On July 12-13, 2017 Ukraine-EU Summit was held in Kyiv with participation of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk. The parties discussed implementation of the Association Agreement, visa regime, reforms and combating corruption in Ukraine, the Russian aggression and the like. At the same time, this summit did not produce a joint statement via contradiction around phrases about "European aspirations" of Ukraine.
However, the friendly rhetoric of the summit overshadows the beginning of the crisis in relations between Kyiv and Brussels. Absence of the joint declaration shows that the EU is not yet ready for further rapprochement to Ukraine. On the one hand, the slow pace of reforms and fight against corruption reduces the interest of Brussels to deepening of cooperation with our state. On the other hand, Ukraine has established a foothold among the secondary issues of the EU policy due to Brexit, migration, terrorism, financial problems and other priorities. In addition, euroskeptic and populist forces, despite the recent defeat at the polls in the Netherlands and France, will continue to play a prominent role in the political life of many countries. As a consequence, European aspirations of Ukraine and other countries neighboring the EU will give rise to ultra-right politicians harshly criticizing their governments and institutions in Brussels.
Without further rapprochement with the EU, Ukraine will not have sufficient incentives to continue reforms and fight corruption. The main engine of political and economic transformation in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe was the prospect of EU membership. In the case of Ukraine, these "gingerbread" was the Association Agreement, deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA) and visa-free regime, which many citizens and politicians mistakenly considered to be an intermediate step to EU membership. From now on "soft power" of the EU towards Ukraine is limited to financial support in conducting reforms and sanctions against Russia. It is obvious that the potential of such tools is not enough to ensure the irreversibility of the course of reforms and fight against corruption.
Thus, this Ukraine – EU summit will be the beginning of uncertainty about the future of bilateral relations. The ability of Brussels to offer attractive initiative for Ukraine will depend on the continuation of reforms in Ukraine, progress in the fight against corruption, the preservation of democratic achievements and loyalty of Ukrainian citizens to the European idea and values.
Nuclear disarmament: Ukrainian-Korean lessons
Ukraine and North Korea which are so different and distant were connected within the context of nuclear non-proliferation. There was a time when Ukraine made a significant contribution to strengthening this regime by nuclear disarmament. On the contrary, North Korea consistently undermines this regime by demonstrating to the whole world by its own example, the opportunities and risks of the acquisition of nuclear weapons. In recent weeks, given the rhetoric of nuclear disarmament on the Korean peninsula following the summit of the leaders of the DPRK and the Republic of Korea, the parallels have become too obsessive; and the question of whose choice will eventually turn out to be the right one is a matter of interest to many. According to the conditions of the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 which has been so often mentioned in the last years, Ukraine has acceded to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a non-nuclear-weapon state, thus getting rid of the nuclear arsenal that remained on its territory after the collapse of the USSR. Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan were not the pioneers on this complicated and controversial path: several years ago, the South African republic rejected the nuclear weapons. Unlike the post-Soviet republics, South Africa fully controlled its small nuclear arsenal - for this reason it could be considered a model for future nuclear disarmament cases. Current nuclear states are primarily interested in increasing the number of such cases, but the paradox is that they are often seen as a source of threats pushing other states to obtain nuclear weapons. In case of Ukraine this paradox transformed four years ago from an intellectual puzzle to a key issue of foreign policy. The strategic challenges faced by the leadership of the DPRK today differ significantly from those that the leaders of the Ukrainian state tried to resolve a quarter of a century ago. The international environment and the international security situation are fundamentally different. Thus, such cases are more interesting to compare. Could Ukraine get the best, in words of Donald Trump, deal? And will North Korea follow the example South Africa? What