23.09.2014, Brussels. Public debate on stability of Ukraine and the future of security sector reform

On the 23 September 2014 Ukrainian Think Tanks Liaison Office in Brussels in cooperation with the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and with kind support of the US Mission to the EU co-organised a public debate on stability of Ukraine and the future of security sector reform.

The event attracted about 100 participants, including EU officials, members of the European Parliament, diplomats, experts, representatives of international organisations, political foundations, and journalists.

Russia’s military aggression poses a global challenge to Security Sector Reform (SSR)

Ukraine is merely on the frontline, according to H.E. Ihor Dolhov, Ukraine’s Ambassador to NATO. The Ambassador underlined that Russian aggression towards Ukraine poses a global challenge. Russia continues to think and act as a player of Soviet style. Today Ukraine has to completely reconsider its relations with Russia and its basic concepts of national security.  Ukraine’s military is in need of assistance from NATO and other allies. Ukraine’s top priority today is building new type of army which would be fully compatible with NATO standards. It also has to close the border with Russia. Ambassador Christopher Murray, Political Advisor at NATO, insisted that, as much as Ukraine had stood by as a “Number one partner for NATO” in the past, “now NATO stands by Ukraine”. The result of NATO Wales Summit concluded on intensifying the partnership with Ukraine. He outlined the different capacity-building projects and trust funds to reform and professionalise Ukraine’s armed services. NATO will strengthen efforts to build the capacity of the Ukrainian military, including joint training and developing capabilities. NATO has already sent teams of experts to Ukraine to assess the most pressing security needs. Allies heads of government agreed to launch the substantial new joint program that focus on command, control, and communications, on logistics and standardization, on cyber defense and on strategic communications. NATO is establishing four trust funds to finance the initiatives on logistics, command and control, cyber defense and personnel. Allies are reinforcing their advisory presence at NATO offices in Kyiv. The delivery of arms and hardware, however, lies within the purview of individual allied members. Henry Bolton, CSDP Planner for the EU Advisory Mission to Ukraine, highlighted the country’s significant need for civilian security sector reform. He stated that the political will to reform does exist but that vested interests and endemic corruption in Ukraine’s institutions pose considerable challenges to the implementation of SSR. He warned that time is short for the government to meet popular demands for change and advocated for increased transparency to explain the government’s actions to the public. In order to succeed the government needs to organize itself on a strategic level, it needs a comprehensive approach and taking responsibility for planning and implementing reforms. There should be security sector reform objectives, priorities. There is no excuse not to continue reforms in the security and other sectors.