A high-level Ukrainian delegation of security and defense experts held talks with the NATO leadership in Brussels on March 24.
“We were invited to the NATO headquarters in Brussels to express our vision of the Crimea situation. We will meet the NATO secretary general and ministers of the Alliance member states. They are studying all the relevant points, such as the present-day status of Ukraine, its vision of the situation, and the steps it is going to take,” said statesman Yevhen Marchuk in his speech “Lessons for Ukraine” at the forum “Challenges of Time: Expert Opinion” held at the Kyiv International Institute of Management (MIM-Kyiv) on the eve of the Brussels powwow.
Mr. Marchuk’s MIM speech caused quite a stir. The forum participants asked many questions, and the former prime minister had to answer even after his scheduled time was over.
As is known, Mr. Marchuk played a key role in resolving two Crimean crises in the early 1990s and in 2003. So he competently managed to give clear-cut answers to the following questions: What caused the current situation in the Ukrainian peninsula? What mistakes did the government make? Will Russia continue its offensive to southern and eastern Ukraine? Was the West’s response adequate enough? Is it possible to regain Crimea? What is Ukraine to do now? Read the answers in one of our next issues.
Meanwhile, here are commentaries by some members of the Ukrainian delegation on the first results of the Brussels discussions.
Ihor SMESHKO, ex-chairman, Security Service of Ukraine; head, all-Ukrainian non-governmental organization Strength and Honor:
“The Ukrainian delegation of top-level security and defense experts held discussions with the NATO leadership in Brussels. In the course of numerous meetings with Alliance top executives, we explained the Ukrainian vision of the causes and effects for Europe and the entire world order of Russia’s recent military aggression against Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, an integral part of our territory. We discussed various likely developments in the Ukraine situation, NATO plans to meet its international commitments – on both the collective and the bilateral level – about military-political cooperation with Ukraine. It was particularly noted that Ukraine had always been one of the most responsible and active NATO partners in ensuring peace and security in the most dangerous and conflict-prone spots over the past 20 years.”
Oleksandr CHALY, diplomat, ex-first deputy minister of foreign affairs:
“An informal top-level Ukrainian delegation is having consultations at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on the ways to defuse the situation around Ukraine caused by the annexation of Crimea. It is positive that NATO does not recognize the annexation of Crimea by Russia in the strategic dimension and is prepared to render all kinds of diplomatic and military-technical assistance to Ukraine. But NATO is still undecided about the next steps outside its jurisdiction. It is Ukrainian diplomacy that must show initiative and offer a comprehensive plan of real actions to be taken by NATO and Russia to deescalate the situation around Ukraine. This is the only chance to find a scenario of further developments that rules out the use of force.”