Anatoliy Grytsenko, Ukrainian Defense Minister

Posted in NATO | 04-Feb-06 | Source: Munich Conference on Security Policy

Anatoliy Grytsenko, Minister of Defense, Ukraine.
Resolving Conflicts through International Cooperation

Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honor to take part in this conference and to present my view the Ukrainian role and contribution to conflict prevention and peacekeeping (or the Ukrainian perspective on the international security situation) and provide some detail on our current and future commitments to the efforts that are being made by the international community to achieve stability through conflict prevention and peacekeeping operations. I would like to thank our host Professor Teltschik and the German Government for the excellent arrangements made for this conference.

I would like to concentrate my talk on three main topics:
  • An outline of the main security threats facing the international community
  • The need for effective international security architecture to meet those security threats
  • The Ukrainian perspective and our preparations to contribute to international security efforts
Main security threats

Ukraine shares the common view that the likelihood of any wide-scale conventional conflict between major democratic states - particularly in the European continental region - is very low for obvious geopolitical reasons. We can take comfort from that situation but we must at the same time recognize the increasingly complicated and less predictable nature of a whole range of security threats facing the international community.

One of the major threats we face is International Terrorism and I cannot emphasise too strongly that I am not just talking of those terror organizations which we may call 'conventional' who exist in support of possibly illegitimate but at least recognizable political aims - these can hopefully be tackled on both security and political levels. I think we should be even more concerned with the existence of trans - national ideologically based - or worse nihilistic organizations which because of modern technology and communications are capable of operating anywhere in the world and killing people indiscriminately on an industrial scale - a threat unprecedented in history. These organizations are capable of inflicting tremendous damage and are prepared to stop at nothing including the sacrifice of their own lives.

The threat of terrorism normally results from a whole catalogue of related security issues - ethnic and religious tensions; security of energy and fuel supplies; environmental security relating to natural resources particularly water supplies; the mass migration of people from poor to rich regions; the rise and spread of international crime; the migration of work from established economies to emerging economies - the list is long and growing!

To face these challenges the international community requires a strong and effective security architecture. No individual state can realistically hope to avoid either the direct or indirect consequences of at least some security problems. The solution to international security problems are bound to be best tackled on the basis of international co-operation.

The starting point for international co-operation on security should be the existence within individual nation states of solid democratic institutions dedicated to upholding the rule of law and fundamental human rights. From this strong national basis it is then possible to form alliances at the international level to provide a wider security dimension based on common standards and principles. This is never an easy process but we must not be deterred in our continual efforts to improve international co-operation on security.

We must start from sharing a common vision then move to clear policies and doctrines then most difficult of all we must find ways to implement our policies on the ground - where it counts. This means sharing intelligence; joint planning and preparing of capabilities and reaching levels of seamless inter-operability - these are difficult challenges but there is No Alternative.

There are a range of international institutions that we must strengthen with regard to security issues starting from the United Nations and stretching to regional organizations. Ukraine is a willing partner on the international stage - since gaining our independence in 1991 we have co-operated fully with neighbouring states; regional organizations and the wider international community on security issues.

Turning to the Ukrainian security perspective in more detail - we recognized from the first that our national interest lay in deepening our international relationships and finding common cause wherever possible.
This process was accelerated after our presidential elections held in 2004. Ukraine is strengthening its security stance in a range of ways:

I. Internal political -security dimension

For the first time we have completed a realistic threat assessment based upon the new international situation.
From this threat assessment we have defined a clear strategic perspective for our Armed Forces. This has been reflected in our State Program of Armed Forces development from 2006 to 2011 and we have made all the necessary updates to the Military Doctrine of Ukraine.
We are now extending this process and will be conducting a comprehensive security sector review - adjusting the Armed Forces programme if necessary - in order that we are able to align all the constituent parts of our security sector to meet our national threats under a National Security Policy which will include our international obligations.

II. External political Environment

There are a number of regional security issues which Ukraine is inevitably involved with - these include:

Black Sea Region - there is a continuing need to ensure stability and international co-operation in this important strategic region. "frozen" conflict zones - such as in the South Caucasus, in the Transdniestria and Balkans these are attractive centres for possible terrorist activity, weapons trafficking and illegal migration. These pose serious threats to regional stability and potentially to the wider European region.

On a regional level Ukraine attempts to support a range of organizations to improve regional co-operation including:

GUAM - as a regional player which has declared its readiness to take responsibility for conflict settlement in south-eastern European flank.
This could be an effective mechanism for regional security particularly through a joint peacekeeping corps established under the leadership of the UN and/or OSCE, in interaction with our Euro-Atlantic partners.

The creation of an interstate commonwealth Community of democracies of Black-Caspian Sea region - this could be a valuable open discussion forum for specific regional security problems.

The President of Ukraine's initiative on the Transdniestria situation has provided some encouraging results:
  • Maintaining constructive dialogue and negotiations;
  • Encouraging USA and EU participation in the process;
  • Seeking to establish a common position with Euroatlantic partners on the conflict's settlement;
  • Creating the conditions for eventual political dialogue between Kishinev and Tiraspol.

Through these efforts we have considerably contributed to democratization of Transdniestria, created the initial conditions for the eventual demilitarization of this region.
It was a significant contribution to establish international monitoring with representatives participating from Ukraine, Russia Federation, OSCE, EU and US.

We consider it very desirable to extend overall cooperation with Vishegrad Group states. The last consultations on the level of ministers of defence showed the existence of a common vision for resolving regional security problems, by closer cooperation in military-political sphere.