are the starting points for a serious talk about nuclear disarmament in the modern world as a whole? In the early 1990's, optimism and faith in the future without conflicts prevailed worldwide. Against this backdrop, nuclear weapons seemed not to be the relic of the past, with which it is impossible to solve the challenges of the future: to accelerate economic development, to change the social model, or to build an effective democracy. Membership in NATO seemed rather reachable, moving towards Europe simple, and the neighborhood with Russia good. Rejecting nuclear weapons was much easier twenty five years ago: the deal seemed to be to exchange of unnecessary military resources for such necessary legitimacy, Western support and money. North Korea makes its decisions in other circumstances. The period of romantic perception of international security has past long ago, and events in Ukraine have considerably deepened the crisis of world order. The demand for hard power has suddenly emerged again, and nuclear weapon is considered by many as a "great counterpart" in the military capabilities of the various potential states. It seems that Ukrainian experience has been useful for many, including the DPRK. Its key lesson is that exchanging nuclear weapons is reasonable only if reliable security assurances are provided. A number of states which were technologically capable of creating nuclear weapons, from Australia to Japan, and from Sweden to South Korea used to go that way. The fact is that for the United States, the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons is a priority of the foreign policy strategy since the 1940s. Sanctions and preventive military strikes appeared to be less effective instruments than the proliferation of security assurances: and over the past 70 years, US security commitments have been expanded exponentially, in both multilateral formats, such as NATO or ANZUS, and in bilateral agreements concluded with Japan or South Korea. Nearly always the motive behind such commitments is the desire of the United States to prevent their allies from gaining nuclear capability. Ukraine in its time did not learn this lesson. Nuclear weapons should not be exchanged for money or for any other non-security related resources. Indeed, Ukraine did not control nuclear weapons on its own territory and it weakened its position in negotiations with Washington. However, it didn’t mean that Ukraine could not demand more. In 1994, this could be a security treaty with the United States, which including an obligation to protect Ukraine, which is not provided in the Budapest memorandum. Today, in a crisis of international security and lack of trust, such an agreement is not enough.
Expert discussion: “Anti-Russian sanctions: the instrument of influence or demonstration of weakness”
On April 25, the International Center for Policy Studies held an expert discussion on "Anti-Russian sanctions: an instrument of influence or demonstration of weakness?" The regime of sanctions has been implemented for four years, and the preservation or expansion of its scope has become a peculiar criterion for the success of foreign policy in general. How valid is this criterion? What can be achieved through sanctions and what is the best way of their application? «Sanctions can help prevent further violations and the use of violence – here there are more chances of success. And this is exactly what worked in the sanctions of the West against Russia. From my point of view, the main role played by Western sanctions is precisely the suspension of further Russian aggression, "said ICPS expert Mykola Kapitonenko. "Sanctions are an instrument, part of a strategy aimed at achieving priority goals. "And sanctions are the instrument that has its own price and fairly limited effectiveness which leads to creating complex dilemmas over time because it has rather controversial consequences," he said. As a rule, sanctions are imposed to influence a country that violates agreed norms, international principles with a view to changing its behavior. They are relatively frequent: among 26 sanction programs currently conducted by the United States 12 were initiated over the past 10 years; the United Nations has imposed sanctions more than 20 times since the end of the Cold War, however before only twice. Today in the vast majority of cases there are imposed the so-called "targeted" sanctions as opposed to comprehensive sanctions, which were much more popular until the 20th century. The key difference between them is to differentiate between those responsible for implementing a particular policy of groups or individuals from the rest of the population, the expert said. According to ICPS research, statistics of recent decades indicate that only in one of every fourth case, economic sanctions have led to significant