Assessment of security challenges: consequences for Ukraine’s foreign policy after the elections


On 15 March, the International Centre for Policy Studies presented the analytical paper “Assessment of security challenges: consequences for Ukraine’s foreign policy after the elections”. Former foreign ministers of Ukraine, diplomats, international experts participated in the expert discussion.

While presenting the research, ICPS Associate Expert Mykola Kapitonenko identified the trends, challenges and threats to Ukraine’s foreign policy and national security. In turn, ICPS Chief Adviser Vasyl Filipchuk outlined the tasks and priorities for Ukraine’s foreign policy after the elections.

“The world is changing rapidly, destroying the traditional notions of international security and the form of interaction between states, – reads the introductory part of the study. – Institutes of multilateral cooperation are in deep crisis. International law and other non-forcible means of regulating international relations are losing efficiency, while the demand for hard power is growing. States have less trust for each other and increasingly accept international politics as zero-sum games. Non-traditional threats are increasing and those that were on the agenda for a long time – for example, the proliferation of nuclear weapons – is becoming more acute.

In such conditions, Ukraine is increasingly turning into an object of international relations, as well as losing its influence on regional processes, while non-mention of global ones. The space for manoeuvre in foreign policy is narrowing; the tools and resources to achieve their own goals are becoming less. The implementation of current foreign policy, characterized by mixing priorities and lack of realistic assessment of the international situation, further weaken Ukraine’s position on all key issues: in conflict with Russia, in dialogue with Western partners and in relations with the majority of its neighbours,” the authors believe.

According to them, the continuation of this state of affairs will lead to Ukraine’s consolidation in the “grey zone” of Europe’s security for decades.

The authors consider that the only chance to avoid this scenario is the presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine in 2019. Although the results of these elections are difficult to predict, without doubt, one can predict for several years that the urgency of Ukraine’s challenges in the field of foreign policy and security will not diminish, and their solution will occupy a priority place among the new leadership of the country.

“It is probable that the reset of executive and legislative power will open a window of opportunity to solve existing foreign and security problems, but the external environment will remain as complex or even less favorable for Ukraine, – the research reads. – The domestic institutional or economic weakness of the country, even under conditions of rapid and successful post-election reforms, will continue to aggravate its foreign policy for a long time, and the absence of such reforms will further limit its foreign policy capabilities.”

One of the conditions for a successful new foreign policy is an adequate reassessment of the foreign policy and security environment of the country, challenges, threats, its own resources and opportunities to achieve its goals.

“No matter what developments have taken place, Ukraine will need much more professional, decisive and flexible diplomacy in the coming years. This diplomacy, in turn, will require a lot of attention and great resources. We will be forced to learn to think about safety issues not as they used to do in the past. And this can prove to be a serious test”, – the authors of the study concluded.

During the discussion participants also critically expressed their views on the current work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and foreign policy of the state as a whole. Both Kostyantyn Gryshchenko and Borys Tarasyuk, other heavyweights of Ukrainian diplomacy and expert environment emphasized, in particular, the problem of weak management in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Source: ICPS