The Ukrainian participation in activity of BlackSeeFor allows to gain experience in non military operations: fulfillment seeking and rescuing tasks, humanitarian missions, mine protection, providing of ecological security.

Ukraine joining SEEBrig also an important contribution to regional security. We will provide the airlift to move the contingent and ammunition of South-eastern European states peacekeeping brigade to Afghanistan.

Ukraine has a well deserved reputation for contributing to regional and international security operations. Today 840 members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are participating in 10 peacekeeping missions throughout the world.

III. Intensification of Euroatlantic and European integration

As I have said previously, we believe that only common defence and security policies have the potential to meet modern security challenges and threats.
The President of Ukraine Viktor Yushenko during a meeting of the NATO - Ukraine Commission in Brussels on 22nd of February emphasized, that rapprochement with the Alliance is a Ukrainian priority. The next major step in this direction will be obtaining an invitation to joining a Membership Action Plan.
At the same time, we will maintain our good neighborly relations with Russia.

Ukraine had started Intensified Dialogue with NATO on membership and corresponding reforms we know that the whole state joins the Alliance and has to meet common standards. However I am confident that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are already prepared.

Reference: 27 of June 2005 the Secretary General of NATO Jaap de Hoop Scheffer met with the President of Ukraine Viktor Yushenko, when the Government presented official document for discussion of Intensified Dialogue Ukraine-NATO.

Ukraine has a good record of cooperation with NATO member states, especially in the context of NATO Balkans operations, in Mediterranean Sea, in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are sure, that wider Ukrainian cooperation with NATO in the security sphere will become one of the key factors which will contribute to improving security cooperation levels in Europe as a whole.

We are also committed to improving cooperation will all our western neighbors in the security sphere. A good example of this cooperation is UKRPOLBAT in Kosovo, in Iraq. We will now extend this to organizing UKRPOLLITBAT to increase further regional cooperation.

IV. Ukrainian Armed Forces Capabilities

As Defence Minister my speech would not be complete without a few words about the latest developments in the Armed Forces of Ukraine these are the backbone of our security and peacekeeping operations. Despite all the difficulties of we met in 2005 as a new administration the year was positive for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

We achieved considerable results in Armed Forces development particularly in raising the level of operational capability by significantly increased investment in training and equipment.

We are making important changes to modernize our forces and for the first time we have consulted with civil society over our defence plans and will be publishing the results in a "White Paper" which will contain a lot of new information that was inaccessible before.

There is national support for the Armed Forces demonstrated by a significantly increased the defence budget for 2006 equating to 1.61% GDP.

General appropriations for procurement and modernization of armaments and military equipment are three times higher than in 2005. In particular, the budgetary item for procurement of An-70 military transport aircraft is 2.5 times higher to reflect the emphasis on joint operations and mobility in modern operations. In 2007 we expect to increase the defence budget to 2% of GDP to accord with NATO standards.

The position of Ministry of defence has the support in Verkhova Rada of Ukraine this national consensus is demonstrated by the fact that the Head of the Parliamentary Committee on national security and defence - Mr G.Kruchkov is a representative of the Communist Party of Ukraine.
On the question of Iraq - as you know - the Multi-National Force there is not a NATO operation. There are legitimate strongly diverging opinions within the Alliance on the issue of Iraq. Ukraine has strong relations with many members of the MNF - US, Poland, UK, Italy and others. We committed Ukraine to participation in the MNF under a previous Government, which, unfortunately, did not make the effort to build the necessary public support required to sustain that support in a functioning democracy. President Yushchenko has fulfilled his campaign promise to withdraw the Ukrainian Peacekeeping Contingent, while ensuring we did this in a way that would not undermine our efforts within the MNF. So we stayed through the key points of Constitutional Reform and early elections in Iraq.

It is important to know that Ukraine is continuing an engagement with Iraq both through bilateral relations and through personnel (total 50 at the moment) participating in the NTM, which is an area where all Allies have agreed on engagement. Similar to NATO countries, Ukraine donated million € worth of arms and equipment to Iraq's Armed Forces. In 2005, the President of Ukraine visited Iraq and two visits by the Minister of Defence took place.

The Armed Forces are continuing to contribute to the defensive capacity of the NATO with the provision of aircraft transportation support for peacekeeping operations.

Ukraine joined operation "Active Endeavour" and this year a ship of the Naval Forces of Ukraine will start patrolling in the Mediterranean Sea. The Contact Point within framework of operation "Active Endeavour" was set up in Sevastopol.
Our aircraft will fulfil one battalion rotation in the province of Darfur (Sudan).

The Ministry of Defence of Ukraine along with the MFA is leading in the process of Euroatlantic integration within Ukraine and we have made significant progress. The key event for Ukraine in this sense will be the NATO summit of Foreign Ministers in April 2006. We hope that we may receive an official invitation to join MAP in September 2006. We understand that we will be set rigorous performance targets to achieve but future NATO membership is at the heart of our collective security policy.

Following the Defence Ministers meeting in October 2005 in Vilnius on the instructions of the President of Ukraine the Ministry of defence has started the process of preparation of a draft first Annual National Program to provide the vision for our NATO Membership. We are preparing this with the help of experts from NATO member states and consultations took place on 30th of January 2006. In the near future we are going to present this draft to the Vishegrad Group member states.

To conclude my speech I would like to emphasise that Ukraine as a European state aims to be a reliable partner in guaranteeing security and stability in the region and in the wider world community.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine will continue to secure our national sovereignty but will take part in peacekeeping operations with our international partners and allies - increasingly through NATO - although we are ready to contribute to world- wide security wherever practical.

Thank you for attention!

The spoken word is applicable!