Stop Russian Aggression - a critique of report by the International Crisis Group

The following statement by the Ukrainian Expert Community on the Report “Peace in Ukraine I: A European War”, authored by the International Crisis Group is published below in full.

The Report “Peace in Ukraine I: A European War”, authored by the International Crisis Group (ICG, Brussels, Belgium) dated April 28, 2020, proposes to solve the problem of Russian aggression in the Donbass region of Ukraine by engaging Russia, the aggressor state, and bringing it back into discussions on European security and regional arms control.

Instead of punishing Russia for breaking the security system and violating international law, ICG proposes to appease the aggressor. The Report completely ignores that 14 thousand Ukrainians have been killed and 1,5 million displaced as a result of the Russian aggression in Donbass.

The Ukrainian expert community aims to demonstrate false narratives promulgated by this report and expose its hidden and explicit motives

The Report holds out the possibility of a more sustainable peace by effectively cancelling the existing security arrangements in terms of NATO and partnership arrangements with cooperating states including Ukraine. In reality, it aims at preventing Central and Eastern Europe from developing an identity to serve as one of European security pillars. In reality, it creates a region that is more unpredictable and subject to Russia’s possible conventional and hybrid interventions.

The Report aims to entrench Russia’s position in Eastern Europe for decades by creating a multilateral arrangement. This is at best a short-sighted idea, as the irrelevance of the unreformed Russian economy increases, dissatisfaction of Russians with the longest personal regime of Putin rises, tensions within Russian regions accumulate and the threats associated with China rise increase. The proposal has an adverse effect on Georgia, Moldova and Belarus – creating in essence a buffer zone as an old “spheres of influence” concept.

The Report proposes “sustainable peace” in Ukraine and Europe by:

  1. entering into a conventional arms treaty focusing on arms control – meaning a substantial disarmament which is unacceptable for Ukraine;
  2. ensuring Ukraine’s neutrality, with no EU and NATO integration perspective – meaning a halt to Ukraine’s EU and NATO integration aspirations, its return to the sphere of influence of the Russian Federation, denial of the state sovereignty and security guarantees.;
  3. achieving sustainable reintegration of the separatist Donbass possibly under a new agreement – meaning giving Donbass a veto power on Ukraine’s future external and national policy, thus securing Russia’s interest;
  4. decreasing EU-imposed sanctions on Russia corresponding to progress in the implementation of the Minsk Agreement – meaning effective suspension of Donbas-related sanctions in exchange for incidental process changes by Russia;
  5. peace in Ukraine by inviting Moscow to the discussion on European security – meaning a change in the status of the Russian Federation from the aggressor state to a partner. Thus, the payment of reparations and compensation for claims in international courts (including the International Criminal Court) will not be possible. The request for the establishment of truth and justice will remain unsatisfied, which could cause the conflicts within Ukraine. The scenario proposed by ICG is not a scenario of a long-term peace in Ukraine, but a scenario of transforming an international armed conflict into a truly civilian one.
  6. addressing EU-imposed sanctions for the annexation of Crimea – meaning to tolerate the occupation by force and annexation of Crimea.

In reality, a stronger, prosperous and secure Europe rests on the pillars of territorial integrity, economic development, societal and military resilience and consolidation of the democratic regime in Ukraine and Europe:

  1. strengthened Euro-Atlantic cooperation and a NATO perspective as well as strengthened capacities of Ukraine to withstand Russia’s conventional and hybrid interventions;
  2. consolidated resilience of Ukraine’s democratic institutions to ensure greater integration into European economic and political institutions, offering Eastern partnership countries a real chance and perspective;
  3. stronger Central European integration of Ukraine by energy, military, infrastructure cooperation to build resilience against the destabilizing actions of Russia;
  4. improved economic development and consolidated democratic regime in visible contrast to the dissatisfaction of the populations in Crimea and Donbass, to increase the cost of occupation and weaken the de facto entities, ultimately to have the people under occupation turn to Ukraine;
  5. international and national mechanisms acting against occupation and systematic violations of human rights and humanitarian law, to effectively target Russia’s decision-making circles and weaken Russia’s aggressive potential, making peace more likely than accommodating it.

We strongly believe that only this approach based on the above mentioned democratic values will ensure a long-term and sustainable peace in Europe and Ukraine.

This statement was co-authored and signed on 4th May by:-S

  1. Hanna HOPKO, Chair, National Interests Advocacy Network ANTS
  2. Oleksandr DANYLYUK, Head of the Centre for Defence Reforms
  3. Liudmyla DOLHONOVSKA, co-founder of the National Interests Advocacy Network ANTS
  5. Yevhen MAHDA, Director of the Institute of World Policy
  7. National Interests Advocacy Network ANTS
  8. Maria Avdeeva, co-founder of the European Expert Association

Expert support: Sergiu Ostaf, public policy and democratisation expert.

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