Kyiv Security Forum

Vasyl Bodnar: European Countries Need Balance between National Interests and Pro-European Unity

12 April 2018, 16:27

The European countries in withstanding the Russian threat need to find the right balance between national interests and pro-European unity.

Vasyl Bodnar, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, stated this during the 11th Kyiv Security Forum in Kyiv.

“The whole Eastern Europe has become the front line. Despite the fact that Russian tanks are in the East of Ukraine, the struggle continues in all the East European countries. This fight is of a different kind, but of hybrid nature”, V.Bodnar stressed.

According to him, Ukraine has established a good constructive cooperation with its western neighbors, “which currently seems to have slightly worsened”. The source of the threat is Russia, which tries to worsen the situation not only in Ukraine but also throughout Eastern Europe, including through hybrid methods. “We must determine joint efforts to defend ourselves not only from military means but also from the hybrid threats that the pro-Russian forces and politicians currently present in different countries, to provoke tensions between neighboring states,” the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stated.

The diplomat also pointed to the threats that Russia was creating in the Black Sea Region for all the countries therein. “In the Black Sea Region, the threats are not only economic but also the military ones. Has anyone calculated the range of Russian rockets that could hit Romania or Bulgaria, of Turkey (the NATO countries), or some Ukrainian cities, or counted the number of Russian troops deployed there, that could invade the entire region? We should do something about this,” V.Bodnar noted.

He stressed that Ukraine needs solidarity in the pro-European unity: “If we identify the threat we need this solidarity and unity in order to jointly overcome this threat, without dividing our efforts for other lesser interests ... And then there is a dilemma – what is more important – national interests or the pro-European unity. The closer the elections are, the greater this dilemma is. And we are trying to find the right balance here, which is important to protect Europe, not just Ukraine.”

According to the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, this concerns the issue of solidarity within NATO: “And here we see that the NATO is stuck in the issue of cooperation with Ukraine because of blocking by a single one country.”

“We should move forward as a single front against the source of threats. And we should work for the benefit of the European unity for our own societies,” V.Bodnar stressed.

For reference:

The annual international event Kyiv Security Forum was launched by the Arseniy Yatsenyuk Foundation Open Ukraine in 2007 as a platform for high-level discussions on the current issues in Europe and the Black Sea region. The Forum aims at increasing security cooperation between the EU and the Black Sea region, raising awareness about regional developments among key regional players, promoting the role of independent and non-governmental actors in setting the security agenda in Europe.

The event is being held with the support of NATO Information and Documentation Center in Ukraine, the German Marshall Fund, The Victor Pinchuk Foundation, The Royal Institute of International Relations, Chatham House (UK), and The Regional Representative Office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Ukraine.