changes in the behavior of the state against which it was imposed. The highest effectiveness of sanctions - about 50% - is observed in the case of destabilization of the political regime. But in such a case there are significant reservations: external factors can become a factor in consolidating society around the ruling power. Meanwhile, according to Kapitonenko, the sanction policy of the West is now not aimed at changing the regime in Russia. Speaking about the recommendations on the application of sanctions against Ukraine by Russia, the expert emphasized the importance of maintaining meaningful dialogue with the partner states: the more profound is the understanding of the interests and controversial assessments / positions of the partners regarding anti-Russian sanctions, the more productive and prolonged cooperation will be in this direction. It is important to create a hierarchy of goals that need to be realistic, taking into account the potential and the limit of the effectiveness of sanction policy. Alongside this, restrictive measures against the Russian Federation should be expanded, as long as the emphasis be made on target sanctions, in particular personal, he said. In addition, asymmetry in relations between Ukraine and Russia should be taken into account, because, according to the expert, in this case Ukraine is a weak and vulnerable party that essentially distinguishes Ukrainian anti-Russian sanctions from the West. Also, economic sanctions should have a transparent procedure and control over their implementation in order not to become an instrument of internal political struggle with competitors, "Kapitonenko noted. The International Center for Policy Studies has prepared recommendations on the strategy for applying sanctions: Supporting a more meaningful dialogue with partner countries. The more profound the understanding of their interests and contradictory assessments / positions regarding anti-Russian sanctions is, the more productive and lasting will be cooperation in this direction; Create a hierarchy of goals. The sanction strategy - like any other - cannot be effective without identifying the primary goals. They need to be realistic, taking into account the potential and limit of the effectiveness of sanction policies; Determination of optimal characteristics of the sanction regime; An important and effective instrument is the combination of sanctions with threats of subsequent sanctions, as well as with other instruments of pressure; A more in-depth study of a multilateral format of anti-Russian sanctions is needed. On the one hand, the common stance of as many countries as possible concerning the issue of anti-Russian sanctions makes their use not so expensive or risky for each of them individually; Asymmetry in relations between Ukraine and Russia must be taken into account; Sanctions should be state policy instrument followed by clear and understandable application of logic and transparent rules. Transforming them into a means of combating competitors will discredit not only Ukrainian sanctions against Russia, but also undermine the effectiveness and credibility of sanctions in general; The use of sanctions – the complex and sometimes contradictory instrument with due regard to the asymmetry of Ukrainian-Russian relations is rather expensive. Therefore, it should be an element of two strategies: the settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the determination of the format of bilateral relations with Russia.
Decade after Bucharest Summit: Has Ukraine become closer to NATO?
Ten years ago, when the world was completely different, NATO adopted a Summit Declaration in Bucharest, where paragraph 23 referred to the postponement of the MAP for Ukraine. All the traditional protocol norms followed, and diplomatic formulas voiced. In Ukraine, which, as in the past, as now, covered by predilection passions, the news caused a mixed reaction. Someone upset, considering the security vacuum to be an invitation to Russian influence. Someone liked — the reputation of NATO in Ukraine was not so brilliant as it is today. Politicians, in its turn, were thinking of how to play a NATO card in the elections that were once again promised to be fateful. Today, Ukraine again wants to enter NATO speaks about the MAP and is preparing for the elections again. Some mistakes of a decade ago will be made again. However, the conditions for repeating those mistakes are much more rigid. Is Ukraine closer to NATO today than it was ten years ago? Probably not. Because when we are running to NATO, we are moving away from it, there are three main reasons: international, Ukrainian and Russian. Correct mark of the weight of each of them will help to avoid simplifications, disappointments and false decisions. International factors that complicate Ukraine's move to