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Ukraine And European Security - International Mechanisms
As Non-Military Options For National Security Of Ukraine.

Bohdan Lupiy
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GoChapter 2. Ukraine's National Interests. Existing Trends In Foreign And Security Policies.
GoSection 2. Ukrainian Foreign and Security Policy and Realization of National Policy Objectives.

2.3. A new phase

The first period of Ukrainian foreign strategy continued untill the end of 1993, when it was a growing understanding that economic crisis seems to be a vital challenge for the country and internal economic threats can destroy Ukraine more likely, than outside political or military risks.

The functional turn in external policy became visible in 1994, especially when Ukraine signed the Trilateral Agreement with Russia and the United states, which led it out of international isolation and assured the West, that Ukraine will not pose any intention to develop operational control over the nuclear weapons on its territory.(138) This move considerably improved Western attitudes to Ukraine.

Then, however, following the presidential elections in July 1994, many political observers predicted that in a short time Ukraine could be closely integrated into the Commonwealth of Independent States and that there could be a fundamental shift in the foreign policy orientation.(139) The probability of such forecasts was high, because during the pre-election campaign, Leonid Kuchma presented himself as a pro-Russian, rather than pro-Ukrainian or pro-West European politician. His poor Ukrainian and association with the industrial lobby of the East Ukrainian region obviously added credibility to projection of possible country's "closer cooperation" with Russia, which would lead to the loss of independence.

Notwithstanding, after a few months of Kuchma's presidency, the prognostications on radical shifts in Ukrainian foreign policy towards Russia have lost much of their credibility. New leaders have demonstrated their principal position concerning Ukrainian independence and Kuchma's administration has showed more dynamic leadership in solving domestic issues and completing foreign policy tasks. The first foreign visits of the newly elected President proved also that Kiev was not going to generate its links with Russia at the expense of its policy towards the other countries.

After taking the office, President Kuchma has emphasized the necessity of practical remodifications of Ukraine's external policy: foremost those, aimed at a more efficient protection of country's national interests and with priorities for those targets, which can produce immediate and direct results, especially in the sphere of economy.

On their side, the 1994 parliamentary elections have also made some notable outcomes in considerable weakening of the Leftist control over the Verkhovna Rada, where the Leftists won less than one-fifth of the seats.(140) It allowed president to consolidate pro-reform parliamentarians for pushing new economic program in October, 1994 and then, to ratify the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Parliamentary elections have also originated some new trends in strategic thinking among Ukrainian leaders. According to the sociological study, which aimed to specify the security priorities among Ukrainian parliamentarians, conducted by the National Institute of Strategic Studies in 1994, the respondents gave overwhelming weight to economic problems and attached very little importance to other sectors of national security, including ecology, military security, etc.(141) As this study also shows, Ukrainian politicians do not discount external threats entirely, they rather emphasize, that the political and economic developments of Ukraine principally determine its security.(142) Yet, far from being unanimous, the parliament still lacks its own coherent policy.

The achieved dynamism of Kuchma's policy was accompanied by a broad wave of replacements at a high level of Ukrainian leadership. These changes also touched the Foreign Ministry. Newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs Hennady Udovenko defined the new priorities of Ukraine's external policy as the "normalization" of relations with Russia, while developing stronger ties with Western countries.(143) He emphasized that basic principles of foreign policy persist unmodified and Ukraine will follow its international obligations, especially those concerning Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Conventional Forces in Europe treaties.

The new strategy succeeded in the advancement of Ukraine's international standing, at least in gaining pledge from Western countries and international organizations to provide political and financial support. It also resulted in Western security assuarances, which President Kuchma stroved to receive in December 1994 at the openning seccison of the CSCE Budapest Follow-up meeting after raticfication of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty by Ukrainian parliament in November.

Still, one feature of Kiev's policy-planning remains unchanged - on domestic level the decision-making process is hampered by the absence of a stable national consensus on the problems of security and one may conclude that there are still two orientations in Ukraine. The Western orientation is more evident within the executive structures, primarily in the Foreign Ministry and within presidential administration. Foreign and security policy's trends, existing in the Parliament, presents the polarization of political values and major state's issues - such as the progress of economic and political reforms - are the components upon which consensus hardly can be attained.

On the other hand, one can assert that while the new policies of Kiev have done a lot to gain the support of Western countries and improve the country's economic situation, they have contributed a little to assure and guarantee confidence in Ukrainian-Russian relations. In addition, the post-Chechen environment within the CIS area and forthcoming NATO eastward enlargement have added significance to the question of Ukraine's status in European security structure.

Yet, there is an actual perception among part of Ukrainian leaders that Russia has neo-imperialist objectives, trying to take Ukraine again under its domination. While providing assurances of Ukraine's territorial integrity and non-use of force, including economic pressure against it at the CSCE Budapest Summit in December 1994, Russia has several times failed to conclude a draft of bilateral friendship treaty, insisting on including in it several unacceptable clauses (e.g. on dual Russian-Ukrainian citizenship). In spite of this some politicians in Kiev still question whether Ukraine received the adequate assuarances for abandoning country's nuclear arsenal, which was on their view the most powerful symbol of sovereignty. In spite of this facts, further implementations of new Ukrainian policies remains fragile.

Finally, from the above, several features of Ukrainian foreign and security policy can be pointed out.

First, over the past years, the protection of national independence has been the primary aim of Ukraine's foreign policy, given its uncertain domestic order and relations with Russia.

Second, the formation of current Ukrainian policies has been a complex process, which included two main stages:

  • - period of "negation" strategy (1991-1993), with preoccupation on factors of domestic security, and interconnection of the foreign, security and defence policies, without nesessary clarity in division. When Ukraine's foreign and security policies have driven each other, they sometimes contained contradictions in formulation (e.g. neutral status and nuclear weapons on Ukraine's territory), which rised serious concerns within the world community and led Ukraine into a virtual international isolation.
  • - and up-to date period of so-called "normalization", with practical alterations in policies towards both - Western Europe and Russia.

Third, after positive changes in improving its international image and gaining responsibility of the world community during the second stage, Ukraine's place in international security system still remains vague. And having perceived the determining character of relations with Russia in its foreign and security policy, Ukraine is still searching for a strategy, which gives it practical role in a broader external policy vision and extends beyong concentration on Russia and empowers country to streamline and secure its sovereignty.

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