Kyiv security forum: Values that become destiny

The 8th Kyiv Security ForumThe 8th Kyiv Security Forum has started in Kyiv, Ukraine, under the banner 29 STORIES OF LIBERTY with the participation of representatives from NATO, European, American, and Ukrainian experts and politicians, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and the Prime Minister of Ukraine Aresniy Yatsenyuk. 

In his welcoming remarks Robin Niblett, Director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, stated that Ukraine is gaining exposure and attention within the European security sector. “The main purpose of this forum is to mobilize the democracies to defend our democratic values. With regard to the government of Ukraine, it should play a supportive rather than a dominant role in building a new, democratic Ukraine. We know that the previous government betrayed Ukraine. We know that Russia has chosen the path of limiting freedoms and democracy, but that does not give them the right to impose their values on the people of Ukraine. The democratic values that the people of Ukraine are fighting for, those are our values, and we should support Ukraine because that is in our interest.”

Bruno Lété, Senior Program Officer, Foreign and Security Policy, at the German Marshall Fund noted that the Marshall Fund has supported the Security Forum for seven years. “Our Fund will continue to support and develop relations with Ukraine because for us Ukraine has become an integral part of the Euro-Atlantic family.” Bruno Lété stressed that by waging war in Georgia in 2008, by annexing Crimea in 2014, and by being directly involved in the conflict in the Donbas Russia is undermining the security foundations of the world.

The opening ceremony was attended by the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and the Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk. In his speech Yatseniuk emphasized that the relationship between the president and the prime minister was not based on competitiveness but on teamwork and collaboration for the benefit of Ukraine.

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In his special address the president thanked the European and American partners for their diplomatic and financial support for Ukraine noting the solidarity that exists among all the countries of the European Union in regard to Ukraine. “It has been more than a year now that Ukraine has been living in conditions that have emerged after the annexation of Crimea. Our country is in constant jeopardy due to the assault from the Russian Federation on the Donbas. The Russians have no need of Crimea. One sixth of the land in the world is under Russian domination, and, frankly, Russia isn’t too competent in managing it. Russia needs Ukraine, all of Ukraine, to be weak, divided, and corrupt.” Poroshenko remarked on the extraordinary solidarity the people of Ukraine have demonstrated against the Russian aggressor. “Up to 80% of the population have found a way to support the Ukrainian army. Thanks to this support the Ukrainian army was able not only to repel the armed terrorists in eastern Ukraine, but to get back 2/3 of the occupied territory. However, after that Ukraine was forced into direct battles with the Russian army, the largest armed force on the continent with extensive combat experience.” Poroshenko stated that the world must find new formulas to ensure security in the world since the old formulas no longer work. “We need an effective mechanism for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements.”

President Poroshenko added that the government is ready to hold a dialogue with the Donbas, but with the Ukrainian Donbas, not with the imported warlords, bandits and terrorists; the government in Kyiv has vowed to fight corruption, to carry out reforms and to ensure a policy of decentralization and to do everything to make Ukraine a prosperous European nation.

A great friend of Ukraine, President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite was unable to attend the forum, but recorded a video message in which she said that 70 years after the end of the Second World War attempts are being made to redraw the borders of Europe. “I wish the Ukrainians steadfastness, strength and resolve as well as courage and wisdom. Glory to Ukraine!”

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A session of discussions followed. Among the issues for discussion were “The unraveling of the international system: Vienna, Yalta…Kyiv – next?” and “Values and principles as a foundation for foreign policy.” Prime Minister of Ukraine Aresniy Yatsenyuk, Speaker of the Parliament of Estonia Eiki Nestor, Head of the European Parliament’s Delegation to EU – Ukraine Association Committee; Member of the European Parliament from Croatia Andrej Plenkovic and Andrius Kubilius, Prime Minister of Latvia (2008-2012) participated.

Prime Minister Yatsenyuk noted that back in 1994 Ukraine had rejected one of the world’s largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons in exchange for guarantees of territorial integrity and sovereignty, but that did not stop Russia from launching an attack on Ukraine. “What do we see now? The boots of the Russian aggressor crushing Ukrainian earth in the Crimea and the Donbas. The war being waged is a war between truth and lies, between the past and the future. Putin wants to revive the USSR, he wants to be a major world leader. But a true leader does not behave the way Putin is behaving.” Yatsenyuk said that one of the reasons Russia has invaded Ukraine is because they see the West being passive in the face of Russian aggression. “In 2008 after Russia started the conflict in Georgia no one brought the Russians to account, Russia did not have to pay for anything. NATO did not offer Georgia and Ukraine entry into the alliance, and as a result Russia took advantage of the West’s inaction to prepare an assault on Ukraine. Russia has spent and continues to spend billions of dollars on the military and on weapons. We appeal to the West: give us the defensive weapons we need to be able to protect ourselves and the borders of Europe. Your borders!”

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In conclusion Arseniy Yatsenyuk expressed his appreciation to Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande for their support for Ukraine and invited foreign investors to invest in Ukraine.

 

Lili des Cévennes, EMPR

 EMPR, O. R. contributed to this publication 

 

Live broadcast of th Kyiv Security Forum is available here

This article is also available in Russian.

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