May 29, 2018

Back to “Red Lines”

Will Russia Prevent Ukraine's European and Euro-Atlantic Integration?

For July 11–12, 2018, within the framework of the NATO Summit in Brussels, is scheduled a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at the level of heads of state and government. The agenda of the event includes discussion of topical issues and further directions of cooperation between Ukraine and the Alliance. At the same time, the main outcome of the meeting should be the NATO leadership's confirmation of Ukraine's right to join the Organization, which was declared during the Bucharest Summit of the North Atlantic Alliance in 2008. Confirmation of this should be the adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the Law “On National Security”, which will enshrine the Euro-Atlantic choice of our state.

This, in turn, will let Ukraine to join a NATO Membership Action Plan and, accordingly, begin practical preparatory actions. Although, for today, Ukraine's cooperation with the Alliance is already at the level of other Allies from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), and even outstrips them. Thus, according to the NATO leadership, it is Ukraine that plays a leading role in deterring Russia's neo-imperial policy and supporting European security on the Eastern direction.

At this, contrary to the statements by Russian politicians and the media, as well as their European and Ukrainian followers, the West is not “tired” of Ukraine and continues to pay special attention to it. The EU and NATO's decision to include Ukraine into their sphere of responsibility is of a principle nature and does not depend on domestic Ukrainian problems. In fact, towards Ukraine, Washington and Brussels act in the same way as towards other CEE countries at the stage of their preparation for joining NATO and the EU.

…the EU and NATO's decision to include Ukraine into their sphere of responsibility is of a principle nature and does not depend on domestic Ukrainian problems…

Evidence of this was the held in Ukraine on April 18, 2018, meeting of the NATO Military Committee at the level of military representatives. And next year, the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO will be held in Ukraine for the first time. In common practice, such events are organized in NATO member countries or candidates for membership in the Organization. Thus, the leadership of the North Atlantic Alliance is given a clear signal of Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic prospects.

 

Despite Russia's pressure, Georgia and Moldova also continue the course to join NATO, which allows the post-Soviet countries to combine efforts to achieve their goals. Thus, for June 9, 2018, in Kyiv, an Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova is planned to be created, in order to coordinate the actions on preparation for NATO membership, as well as liberation of their territories occupied by Russia. The meeting will also be attended by representatives of the Parliaments of Poland and Lithuania, which are already members of NATO and the European Union.

In fact, will be created an analogue of the Visegrad Group, which was established in 1991 in the interests of coordinating the steps on European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. In this regard, illustrative is Hungary's giving up blocking the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission over the Ukrainian law “On Education”, as well as Poland's continuation of the support to our state despite the complication of problems in bilateral relations.

At the same time, the EU-Ukraine Summit is scheduled for July 9, 2018. During the preparation of the event, the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee recognized Ukraine's right to raise the question of acquiring EU membership (in accordance with Article 49 of the Treaty on the European Union), if it meets the relevant criteria. In this regard, the EU leadership was recommended to confirm Ukraine's European aspirations in the text of the final declaration to be adopted at the EU-Ukraine Summit.

 

…the USA demonstratively ignores the interests of the Russian Federation and its claim to the role of a “great world power”…

All this clearly showed the futility of Russia's attempts to prevent the process of Ukraine's accession to NATO and the EU, and to set Ukraine at loggerheads with its European neighbors. The inevitability of the West's attitude to Moscow's policy and the Ukrainian issue was also confirmed during meetings with Russian President V. Putin with the Federal Chancellor of Germany A. Merkel (May 18, 2018, in Sochi) and with the President of France E. Macron (May 24, 2018, on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum). Not to mention the United States, which demonstratively ignores the interests of the Russian Federation and its claim to the role of a “great world power”, and increases the pressure on it through building up political and economic sanctions. May 28, 2018, the right of Ukraine and Georgia to NATO membership was also pointed out in the final declaration of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Alliance in Warsaw.

 

Such a situation clearly shows the systemic catastrophe of V. Putin's strategy of bringing Russia to the level of the former USSR or the Russian Empire by restoring confrontation with the West rather than modernizing Russia's economy, which remains in a state of deep depression. No matter how hard the RF leadership tries to deny this fact, including during the forum in St. Petersburg, it is absolute reality. In particular, according to the IMF assessment, which was made against the background of the Kremlin's further attempts to fool the world at the Forum in the second Russian capital, in its economic development Russia will continue lagging behind the countries of the CEE, including the post-Soviet republics and Ukraine.

…Moscow's inability to ensure the attractiveness of Russia by political and economic means is compensated by demonstrations of military force and threats…

As always, Moscow's inability to ensure the attractiveness of Russia by political and economic means is compensated by demonstrations of military force and threats of its use, as well as armed provocations against Russian opponents and attacks on them. Thus, after the Bucharest summit of NATO in 2008, Russia attacked Georgia, and after the “Revolution of Dignity” in Ukraine in January–February 2014 it began armed aggression against our state. At this, the attacks on Georgia and Ukraine were openly explained by the Kremlin as protection of the “red lines” of Russian interests that do not allow former Soviet republics' joining NATO and the EU.

Last week, the theme of the “red lines” was once again raised by V. Putin during the economic summit in St. Petersburg, which is traditionally used by Russia as one of the international platforms for promoting its interests. In particular, the RF President once again accused NATO of “moving closer to Russia's borders”, and also expressed suspicion that “Ukraine will be included in the Alliance tomorrow, and some NATO radar and missile defense systems will be deployed on its territory”. In this regard, he emphasized the inadmissibility of NATO's crossing “red lines” of Russian interests.

But then, what can Russia do today to prevent such actions by the Alliance? At best to launch another “fake” about its “absolute weapon” capable of destroying NATO and the United States, as V. Putin did in his address to the RF Federal Assembly on March 1, 2018. And then to be trying to find at least some plausible justifications for Russia's failure to prevent the US missile strikes on B. Assad's chemical sites in Syria, as well as the fact of the unconditional destruction by an Israeli aviation of Russian air defense systems that had been delivered to Iranian troops in the Syrian territory.

Of course, Russia is still able to expand the scale of the military invasion of Ukraine and create many other problems for it. In particular, the evidence of this is the recent intensification of hostilities in the Donbas. However, another “Russian spring” of the 2014 model is no longer possible under any circumstances. Ukraine will be able to stand for itself both, on its own, and with the help of its western partners, who have already started providing modern, highly effective lethal weapons for the needs of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

 

…Ukraine, one form or another, will inevitably be part of the Alliance, despite all the “red lines” that Russia tries to draw…

As for Ukraine's membership in NATO, in one form or another, it will inevitably be part of the Alliance, despite all the “red lines” that Russia tries to draw. And then, NATO's military bases and missile defense and air defense systems, as well as ballistic and cruise missiles and the Alliance's strike aviation, will be deployed on the Ukrainian territory within a minutes' flight to Moscow. The reality of such prospects was demonstrated by the accession to NATO of the countries of the CEE and the Baltic States. As the saying goes, “as you sow, so you reap”. This is absolutely true about Russia's policy towards Ukraine both in historical retrospect and at the present stage.


 

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