Are the EU and NATO Serious about Bringing Peace to Ukraine? You Wouldn’t Know It from Their Language.

19 липня, 2018

Публікація на Atlantic Council

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as they arrive for a family picture ahead of the opening ceremony of the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit, at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, July 11, 2018. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

Two events that took place in Brussels this month—the NATO summit and the EU-Ukraine summit—have once again brought attention to the Western position on Russia’s unlawful war on Ukraine. Although very supportive of Ukraine, the final declarations of both summits fail to use clear language recognizing Russia’s responsibility for its ongoing multi-vector war on Ukraine.

Instead, the EU-Ukraine summit’s statement speaks of “external challenges” that Ukraine is facing, “acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014,” “illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol,” and “violence in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.” The language of NATO’s Brussels summit declaration is more direct, mentioning “Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea and ongoing destabilization of eastern Ukraine,” and Russia’s “political, financial, and military support to militant groups,” “military interventions in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” and “troops, equipment, and mercenaries [stationed on] the territory of Ukraine.”

Both make two crucial mistakes. They treat Russia’s actions in Crimea and the Donbas as separate matters, not part of a coordinated, unitary war effort; and they do not unequivocally recognize Russia as the aggressor state that is directly responsible for waging an unlawful inter-state war against Ukraine, albeit an undeclared one.

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West needs to get real on Ukraine

27 вересня, 2017

Публікація на EUobserver

Ever since the EuroMaidan revolution in 2014, Ukraine’s governments have been under close scrutiny to meet the expectations of the supporters of a pro-European, liberal, and democratic model.
The expectations that Ukraine becomes a utopia set a very high bar to meet. The bar is so high, in fact, that it could not possibly be met even by wealthy western nations that have enjoyed peace and stability.

Expecting the impossible meant that criticism of Ukraine’s ‘failure’ to swiftly undertake sweeping social change was inevitable. In recent months, a mounting wave of criticism of the Ukrainian government has flooded the media in Ukraine and abroad.

Unfortunately, these criticisms are often unreasonable, ignoring the reality of what can be achieved under even ideal circumstances, the vast difficulties of conducting reforms, the time required for meaningful institutional change to occur, and the challenge of reform during war time.

Remarkably, Ukraine is expected to pursue its utopian programme at the same time as it is trying to defend itself against Russia’s unprovoked, multi-vectored war.

It is a war which includes a massive information assault to discredit the Ukrainian state, unrestrained hate propaganda to dehumanise Ukrainians, unprecedented economic pressure, political subversion, intimidation of Ukrainian citizens by kidnappings, unlawful prosecution, terrorist attacks, and military invasion on its territory.

It is a war waged by a nuclear state whose population, economy, resources, and military force are several times larger than Ukraine’s, and a war waged by a country which is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council with the power to manipulate the global agenda.

Defending against an enemy like Russia is a gargantuan and all-consuming task on its own.

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