Only Russia’s responsibility for consequences of aggression can secure peace – Ukrainian experts answer “12 steps”

Illustrative photo: Shyrokyne ruined by Russia's hybrid forces. Source: RFE/RL 

War in the Donbas

Editor’s Note

More than 80 Ukrainian politicians and experts have signed a statement criticizing the “12 Steps for Greater Security for Ukraine and the Euro-Atlantic Region,” which appeared on the site of the Munich Security Conference-2020. The statement was criticized for “repeating Kremlin talking points” by a group of prominent American experts and diplomats and includes, among other things, proposals to gradually lift sanctions on Russia for partial implementation of the Minsk agreement and to involve neighboring Russia, Hungary, Poland in a “new national dialogue on [Ukraine’s] identity.

This year’s Munich Security Conference, among other things, unfortunately, will be remembered for the scandalous statement: “12 Steps for Greater Security for Ukraine and the Euro-Atlantic Region,” which was jointly prepared by several think tanks in Europe in cooperation with the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs.

A telling development indicating that the statement is fatally flawed is the decision by the organizers of the reputable conference that compelled the removal of the text from the official website of the Munich Security Conference. At the same time, the statement itself cannot be ignored by the international community.

At the outset, we would like to express our gratitude to the well-known International experts, diplomats and political figures who noted the surfacing of these “12 steps” and rightly criticized them as distorting and misleading the international community.

There is no point in discussing the substance of the document, as it is a reiteration of the Kremlin’s approach to assessing “events in and around Ukraine.” Russia does not recognize it’s armed aggression against Ukraine and the occupation of parts of Ukraine’s sovereign territory. Instead, Kremlin propaganda continues to be repeated about some sort of civil war in Ukraine. The authors of “12 Steps” also would like to: resuscitate the Moscow myth of seeking to “revise Ukraine’s national identity” by injecting in this process interference by neighboring states; introducing a special regime of economic relations between Donbas and Russia; and weakening international sanctions against Russia. All of this, despite continued armed aggression and occupation of Ukrainian territories.

Notwithstanding the persistent efforts of Russian propaganda to form a fictitious parallel reality in the public’s understanding, it remains an irrefutable fact that, since February 20, 2014, Russia has been waging an aggressive war against Ukraine, occupying Crimea and part of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. The same is true of the fact that Russia has launched and continues a covert war against NATO and the EU, seeking to spread chaos and to destabilize the global security order in order to impose its political will on weakened democratic states. We believe that the 12-step statement itself is another example of a devastating influence of the Kremlin in the West. By abusing the principle of freedom of expression Moscow covertly imposes a self-serving agenda on Western politicians, media organizations and think tanks.

It should be underscored that solving problems in Russia’s relations with Ukraine does not require complicated and bizarre scenarios. In accordance with the rules of international law, Russia simply must cease armed aggression, cease violating international norms, unconditionally withdraw all its armed formations from Crimea, the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, as well as further the establishment of Ukrainian control along the entire state border. Such a step-by-step plan is, in particular, contained in the Ukrainian Doctrine of Security and Peace, approved by the Strategic Council of the Capitulation Resistance Movement on October 31, 2019.

Russia must take political and material responsibility for the consequences for the crime it committed: aggression – the occupation of Ukrainian territory. Until Russia relinquishes control of part of the territory of Ukraine under its general control, it is obliged to safeguard human life in its occupied territories and to ensure respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms there. In order to force the aggressor to accelerate the restoration of international order, the world community should strengthen sanctions rather than seek to resume cooperation with a state that violently and grossly violates international law.

Only this approach to solving this problem will ensure a just and lasting peace.

