April 10, 2018

European Week of Ukraine

The Most Important Issues Concerning the Interests of Ukraine and the EU and NATO

Maintaining the firmness of the positions of most Western countries in the containment of Russia remains a significant factor in supporting Ukraine's interests in the context of its European integration. In particular, this concerns the continuation of coordinated pressure on Russia over the Russian special services' use of chemical weapons against the former Russian GRU officer S. Skripal in the British city of Salisbury.

Thus, according to the results of the analysis of the chemical composition of the poison and intelligence data, the British intelligence services confirmed its Russian origin, namely, from the Shikhany military research base in Saratov region of the RF. In view of this, most of the participants of the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons closed special meeting on April 4, 2018, in the Hague, rejected Russia's push for a joint investigation into the incident.

At the same time, last week the USA, NATO, EU, and Russia continued reciprocal expulsion of diplomats. In particular, April 2, 2018, the RF Consulate in the city of Seattle was closed. Ten persons from the Russia's Permanent Mission to NATO were also denied accreditation. In turn, at Moscow's demand, the work of the US Consulate General in St. Petersburg was also terminated.

 

Indicative was the support (April 3, 2018) by the Parliament of the Netherlands of the so-called “Magnitsky Act”, which provides for imposing sanctions on Russian officials, businessmen and others involved in human rights violations or large-scale corruption. At this, a proposal was made for granting the law the status of a legislative act of the European Union.

 

In this situation, Russia continues active measures to demonstrate military force. April 2, 2018, the next test of the new missile defense system of the RF Armed Forces was conducted. In particular, on the Sary-Shagan missile testing site in Kazakhstan, a modernized interceptor missile PRS-1M was launched. In addition, April 4–6, 2018, the Russian Navy conducted missile firing in the Baltic Sea near Latvia.

April 2, 2018, test of the new missile defense system of the RF Armed Forces was conducted on the Sary-Shagan testing site Russian Navy conducted missile firing in the Baltic Sea near Latvia
Russia continues active measures to demonstrate military force

Taking into account such actions of Moscow, the leaders of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia urged the USA and NATO to strengthen their military presence in the Baltic region, including the deployment of additional means of air defense. This issue and plans to deepen the cooperation of the parties in countering “hybrid” wars and cyber threats, were discussed during the meeting of the US and Baltic Presidents on 3 April, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

During the talks, D. Trump expressed the USA's intentions to keep its troops in the Baltic region and to continue to assist in strengthening the defense capability of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. In particular, the USA plans to give them 100 million US dollars for the purchase of ammunition and 70 million US dollars for military trainings. Following the meeting, a political declaration was adopted confirming the inviolability of the principle of collective defense (Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty).

Meeting of the US and Baltic Presidents on 3 April, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
Meeting of the US and Baltic Presidents on 3 April, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

The growing confrontation between the West and Russia raises the urgency of the issue of speeding up the processes of European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine. Another step on this path was the adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the draft law “On National Security of Ukraine”, which includes the tasks of our country's joining the EU and NATO.

Proceeding from such plans of Ukraine, it is important for our State to maintain the EU's leadership's negative attitude to the Russian project “Nord Stream 2”. Director-General for Energy within the European Commission Dominique Ristori said at the briefing in Kyiv on April 6, 2018, the European Commission would never support the Russian project as it contradicts the strategy of diversifying gas supplies to Europe. Besides, D. Ristori expressed his intention to make every possible effort to resolve the issue of continuing the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine after 2018.

Director-General for Energy within the European Commission Dominique Ristori at the briefing in Kyiv on April 6, 2018
Director-General for Energy within the European Commission Dominique Ristori at the briefing in Kyiv on April 6, 2018

Other Aspects of Cooperation Between Ukraine and Its Western Partners

EU-Ukraine Association Agreement can become a model for future relations between the UK and the EU
EU-Ukraine Association Agreement can become a model for future relations between the UK and the EU

According to European experts, the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement can become a model for future relations between Great Britain and the European Union. In this regard, signing of a similar agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU could be a positive alternative to concluding a package of individual cooperation agreements between the parties, which would be complicated and cumbersome. An example of such a problem is the regulatory framework between the EU and Switzerland, which includes more than 100 bilateral agreements.

In case of solving this issue, the United Kingdom, together with Ukraine, and possibly with Turkey, could form a circle of associate partners of the European Union. Actually, due to this will be implemented the idea of the so-called “multi-speed” integration of Europe, which envisages the possibility of different levels of interaction between the EU and its partners. At the same time, an impetus will be given to reforms in the European Union.

 

Some Events and Factors Affecting Ukraine's Relations with Western Countries and International Organizations

Against the background of the growing confrontation between Russia and the West, all sorts of pro-Russian forces in European countries have visibly intensified their activities. In particular, according to the statement of the leader of the Italian ultra-right party “League of the North” M. Salvini, in case of his appointment as the prime minister of the country, he will do his best to lift sanctions from Russia.

In his turn, on April 3, 2018, the leader of the Bulgarian party “Ataka” and the parliamentary faction “United Patriots” V. Siderov gave a negative assessment of the “Revolution of Dignity” in Ukraine. Thus, he called the revolutionary changes in Ukraine in early 2014 “a pro-fascist coup”. At the same time, he supported the Crimea's “belonging to Russia”.

Matteo Salvini Volen Siderov Boyko Borisov
Matteo Salvini Volen Siderov Boyko Borisov

January 1, 2018, Bulgaria, for the first time since joining the EU, took the post of interim presidency in the European Union. In September last year, Bulgaria's Prime Minister B. Borisov expressed his intention to use his country's position to cancel the EU's anti-Russian sanctions.