On July 5th-7th 2023, on the eve of the NATO summit in Vilnius, the international delegation of the Warsaw Security Forum organized by the Casimir Pulaski Foundation held a series of meetings in Kyiv. Continuous support for Ukraine’s fight against Russian unjustified aggression, and the issue of the country’s membership in NATO were the most important points of the visit. The delegation consisted of former ministers of foreign affairs of Poland, and Lithuania, retired high-level military commanders from Poland and the United Kingdom, as well as officials & security experts from Poland and France.
The delegation held a series of meetings with representatives of the government, parliament and non-governmental circles, that included: Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna, Deputy Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament Olena Kondratiuk, and Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Infrastructure, and of Strategic Industries, as well as the Plenipotentiary of the President of Ukraine for Crimea. As a part of the visit, an open brainstorming session, organized by the ICUV and the Pulaski Foundation, took place. It hosted representatives of Ukrainian government institutions, parliament and experts, and focused on the challenges and tasks facing Ukraine on its way to full membership in NATO.
“It is necessary to continue to support Ukraine in military, economic and financial terms. Ukraine is fighting not only for its independence, but also for preserving the values on which international relations are based,” pointed out Jacek Czaputowicz, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, member of the delegation.
During the meetings, all members of the delegation emphasized that they are supporters of Ukraine’s membership in NATO as soon as possible, which results both from the promises made to Ukraine by the allies already in 2008, the heroic role of Ukraine, which is fighting today not only for their own security, but also for the whole of Europe, and for the values of the transatlantic community that are at the foundation of both NATO and the European Union.
“The question is whether Ukraine’s membership in the Alliance will make it weaker or stronger. In my opinion, the answer is obvious – NATO with Ukraine will be stronger”, points out Gen. Mark Carleton-Smith, former British Chief of the General Staff, member of the delegation.
The entire delegation was impressed by the great determination of the Ukrainian friends towards full integration into the North Atlantic structures and readiness for further efforts to meet international standards. Independently from the final results of the Vilnius Summit, the delegation underlined the importance of making maximum use of all available mechanisms and instruments supporting Ukraine’s integration into the alliance. The ultimate goal, however, must remain full NATO membership for which there is no convincing alternative.
“The Alliance is based on values, but its strength is also built by observing standards, procedures and customs of cooperation,” points out in the context of the necessary work that Ukraine still has to do on its way to the Alliance, former NATO HQ official Robert Pszczel.
During their stay in Kyiv, the delegation also met with Oleksandra Matviichuk, Head of the Center for Civil Liberties – 2022 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
“In addition to the obvious military and financial assistance, Ukraine also needs the support of the West in settling over 90,000 cases of documented war crimes committed by the Russian invaders. It is our moral duty for international law to prevail” – indicates Katarzyna Pisarska, President of the Warsaw Security Forum.
The Pulaski Foundation helped in facilitating the international seminar with the participation of former Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and Defense from Poland, Ukraine, Georgia, and Lithuania, during which the participants discussed the specific experiences of CEE countries on their way to NATO.
“We hope that Ukraine will be granted membership as soon as possible, but the period on the way to the Alliance should be used to the fullest extent possible, with the support of the allies, to bring the Ukrainian armed forces, currently in the process of intensive transformation, as close as possible to the NATO standards” – stresses Tomasz Smura, Member of the Management Board of the Casimir Pulaski Foundation.
“The message I brought from Kyiv is simple: when we talk about the future of NATO, Ukraine is in fact an indispensable ally that will further strengthen our Eastern Flank & can act as one of the security providers to the region.” – summarizes Bart Kot, Programme Director of the Warsaw Security Forum.