NATO are out of our control, have a long-term impact and are not a subject to rapid change. In 2008, the life of the aspirant country (as it is now fashionable to call) was compare simple and easy: to do a “homework” – it means, turn the country into a true democracy; and make sure the key member states of NATO, that you will bring more benefits than troubles. International security, particularly in Europe, was comparatively strong: frozen conflicts such as Transnistria were one of the most serious problems. Russia's politics was not entirely understandable, but predictable. Institutes and security mechanisms in Europe were still working. A few months after Bucharest Summit, the situation changed with the developments of the Russian-Georgian war in August. There is a widespread thought that Russia's aggression against Georgia, as well as later against Ukraine, was a consequence of the failure to provide the MAP to both countries in Bucharest. The question is how reasonable this opinion can be. The MAP does not extend to the country in which it provides, the Alliance's security guarantees, and in the case of aggression, it remains alone. Would Russia's aggression be accelerated, delayed or blocked by another solution in Bucharest is a speculative issue. We did not manage the simple tasks for aspirant of a decade ago – and this is the main reason for slowdown on the path to NATO, as it was and is now. Today, we repeat the mistakes of the past, believing that the more loud and hard we knock at the NATO door, the sooner it will be opened. Ten years ago, they knocked through the “letter of three” – signed by the President Victor Yushchenko, the Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and the Speaker Yatsenyuk, who had to prove the unity of Ukrainian politicians who were not usually favorable to her. Today they are knocking through changes to the legislation, both those that have already taken place and possible constitutional ones. Now there are also many talks about the referendum. Interestingly, the argument with a referendum will only work for the Russian audience. There is still a belief that NATO has been expanding against the will of the population of the new member states of Eastern Europe, to confirm exactly what they refer to without referendums. NATO is not argued by referendums. It is unlikely, that now anyone is in doubt that most Ukrainians would like to get under the protection of the Alliance and resolve all their problems in such an uncomplicated way. But NATO is not interested in the desire of Ukrainians, but they are concerned with common interests. A wide field of these common interests appears in cases where neighboring countries can become democratic and effective. Democracy for NATO is an operational code and a trust saver, not beautiful slogans. Unfortunately, for Ukraine, on the contrary. A warning that without a strong democracy and a rule of law, joining NATO will not happen – is rhetoric but pragmatic demands. In 2008, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Ukraine in the ranking of the Democracies of the World on the 53rd place in a group of Democracies with Disabilities. In 2017, we were – for the version of the same edition – on 83 place in the group of hybrid regimes. If more democracy means being closer to NATO, what does Ukraine's current position in the ranking of democratic states mean? Of course, Russia's factor plays its part, and it does not play a role in Ukraine's prospects for NATO. Russia's aggression undermined our security, ruined regional security, undermining the credibility of institutions and states. We argue the Europeans of the seriousness of the Russian threat and for them, too, but they hardly see the solution to this problem through Ukraine's accession to NATO. It is crucial for NATO to maintain unity and effectiveness, and this requires maintaining the Alliance's credibility. The hypothetical membership of Ukraine will, in case of Russia's further aggression, have too complex dilemmas in front of each member state. Although it is often believed that the Russian war in Ukraine pushes Kyiv to NATO, this is true only as far as public opinion concerned. The existence of an open conflict and high probability of its escalation inhibits our movement to NATO, and to other possible coalitions, as it multiplies the number of risks associated with Ukraine. Ten years ago on the desire of Ukraine to MAP played international stability strong support of Washington and a much better situation inside the country. Today it is possible to try to play on the public opinion of Ukrainians and the exploitation of the threat from Moscow. Passion of simple decisions makes the international situation of Ukraine more and more complex, and does not look like, that the prospects of NATO membership are an exception to this trend.