Kyiv, 17 February 2020

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  1. Volodymyr Vasylenko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine, Doctor of Law, Professor -National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy
  2. Joseph Zisels, Vice President of the Congress of National Communities of Ukraine, Member of the December First Initiative Group, dissident and political prisoner of the Soviet regime
  3. Vyacheslav Bryukhovetsky, Professor and Honorary President of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Member of the December First Initiative Group
  4. Volodymyr Ogryzko, Statesman, Diplomat, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (2007-2009)
  5. Roman Bezsmertny, statesman, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine, former representative of Ukraine to the political unit of the Tripartite Contact Group in Minsk
  6. Danylo Lubkivskyi, diplomat, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (2014).
  7. Sergiy Kvit, Professor, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine (2014-2016)
  8. Mikhail Gonchar, President of the XXI Center for Global Studies, leading energy expert
  9. Valeriy Chaly, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine, Chair of the UCMC board
  10. Mykhailo Basarab, political scientist, Candidate of Political Science, member of the Presidium of the Public Commission for Investigation and Prevention of Human Rights Violations in Ukraine
  11. Andriy Levus, Head of the Ukrainian Strategic Initiative, Member of Parliament of Ukraine 8th convocation
  12. Sergey Vysotsky, journalist, Member of Parliament of Ukraine 8th convocation
  13. Igor Lapin, Member of Parliament of Ukraine of the 8th Convocation, veteran of the Russian-Ukrainian war
  14. Andriy Yusov, Director of NGO “School for Responsible Politics”
  15. Miroslav Guy, officer in the Armed Forces Reserve, veteran of the Russian-Ukrainian War
  16. Mustafa Dzhemilev, leader of the Crimean Tatar national movement, human rights activist, dissident and political prisoner, 1st head of the Majlis of the Crimean Tatar people, People’s Deputy of Ukraine
  17. Alexei Panich, philosopher, translator, lead researcher at the NGO “Spirit and Letter”
  18. Konstantin Sigov, philosopher and social activist, Head of the Center for European Humanities at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy
  19. Myroslav Marynovych, Vice-Rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University, member of the December First Initiative Group, and Nestoriv Group, dissident and political prisoner of the Soviet regime
  20. Mykola Ryabchuk, Honorary President of the Ukrainian PEN Club
  21. Vakhtang Kebuladze, Doctor of Philosophy, Professor, Department of Theoretical and Practical Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Publicist, translator
  22. Yevhen Zakharov, Member of the December First Initiative Group, Head of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group
  23. Oleksandra Hnatyuk, member of the December First Initiative Group
  24. Hanna Hopko, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine 8th convocation
  25. Volodymyr Yermolenko, philosopher, writer, analyst and director of the NGO Internews-Ukraine, senior professor of National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy, member of the December First Initiative Group
  26. Mykola Knyazhitsky, Member of Parliament of Ukraine 9th convocation
  27. Akhtem Chigoz, Member of the Majlis of the Crimean Tatar People’s Deputy of Ukraine
  28. Igor Kozlovsky, President of the Center for Religious Studies and International Faith Relations, Member of the December First Initiative Group, Prisoner of Conscience
  29. Igor Koliushko, Chairman of the Board, Center for Political and Legal Reforms
  30. Yaroslav Yatskiv, Academician of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) of Ukraine, Chairman of the Ukrainian International Committee on Science and Culture at the NAS of Ukraine, member of the December First Initiative Group
  31. Kateryna Smagliy, graduate of the McCain Institute’s Next Generation Program
  32. Borys Zakharov, Chairman of the Board of the Wave Humanities Studio
  33. Alexander Skipalsky, Lieutenant General, Honorary Chairman of the Volyn Brotherhood
  34. Andriy Yurash, Religious Specialist, Director of the Department of Religions and Nationalities at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports
  35. Yuriy Shcherbak, writer, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine
  36. Ostap Yednak, Candidate of Science in Social Communications
  37. Oksana Yurenets, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly NATO 8th convocation
  38. Leonid Finberg, Director of the Center for Studies of the History and Culture of East European Jewry at the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Editor-in-Chief of Spirit and Letter Publishing House
  39. Ivan Vasyunyk, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Holodomor Victims Memorial Project, Deputy Prime Minister for Humanitarian Affairs (2007-2010)
  40. Karl Volokh, businessman, blogger
  41. Anatoly Rachok, Director General of the Razumkov Center
  42. Yuriy Yakimenko, Deputy Director General – Director of Political and Legal Programs of the Razumkov Center
  43. Alexei Melnyk, Co-Director of Foreign Policy and International Security Programs at the Razumkov Center
  44. Mikhail Pashkov, Co-Director of Foreign Policy and International Security Programs at the Razumkov Center
  45. Mykola Sungurovsky, Director of Military Programs at the Razumkov Center
  46. Petro Stetsyuk, Scientific Advisor to the Razumkov Center for Legal Affairs, Judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine retired
  47. ​​Viktor Zamyatin, leading expert on the political and legal programs of the Razumkov Center
  48. Alexei Razumny, expert on political and legal programs of the Razumkov Center
  49. Maxim Bilyavsky, expert on energy programs at the Razumkov Center
  50. Svetlana Chekunova, expert on energy programs at the Razumkov Center
  51. Taras Stetskiv, Member of Parliament of Ukraine for multiple convocations, co-sponsor of the Zarvanytsia Initiative
  52. Andrey Kokotyukha, screenwriter, journalist, writer
  53. Oleg Medunitsa, Member of Parliament of Ukraine for three convocations
  54. Andriy Denysenko, Member of Parliament of Ukraine 8th convocation
  55. Olesya Yakhno, political scientist, Candidate of Political Science
  56. Dmitry Krapivenko, Editor-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Week
  57. Dmytro Likhovyi, journalist, Editor-in-Chief of the internet magazine “Novinarnya”
  58. Yevhen Magda, Assistant Professor National Technical University of Ukraine Polytechnic Institute Igor Sikorsky, Director of the Institute of World Policy
  59. Victor Taran, political expert
  60. Sergiy Gerasymchuk, Deputy Chairman of the Board, Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism”
  61. Vladimir Gorbach, Political Analyst at the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation
  62. Volodymyr Omelchenko, Director of Energy Programs of the Razumkov Center
  63. Maria Zolkina, political analyst
  64. Elena Snigir, Candidate of Political Science
  65. Oleg Berezyuk, Head of Ukrainian Law Society
  66. Natalia Belitser, expert at the Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy
  67. Nestor Volia, social and political blogger
  68. The Capitulation Resistance Movement
  69. National Interests Defense Network
  70. New Country Civic Platform
  71. Myroslava Barchuk, TV Anchor;
  72. Natalya Popovich, co-founder Ukrainian Crisis Media Center
  73. Oleksandr Antonyuk, Political Expert, Head of Real Politics Analytic Group
  74. Volodymyr Aryev, Head of Ukrainian PACE Delegation 2015-19, Member of Parliament of Ukraine 8th convocation
  75. Andriy Teteruk, Member of Parliament of Ukraine 8th Convocation, veteran of the Russian-Ukrainian war.
  76. Mikhail Khmil, Member of Parliament of Ukraine 7-8 convocations
  77. Alya Shandra, Editor-in-Chief of the English-language website Euromaidan Press
  78. Lyubov Tsybulska, Ukrainian Crisis Media Center
  79. Natalia Ligacheva, Head of the NGO Director Media
  80. Tatiana Ogarkova, Ukrainian Crisis Media Center
  81.  Ostap Semerak, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine (2016-2019), Minister of Cabinet of Ministers (2014), member of Parliament of Ukraine (2007-2012, 2014-2016)

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