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12.12.2017

Victor Pinchuk Foundation Held a Public Panel Discussion with the Leading World’s Experts on Security

On December 11, 2017, Victor Pinchuk Foundation held a public panel discussion «Security for Ukraine» with the leading experts on security. Ash Carter, U.S. Secretary of Defense (2015–2017), Wesley K. Clark, NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (1997-2000), and Jack Keane, Chairman of the Board, Institute for the Study of War participated in the discussion. It was moderated by Stephen Sackur, Presenter, HARDtalk, BBC World News.

Speaking to Ukrainian students and opinion-leaders the panelists discussed the security of Ukraine in the global context, its perspective of joining NATO, cyber security, fake news dissemination, and other issues.

Describing the new world order Jack Keane stated: “The post cold-war era that we knew since 1991 is essentially over. We have returned to a big power competition again in the world. Certainly, not of the scale that we used to with Soviet Union but Russia clearly is dangerous, very capable, and has significant geopolitical ambitious.” He continued saying: “The contours of global security issues are changing right before our eyes, and we have to adjust it here in Ukraine. What Russia was able to do successfully is to blur the line between peace and war in a way we have never seen before […] and it worked and we did not act.”

However, Ash Carter accentuated: “If Russia thought that the annexation of Crimea and its intrusions in Eastern Europe were going to redound to its benefit it has been very wrong. The Ukrainian people, not every single one but overwhelmingly, have opposed and come together in opposition to that intrusion and it strengthened the Ukrainian independence and it strengthened support from outside. So that should give you confidence.”

He assured that “the idea of rapprochement with Russia under those circumstances has no support in the strategic community.”

Addressing the young people in the audience,Wesley K. Clark said: “You have the opportunity that generations of Ukrainians wanted over the centuries to have an independent, western-oriented, democratic State in Ukraine.” He also explained that it cannot happen immediately as “political institutions have to be crafted. If you want independence, if you want a chance to express your views than you are going to have to put up with a little disorder in this process.”

He emphasised: “The western institutions that have dealt here and have representatives here have been pretty clear that you need to crack down on corruption. It has to be done in order to deliver efficient defence.”

Answering Stephen Sackur’s question regarding Ukrainian perspective on NATO membership, Ash Carter admitted that “NATO also needs to do more with Ukraine. It is important that there is a path to NATO membership for Ukraine.”

Jack Keane expressed his opinion on the issue of referendum on Ukraine's accession to NATO: “I think NATO issue with Ukraine is going to be part of the deterrence factor dealing with Russian aggression. I don’t think the referendum is going drive NATO’s decision. I believe what NATO wants is certainly movement towards some of NATO standards that all countries accept. The second thing, it is unreasonable to expect that with Russian boots on the ground inside Ukraine that NATO would accept membership of Ukraine under those conditions. That conditions what have to be removed. And that really is much more of the impact than what referendum would be.”

At the same day, Ash Carter, Wesley K. Clark, and Jack Keane had a meeting together with Ukrainian government officials, parliamentarians, foreign ambassadors, and experts took part in a security round table organized by Victor Pinchuk Foundation. In addition, Stephen Sackur met with the recipients of the Foundation’s Zavtra.UA and WorldWideStudies scholarship programs.

Images from the event are available following the link.

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