Statement of the Verkhovna Rada and Strategic Partnership with Poland
The words of the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the future of the Baltic-Black Sea Arc, said immediately after the parliament's adoption of the statement, a reaction to the Polish law on the Institute of National Remembrance, sounded either as bullying or as a complete misunderstanding of the challenges and elections facing Ukraine today. The case has long ceased to be relevant to the analysis of the historical details of the Polish-Ukrainian relations. Today we are talking about the choice of paradigms for further development, both in Ukraine and throughout Eastern Europe. And only Ukrainian deputies seem to think that talking about European integration to accompany the play of the national map and the deterioration of relations with its western neighbors is quite normal. You can search for whoever started the first one as long as you like. In this case, it does not matter. What should be worrying us - not today, but several years ago, when we decided to actively build our own national identity on the basis of ethnic symbolism, this is the consequences of such elections for neighbors. It was easy for them to foresee, it was enough to get a superficial look at the history of the region of the past two centuries. It was obvious that all the problematic language-historical components of relations with neighbors would be touched upon. What further this will create the demand for national rhetoric already within these states. And what kind of rhetoric will encourage politicians to re-think their position on Ukraine. But we did not think about it, did it, seemingly simple and good things - restored historical justice, forgetting that it is everyone's own. The Poles adopted their law in totally different conditions than those in which we respond to it. They are members of the EU and NATO, they do not need to prove their European character. They do not need Ukrainian help either. For them, the pendulum bias toward national rhetoric is no more than a conjunctural phenomenon, although even in the strict framework of European democracy, it can lead to a lower level of democracy. We are a country where eight years have passed the so-called "Hybrid mode", which is not a hybrid war, but a lack of democracy - we risk losing too much in terms of both internal and external perspectives. Similar steps Parliament - knowingly or not - creates an environment more conducive to the concentration of power, the effect of "dancing around the flag" - in short, all that we criticize the regime in Russia so emotionally and rationally. The statement adopted by the Verkhovna Rada to a certain extent reflects not only the lack of understanding of long-term consequences, but also the detachment of ideas about current affairs in our foreign policy from realities. The phrase that "... the incitement of conflicts between traditionally friendly Ukrainian and Polish peoples lies in the interests of the common enemies of our statehood and sovereignty ..." can be imagined in the work of a good-school student, but not in an official document, which by itself, without any involvement of the common enemies, creates the basis for a crisis in relations between peoples, which is unclear for what is immediately called "traditionally friendly". Is not it possible to in-depth study of the circumstances of such friendship and institute of national memory in both countries? It is possible then to study and traditionally friendly relations of the period of the national liberation war of the Ukrainian people, incidentally and there finding the Kremlin's hand. Simple, intimate and frankly inaccurate characteristics of the parliament, it is unclear for what, brings the problem to the slogans and empty rhetoric, which is long gone. The mantra about Ukraine, which saves the entire world, including Poland, from Russian aggression, is no longer perceived seriously by anyone, except for individual deputies. Referring to the "spirit of strategic partnership between Ukraine and Poland", you need to understand where this partnership is present, and where only our imaginations are present. "Strategic partnership", which we are accustomed to cover foreign policy failures at bilateral level, has been fixed more than once forever. The content of the partnership, even if it is called "strategic", is changing. It is, exactly, and determined at moments that are similar to today's. The good consequences of the populists' initiative of the parliament, driven before the elections in a deadlock, can not wait. Perhaps someone will vote for a deputy, but Ukraine will pay for such a step further weakening of support from Poland. Options for such a relaxation are many. We depend on Poland's position in key issues for national security - rapprochement with NATO, deepening of relations with the EU, preservation of the regime of anti-Russian sanctions. We have almost no levers of influence on the Polish position; and today we have done everything to strengthen anti-Ukrainian sentiments in Polish society. Conversations about Ukraine's European integration will also look like either bullying or a complete misunderstanding of international and political realities. Mykola Kapitonenko, ICPS Associate Expert
Ukraine's relations with its western neighbors: from problems to solutions
