Kyiv, 24 March 2014 – Russia’s audacious actions in Crimea shocked Ukraine and the whole world, but the international community did not respond adequately to the challenges posed by Russian aggression. “This can be seen from the meetings of the UN Security Council and the lack of actions on the part of the Budapest memorandum guarantor countries,” said Member of the Ukrainian Parliament, former Foreign Minister of Ukraine Borys Tarasiuk during a speech at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
In particular, Mr. Tarasiuk believes that on 29 November 2013 in Vilnius the European Union was ready to sign the EU Association Agreement with Ukraine even without adherence to the agreements drafted by the Council. “Instead of this, only 3 out of 7 chapters have been signed. The EU representatives called it a political part, which it isn’t. I believe that this position of the European Union is unacceptable, and the association agreement should have been unconditionally signed now. Why this wasn’t done is a question of interpretation,” he said.
Speaking about Russia’s actions in Crimea, Mr. Tarasiuk emphasized their audacity and illegality. “In my over 23 years’ experience, this is the first time our country has found itself in such a difficult situation. For the second time now we have got out of the dictatorship regime and stepped on the path of building a democracy. Just as the state and the Ukrainian people began to build the government institutions, we were dealt a blow from Russia. Never before has Russia dared to act in such a cynical and audacious way. We are facing an unprovoked military aggression, occupation and annexion of a part of our country,” said Mr. Tarasiuk.
At the same time he is convinced that the Crimean crisis has only begun and it will last long, but Ukraine will eventually get Crimea back.
Mr. Tarasiuk suggests three key steps to overcome the difficult situation around Russia’s aggression in Crimea and its possible intentions to invade other territories. The first step is restoring Ukraine’s membership in NATO, the second is Ukraine’s withdrawal from the CIS and the third is initiating the termination of Russia’s membership in leading international organizations – the UN, Council of Europe and OSCE. “From the beginning, the CIS was a still-born structure, needed only by Kremlin so it could call itself a successor of the Soviet Union. By the way, Ukraine is paying over $2M annually to participate in various CIS structures,” Mr. Tarasiuk commented.
During his speech he also paid tribute to EuroMaidan as a force that strengthened the EU’s reputation among its member countries. “EuroMaidan, which started as a peaceful manifestation for Ukraine’s EU integration and a protest against the government’s decision to suspend the signing of the Association Agreement, became the greatest event not only in Ukraine but also in Europe and the world. No other country has ever had such a big movement for European integration driven by people’s aspiration to live by the European principles, standards and values. This happened amidst the overall decline of the Europeans’ interest to the EU and its membership, and so thousands of Ukrainians managed to raise the value of the EU among its member countries and citizens,” he said.
Borys Tarasiuk is a Ukrainian diplomat and politician, Member of the Ukrainian Parliament. He worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, both during the soviet times and during the independence times. He was twice the Minister of Foreign Affairs (1998 – 2000 and 2005 – 2007). He served as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Benelux countries and headed a Ukrainian mission to NATO.