conflict in the post-Soviet state of Georgia. Ukraine also has made a substantial contribution to UN peacekeeping operations since 1992.
Ukraine currently considers Euro-Atlantic integration its primary foreign policy objective, but in practice it has always balanced its relationship with the European Union and the United States with strong ties to Russia. The European Union’s Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Ukraine went into force on 1 March 1998. The European Union (EU) has encouraged Ukraine to implement the PCA fully before discussions begin on an association agreement, issued at the EU Summit in December 1999 in Helsinki, recognizes Ukraine’s long-term aspirations but does not discuss association. On 31 January 1992, Ukraine joined the then-Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (now the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)), and on 10 March 1992, it became a member of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council. Ukraine–NATO relations are close and the country has declared interest in eventual membership. This was removed from the government’s foreign policy agenda upon election of Viktor Yanukovych to the presidency, in 2010. But after February 2014’s Yanukovych ouster and the (denied by Russia) following Russian military intervention in Ukraine Ukraine renewed its drive for NATO membership. Ukraine is the most active member of the Partnership for Peace (PfP). All major political parties in Ukraine support full eventual integration into the European Union. The Association Agreement with the EU was expected to be signed and put into effect by the end of 2011, but the process was suspended by 2012 because of the political developments of that time. The Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union was signed in 2014.
Ukraine long had close ties with all its neighbours, but Russia–Ukraine relations became difficult in 2014 by the annexation of Crimea, energy dependence and payment disputes. There are also tensions with Poland and Hungary.
The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), which entered into force in January 2016 following the ratification of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement, formally integrates Ukraine into the European Single Market and the European Economic Area. Ukraine receives further support and assistance for its EU-accession aspirations from the International Visegrád Fund of the Visegrád Group that consists of Central European EU members the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia.