To resist Putin, we need to create belt of successful countries around Russia: Lithuanian ex-Prime Minister

Andrius Kubilius. Photo: twitter.com/FundOpenUkraine 

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Andrius Kubilius, Member of Seimas of Lithuania and twice Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania (1999-2000; 2008-2012) believes that the West’s strategy to counter Russian aggression and help Ukraine should include creating a belt of successful countries around Russia which will impact the opinion of ordinary Russians. He told this during the 11th Kyiv Security Forum which took place during 12-13 April 2018 in the Ukrainian capital.

During the 2017 Kyiv Security Forum, Mr. Kubilius presented the Lithuanian-developed Marshall Plan for Ukraine foreseeing large-scale financial assistance to the country to help spur its development after the Euromaidan Revolution. One year later, during the 11th Forum, he gave the audience an update of how the plan was received, as well as gave his vision of what kind of EU solidarity Ukraine needs. Euromaidan Press offers our readers a transcription of his speech.

“What kind of EU solidarity is needed for Ukraine? We started with the question: what is the strategy of Putin towards Ukraine?

We need to look into an effective instrument for Ukraine to move forward with reforms, a new big carrot, and would allow Ukrainians to feel that reforms are bringing some kind of tangible results. This is why we came up with the Marshall Plan for Ukraine.

If I would be Putin, my goal would be not to allow Ukraine to become a successful country. What is the Western strategy? [Finding] how to not allow Putin to be successful in his strategy. That is the question. When we see the broader picture, we need to understand what kind of solidarity Ukraine needs. Ukraine’s success is part of the broader strategy which the Western community needs to address in order to have a clear understanding what to do with Russian now.

The only effective strategy which can be developed,  besides developing military deterrence capabilities, is to create a belt of successful countries around Russia which will have an impact on the opinion of ordinary Russian people. That is why Putin is so afraid of such a development. That is why he is doing everything not to allow Ukraine to become a successful country.

What kind of assistance, besides military assistance and sanctions, can the EU offer?

In Lithuania in the 1990s, a sign of clear solidarity was EU membership perspective. That was a powerful incentive to keep us on track. For the time being, this is not available for Ukraine.

We need to look into an effective instrument for Ukraine to move forward with reforms, a new big carrot, and would allow Ukrainians to feel that reforms are bringing some kind of tangible results. This is why we came up with the Marshall Plan for Ukraine.

€5 bn of annual investments, conditional on reforms, investments into the real economy of Ukraine. When we started that discussion, both on the EU level and in Kyiv and other places, we started to see that we can have good progress with that idea. After a year of our discussions in different capitals, we can see good progress.

We can declare that Marshall plan for Ukraine is going through the initial stages of implementation.

We had good meetings in Kyiv, in different capitals, now we are targeting up to the level of G7, targeting the conference in Copenhagen in the end of June.

The problems that Ukraine needs to resolve are simple – we faced the same problesm in 2000s – the problem of what is called absorption capacity.

After Maidan revolution, Ukraine got pledges from different institutions, not from IMF, other institutions, around €7 bn to be invested in real economy of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian government managed to use only €1.6 bn, €5 bn are still on the table. Not stolen, but not used. Now we are looking for how to make good progress in absorption of that money.

The Ukrainian government is ready to come out with projects in energy sector, to look how to change the institutional framework, to make a special agency to be much more effective in the preparation of projects.

So our evaluation is that next year we will see good results of those attempts – so be ready to come with new pledges and new money to be invested in economy of Ukraine. That’s practical solidarity. And all that money is coming with conditions to implement reforms

This can be good added value for Ukrainian development and resisting the strategy of Putin.

More from the forum:

And also:

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