A tangible deterioration in Ukraine's relations with its western neighbors has become one of the most important outcomes and challenges of 2017. The acute reaction in neighboring countries to certain historical or linguistic issues, which were not the subject for serious discussions within the country, became a surprise not only for the general public, but also for a part of the political establishment, which believed, Ukraine's support on the international arena from Hungary and Poland is in the asset by a definition. A problem of the Neighborhood Policy became the subject of a thorough study “What is happening in Ukraine's relations with its western neighbors?” prepared by the International Center for Policy Studies, which was presented during a round table discussion organized at the end of the last year. And today, during an expert discussion on the invitation of the Institute of International Relations and Trade (Budapest, Hungary), the ICPS team is presenting ideas on how to get out of the deadlock and find solutions to the current problems. According to ICPS experts, crisis phenomena in Ukraine in relations with its western border neighbors first of all, is in a certain crisis of both Ukrainian foreign policy identity in general, and Neighborhood Policy in particular. In the last case, such a crisis is conditioned by an insufficient attention to the development of relations with western neighbors in past years, the lack of a systematic analysis of the internal situation in neighboring countries, their positions and interests in regional cooperation. There is also a lack of a well-developed regional policy of Ukraine and a policy of developing partnership with each of the neighboring countries, in particular with the involvement of all state power bodies, business and interested representatives of civil society as well as expert community. It is important to understand, Western neighbors should be seen as our partners, and the national minorities should become an advantage of Neighborhood Policy in Ukraine, not a problem. The dialogue with Ukrainian national minorities, together with the minorities of neighboring states should be intensified. They should be perceived as connectors, bridging neighboring countries, as important channels of communication and cooperation. Dialogue and consultation with minorities should be conducted primarily through positive action, avoiding steps that can be taken as a mitigation of the role of languages. In particular, it should be noted that Article 7 of the Law on Education is a serious, but nevertheless, not a non-negotiable challenge for friendly relations with neighboring countries. In particular, ICPS experts consider the necessary steps to be taken to restart relations with its neighboring countries: - Adoption of a new concept of Ukraine's foreign policy; - Development of a new Neighborhood Policy; - Depolitization of humanitarian issues; - Strengthening economic cooperation; - Cross-border cooperation; - Setting up cultural diplomacy. Therefore, further dialogue on the format of relations should be based on a mutually beneficial approach and a positive atmosphere of discussion, more attention should be paid to a strengthening possible cooperation options. Also, during the expert discussion, the Ukrainian and Hungarian sides stressed on the need for enhanced interaction and communication at the expert level, as there is a lack of objective information on current events in Ukraine and Hungary. Such dissonance, in its turn, may lead to false conclusions and interpretations and negatively affect a quality of bilateral dialogue. In order to solve this problem, the International Center for Policy Studies (Kyiv, Ukraine) and the Institute for International Relations and Trade (Budapest, Hungary) agreed on further cooperation and effective communication.
Round table discussion “What is happening in Ukraine's relations with its western neighbors?”
On the 20th of December 2017, in Kyiv InterCintinental conference hall was held an expert round table “What is happening in Ukraine's relations with its western neighbors?”, organized by the International Center for Policy Studies along with the Ukrainian Association of Foreign Policy. The purpose of the event was to discuss possible ways of stabilizing Ukraine's bilateral relations with its western neighbors. Yevhen Yaroshenko, ICPS Senior Analyst, mentioned that the crisis in relations with its neighbors on the western border of Ukraine reflects the current crisis of both Ukrainian foreign policy identity in general, and Ukrainian “Neighborhood Policy” in particular. “This crisis is conditioned by the insufficient attention to the development of relations with the western neighbors during last years, the lack of a systematic analysis of the internal situation in neighboring countries. One of the key challenges facing Ukrainian foreign policy today is an urgent analysis of the status of relations with neighboring countries and the development of recommendations that would prevent them from further deterioration and, ideally, would help to resolve the problem and practical implementation of the bilateral partnership as soon as possible”, - says Yaroshenko. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of Hungary (1992-1997, 2006-2010) Dmitry Tkach, emphasized that there are currently several experts in Ukraine, who are investigating Ukrainian-Hungarian relations and who should be involved in the discussion of the Neighborhood Policy . “Ukraine should initiate a meeting of the Ukrainian-Hungarian Commission on the issues of ensuring the rights of national minorities, which was last held in 2011”, the diplomat stressed. Director of the International Relations Center Mykola Kapitonenko noted that the problems of Ukraine's relations with its western neighbors have rather complex nature. “This is determined by the level of global security, the level of Ukrainian-Russian contradictions, regional and internal political levels. Central and Eastern European countries have more selfish interests, and the mechanisms of regional interaction are weak. Under such systematic conditions, Ukraine has to pay a much higher price for its weakness”, says Kapitonenko.