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Ukraine Calls for New Security System in Europe – Interim Prime Minister Yatsenyuk

Kyiv, April 14, 2014. Ukraine is issuing an appeal to international partners to begin work on a new security system in Europe. This statement was released by the interim Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk during the Kyiv Security Forum, reported UNIAN. The statement of the Ukrainian politician echoes those made by James Sherr, Associate Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House (UK) – one of the world’s leading think tanks. According to Sherr, Russia’s actions in Ukraine pose the most direct challenge yet to the fundamental rules of the European security system established after the war with Russia’s direct participation.

In his speech Prime Minister Yatsenyuk stressed that Ukrainian armed forces were important for Europe as a force that could try to protect both Ukraine and Europe. “So far we have done everything we could to stop the military aggression. However, we turn to our Western partners for help – we need modernization, technical and other assistance,” said Yatsenyuk.

On the issue of Russia’s occupation of Crimea the Ukrainian politician stated that it was not just a bilateral issue, but one which undermined global security. He also called on Ukraine’s international partners to negotiate and create a new system of security in Europe that would be more than just a written commitment. In the prime minister’s opinion, the international community must challenge the aggressor, who believes that the availability of nuclear weapons and a large army grants the right to revise the state borders.

The fact that Russia’s actions have challenged the European and global security system was reiterated by James Sherr of Chatham House during his press briefing at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center in Kyiv on April 11, 2014. Sherr emphasized that if this challenge is not properly addressed the consequences will go well beyond Ukraine and will affect all of Europe.

“Ukraine is not the only country that has “Crimeas”, there’s Riga with a strong Russian majority and an elected mayor who works closely with the Russian authorities, there’s Transnistria, there’s a Russian population in the city of Narva in Estonia”, emphasized Sherr.

He also noted that such serious international players like China, Israel and Japan are closely watching how Europe reacts to this challenge. “This is a test to the West of its determination to uphold international agreements.” If the Budapest memorandum is treated as just a series of words and not as a binding statement the Europeans might ask whether NATO would uphold its commitment, stressed Sherr. “If we don’t treat our words as our bonds, our entire security is weakened, and we shall face a more anarchic world”, he concluded.

Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity are clearly outlined in numerous international documents and agreements, including the founding documents of OSCE, the Budapest memorandum, and the 1997 Russia-Ukraine state treaty which emphasized Ukraine’s territorial integrity and raised no conditions about Ukraine’s constitution. Interestingly, between May 1997, when the treaty was signed, and the February 2014 ousting of Ukrainian President Yanukovych, the Russian Federation has never challenged or even argued about either the Constitution or federalization of Ukraine, observed Sherr.

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