April 2, 2018

European Week of Ukraine

The most important issues concerning the interests of Ukraine and the EU and NATO

Of key importance for Ukraine is the unity of the Western world in the containment of the neo-imperial policy of Putin's regime. A manifestation of the firmness of the positions of the United States, Europe and their allies and partners in relation to Russia was a coordinated decision of about 30 countries regarding the deportation of Russian “diplomats”, but in fact — spies, in response to the poisoning by the Russian special services of a former GRU officer S. Skripal in the British city of Salisbury.

The scale of the deportation of Russian representatives is unprecedented and shows the seriousness of perceiving by the world of Moscow's global actions to undermine international stability and peace, violations of the sovereignty of other countries, creation of threats to their security and discrediting Western institutions. At this, the United States, NATO and the EU have actually recognized Russia as their main enemy, which brings the new “cold” war between the West and the Russian Federation to a qualitatively new level. Thus, according to Prime Minister of the UK Theresa May, who has actually headed the anti-Russian front, the West will not allow Russia to undermine international security and violate international law.

Full list of countries that have expelled Russian “diplomats”
Full list of countries that have expelled
Russian “diplomats”

Taking into consideration these circumstances, we should expect the United States, NATO and the EU's further pressure on Russia through the imposition of new sanctions, as well as other steps with critical consequences for the RF. In particular, the UK government has already launched an initiative to ban the sale of Russian bonds through the London Clearing House (LCH). In addition, it is proposed to amend the British and European legislation to close the possibility of Russian bond issuance by financial institutions in Russia that are subject to EU sanctions.

The solution to this issue will considerably complicate Moscow's ability to access the European credit market, which remains one of the largest sources of its external borrowing. Thus, in March this year alone, Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation issued Eurobonds worth 4 billion US dollars. At this, about 40 % of the bonds were purchased by British investors.

On its part, the Russian leadership also announces its intention to take adequate steps in response. However, it no longer has any means of defending its international positions and interests other than building and demonstrating its military potential, as well as continuing subversion against Western countries and international organizations.

An indication of this is the intensification of the aggressive rhetoric of the Russian media, Russia's demonstration of military and provocative measures. In particular, March 30, 2018, at the “Plesetsk” training range in Arkhangelsk region of the Russian Federation, they tested the model of new “Sarmat” heavy-class ICBM, widely commented on by the Russian mass media. At the same time, at the end of March, for the first time since the collapse of the USSR, a demonstration flight of two anti-submarine Tu-142 aircrafts (created on the basis of the Tu-95 strategic bomber) was carried out across the North Pole to the Alaska coast.

Testing of the model of new “Sarmat” heavy-class ICBM Anti-submarine Tu-142 aircraft
Provocative exercises of the Russian Armed Forces at the end of March, 2018

In such a situation, a powerful factor in raising Ukraine's military security and strengthening its position in confronting Russia is to deepen our country's cooperation with the North Atlantic Alliance. Thus, March 28, 2018, the President of Ukraine signed the Decree approving the “Annual National Program Under the Auspices of the Ukraine-NATO Commission for 2018”. The Program is a systemic strategic document defining priority tasks for 2018 and medium-term goals for the period up to 2020, as well as a list of practical measures for implementing the policy of Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration and reforming the country's security and defense sector.

President of Ukraine approved the Annual National Program Under the Auspices of the Ukraine-NATO Commission for 2018
President of Ukraine approved the Annual National Program Under the Auspices of the Ukraine-NATO Commission for 2018

According to the document, the main medium-term goals of the development of cooperation between Ukraine and the North Atlantic Alliance are to ensure preparation of Ukraine for joining the Alliance, as well as receiving an invitation to participate in the NATO Membership Action Plan. Proceeding from this, the priority tasks of Ukraine for the current year are as follows:

  • launching negotiations with the member states of the North Atlantic Alliance on the introduction of a NATO Membership Action Plan for Ukraine;
  • continuation of the dialogue on Ukraine's accession to the Enhanced Opportunity Program within the framework of the Partnership Interoperability Initiative;
  • consultations with the NATO countries of the Black Sea region on regional security issues, including in the territory of the Russian-occupied Crimea;
  • Ukraine's participation in NATO's international peacekeeping operations, in particular in Kosovo and Afghanistan, as well as in the Mediterranean Sea;
  • deepening interaction with NATO in the process of reforming the security and defense sector of Ukraine in accordance with the standards of the Alliance;
  • intensification of cooperation between Ukraine and NATO in the sphere of counteracting Russia's “hybrid” wars.

At the same time, the document confirms NATO's commitment to assist in enhancing Ukraine's defense capability in the face of the RF's continued armed aggression.

 

Support to Ukraine by the North Atlantic Alliance was also confirmed during the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at the ambassadorial level on 29 March in Brussels. The event was aimed at discussing the course of reforms and the security situation in Ukraine and did take place despite Hungary's promise to block NATO-Ukraine meetings over the Ukrainian law on education.

 

Other Aspects of Cooperation Between Ukraine and Its Western Partners

EU Commissioner E. Bieńkowska’s meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine V. Groysman
EU Commissioner E. Bieńkowska’s meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine V. Groysman

As part of the implementation of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, the development of cooperation between the parties in the industrial sphere continues.

March 27, 2018, EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium-Sized Business E. Bienkowska visited Ukraine. During her meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine V. Groysman and representatives of the Ukrainian government, were discussed opportunities for wider participation of Ukrainian enterprises in the European economic system. E. Bienkowska pointed out positive changes in the implementation of reforms in Ukraine, which creates the ground for removing barriers in the interaction between Ukraine and the European Union. Based on this, she confirmed the EU's willingness to continue to assist Ukraine in modernizing its industry, which has high potential and can be integrated into the industrial complex of Europe.