Kyiv Security Forum

The West should set Ukraine’s restoration as a strategic goal, James Sherr says

12 April 2014, 10:55

Under the circumstances when Russia called fundamentals of collective security into question by its aggression against Ukraine, the West should set “resuscitation” and restoration of a strong Ukraine as its strategic goal.

This was stated by James Sherr, Associate Fellow at Chatham House, Great Britain, during the 7th Kyiv Security Forum on Friday.

‘The fundamentals of the European security system and, in some sense, of the global security system established after the cold war with Russia’s active involvement, have faced a serious and brutal challenge’, the British expert emphasized.

According to him, they were violated before this present moment as well. In particular, it is about the conflict in Georgia and the NATO intervention in Kosovo. However, as the analyst points out, standoffs in those cases occurred ‘in the context of ethnic conflicts and intensive but finally failed diplomatic attempts’.

No such thing took place in the Ukrainian case, James Sherr emphasized.

‘Of special concern is that it happened on the basis of the ideology of historical, old Russia. The ideology that plays off civilizations against each other – the Russian orthodox values against the Western system of values’, the reputable British expert stated. ‘The base of Russia’s policy and entire system at present is formed by one statement: we are not the West. And your disagreement with use only makes us stronger’.

In his opinion, the bad thing is that ‘many in the West have not yet understood that’, trying to allow the RF leaders to ‘save face and revert to the rules of the game, to partnership’.

Besides, James Sherr underlined that the West should realize that Russia’s principal goal is ‘to disintegrate Ukraine if it cannot be made weak’. Thus, this question is not about Russia, it’s about Ukraine, the expert says. Considering this, the West must not only speak about sanctions against the RF but also have ‘a strategic goal’. ‘And the strategic goal must be clear – resuscitate Ukraine, restore Ukraine, help it rebuild such institutions as security service and army, and make it on a more legitimate basis than it was done in the past’.

At the same time, the expert emphasized, the West’s assistance may not be possible without a desire and appropriate efforts on the part of Ukraine itself. It particularly concerns changing the ‘dysfunctional system of energy supply and energy consumption’ and overcoming the ‘corruption epidemic’.

‘Euromaidan, like Maidan 10 years ago, demonstrated that geopolitics would never become a science and that it is the human factor that determines geopolitics’. This was another conclusion made by the Chatham House associate fellow in his summing-up remarks.


The Kyiv Security Forum agenda is designed for 2 days and offers six panels open to the media representatives. The agenda can be amended, with amendments posted on the Forum’s website.

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The Kyiv Security Forum annual international event, initiated by the Arseniy Yatsenyuk Open Ukraine Foundation in 2007, is a platform for debates on the most pressing security issues in Europe and the Black Sea region. The Forum’s mission is to increase security cooperation between the European Union and the Black Sea region, raise awareness about security development among key players, and promote the role of independent and non-governmental actors in setting the security agenda in Europe.

The event is supported by the Viktor Pinchuk Foundation, the NATO Information and Documentation Centre in Ukraine, and the Chatham House Royal Institute of International Relations (UK).

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The Open Ukraine Foundation is an international charitable foundation established at the initiative of Arseniy Yatsenyuk for strengthening public diplomacy and developing Ukraine’s reputation in the world. The Foundation achieves its goal by implementing the key programs: International Dialogue, Cultural Horizons, and Young Leaders. The Foundation is an organization of a broad circle of charity providers and unites around itself any people who care for Ukraine’s reputation and future.

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