Oleksandra Matviichuk, a human rights lawyer and Nobel Prize winner, was speaking amid the current debate about Ukraine’s possible Nato membership.
The issue was discussed this week at a key Nato summit in Lithuania.
Matviichuk, heads the non-profit organization Centre for Civil Liberties and is a campaigner for democratic reforms in her country and the OSCE.
She said, “As long as Ukraine remains vulnerable, the entire Euro-Atlantic security system remains vulnerable.”
She added, “Instead of membership in NATO, some politicians are talking about some security assurances, which in reality, cannot even be equated to Article 5 of the Washington Treaty of NATO. Then how can separate assurances ensure the security of such a large country, which cannot be covered with a single shield from Russian missiles?
“How much will this cost in the long-term perspective, particularly because of the direct consequences of insecurity, such as the “food crisis”? Do particular assurances allow us to achieve sustainability, when what is rebuilt today can be destroyed again tomorrow? Or to make it safe for millions of Ukrainian refugees to return to Ukraine?”
She said, “Ukraine deserves to be a member of NATO. Ukraine shares the values of freedom and democracy and is ready to defend them. Ukraine will be not just a beneficiary, but a powerful contributor to the security of Alliance. These are not promises; this is a fact proven on the battlefield. Ukraine will make NATO stronger.
“The beginning of the actual accession of Ukraine to NATO is a way to end the war, not to expand it. Because “strategic uncertainty” will always serve as a reason for Russia to continue attacking Ukraine.
“Therefore, people in Ukraine expect concrete results from the summit in Vilnius. The time for assurances that the door to NATO is open has passed. They should be transformed into decisions that allow starting the process of accession of Ukraine to NATO.
She added, “Russia has always used wars and occupation of foreign territories as a fait accompli, thereby creating a new reality and forcing the international community to reckon with it. The democratic countries that participate in NATO should finally take the initiative to start managing this process.
“We have taken security for granted for too long. It is necessary to take responsibility for our common future,” she said.