After declaration of the national independence and yet before the break-up of USSR there was a plan to send a cosmonaut-researcher (or even a whole-Ukrainian crew) to the Mir space station with a visiting mission. This idea was obviously abandonded after break-up of USSR and deterioration of Russian-Ukrainian relations immediately afterwards. Few years later, in 1995 Ukraine accepted the U.S. offer to fly a Ukrainian researcher as a Payload Specialist on the Space Shuttle. In 1997 Leonid Kadenyuk took part in STS-87 mission.
Although 15 Ukrainian-born cosmonauts have flown in space between 1962 and 1994, Kadenyuk is considered to be the first cosmonaut of Ukraine. (Even though he was a member of the Russian cosmonaut team for more than a decade, training for a flight on the Buran space shuttle.)
With Russia joining the International Space Station project in 1993 Ukraine would automatically get a role in the program as the vendor of the Zenit-2 launch vehicle which was initially supposed to carry most of the Russian permanent elements as well as the Progress M2 logistics spacecraft . Later, however, this role was threatened by desire of Russian companies to rely on internal cooperation while building and maintaining the Russian segment of ISS. Quite logically, Ukraine decided to legitimize its participation in the project.
After launch of the first Space Station element on November 20, 1998, Ukraine announced its intent to join the ISS project as a partner by building one of the two scientific modules which Russia was originally slated to built. According to the deputy head of National Space Agency of Ukraine Eduard Kuznetsov, "We plan to sign agreements in the first half of the next year with the Russian Space Agency and U.S. space agency NASA to construct a Ukrainian module in the place of a Russian segment of the international station."  Under the new plan, Ukraine would spend $100 to $150 million on construction of the scientific module, completing it by 2003 or 2004.