"Russia fears the truth" - V.Trukhan, Exclusive | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

24 August, Saturday

"Russia fears the truth" - V.Trukhan, Exclusive

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Ukrainian diplomat, Chairman of the Board of  Public Organization “European Movement of Ukraine”,  Director of the Coordination Bureau for European and Euro-Atlantic integration in the 2008-10 years, Vadim Trukhan in his exclusive  interview for Eurasia Diary about Ukraine’s European Integration and CIS conflicts.

Eurasia Diary: How do you appraise Ukraine’s course toward European Integration if we take into account your working experience as the Director of the Coordination Bureau for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and your current position as the head of the Board of SPA “European Movement of Ukraine”? What successes and difficulties are on the way?

V.Trukhan: Ukraine as other post-Soviet countries made strategic mistakes after the Soviet Union collapse. Eastern Europe countries get an opportunity to sign an agreement on association with the EU
which was the preparatory stage for negotiations on EU accession while Ukraine and other CIS countries signed an agreement about partnership and cooperation. As a result, we got partnership and cooperation instead of economic integration and political association.

Thereby, first 15 years had been lost in terms of EU integration.

The conclusion of Association Agreement happened only in 2014 when President Yanukovych fled to Russia and this also lead to the development of economic relationships between EU and Ukraine. For instance, increase in turnover between EU and Ukraine reached 7 percent. Also of note, EU made an unprecedented step out of solidarity toward Ukrainian people: EU announced about introduction of preferential treatment to Ukrainian goods which means the execution of agreement even before it came into force.
The end of ratification of the Association Agreement is on the agenda now. Only Netherlands didn’t support the idea of ratification however, from my perspective, this question will be settled in the next six months

In fact, the agreement is just a list of activities which Ukraine should implement to introduce EU norms and standards in the country and to gain the status of EU accession candidate. Negotiations about EU membership will start after the agreement will be fully implemented.

Visa-free regime with EU is the Ukrainians’ weak spot because at the moment they need to get Schengen visa to visit EU. Actually, all procedures are completed and Ukrainians will get visa-free access to EU after 24th November. Moreover, we cooperate with EU on a whole bunch of questions including education, mutual security and defense.

Eurasia Diary: How do you appraise the fact that Ukraine prepares its withdrawal from CIS? What consequences this withdrawal will cause?

V.Trukhan: Ukraine has never been CIS member. We signed an agreement about CIS creation but we didn’t ratify CIS status. Nonetheless, Ukraine engaged in several hundred international contracts signed within CIS: legal assistance, pensions, information and cultural policy.

Ukraine can’t pretend that nothing happened during cooperation with CIS. Especially, this became noticeably after the last CIS summit in Kyrgyzstan when unprecedented incident happened. If before issue of the supremacy transference to the next country had been resolved with consensus, now the decision of Russia’s supremacy was accepted in Kyrgyzstan summit despite the official Ukrainian delegation declared disagreement with it.

Furthermore, Ukraine emphasized that if Russia will consider Ukrainian that reside in Crimea as their citizens in CIS countries’ population census in 2020 then Ukraine will not acknowledge it. Despite the head of Ukrainian delegation made official warnings, the decision to carry out the census was taken all the same. Therefore, Ukraine cannot ignore this situation.  From my viewpoint, it’s time to withdraw from the contract about the CIS establishment.

I don’t see any negative consequences for Ukraine after the withdrawal from CIS. In fact, it’s impossible to withdraw from something when you aren’t a member of it. Ukraine isn’t in a hurry; they analyze which international legal institutions harm their interests.

Eurasia Diary:  What future do you think Russian-Ukrainian relations have?

V.Trukhan:  I am an optimist and I believe that the relationship status of Ukraine and Russia sooner or later will remind the relationship status of US and Canada. Ukraine anyway will try to reach new relationship level with Russia in which these two countries will no longer be like “older and younger brother” but like two sovereign independent states with their own national interests. Ukraine has already demonstrated their will regarding the defense of their independence and sovereignty. Ukraine will never agree with the half occupation of Lugansk and Donetsk regions and the annexation of Crimea. These territories that are 9 % of the whole Ukraine are under Russia’s control.

I’m sure that territorial integrity of Ukraine will be restored which I wish to Azerbaijan as well.

Eurasia Diary:  How do you think is it possible to return Crimea and Donbass without military intervention?

V.Trukhan:   Situation is very complicated. The fact that political regime in Russia at the moment has no other option except carrying out an aggressive imperial foreign policy is worsen this situation. Obviously, it’s difficult to hope for progress in peace process while this political regime stays in power.

It’s clear that, Russia does not need Donbass due to the fact that its occupation costs are immense for them. Russia canot even explain to their citizens why they occupy the territory of Ukraine while the majority of Russians still consider Ukraine as a “brother-country”.

The world experience demonstrates that there is no any universal scenario for the restoration of territorial integrity. Not only Ukrainian President Mr. Poroshenko but also the majority of Ukrainians supports peaceful methods of restoration. However, I do not exclude the fact that political and diplomatic instruments must be supported by strengthening the armed forces.

This is a hypothetical question, it can happen this year or later but the fact that Ukraine significantly increased the level of its defense capabilities for two and a half years is unquestionable. If we have 6000 combat-ready soldiers and officer in 2014, now Ukraine has 210000 soldiers without mentioning reserve troops. Neither Russia, nor any other country can seize Ukraine territory from now on.

Eurasia Diary:  What you can say about the international commission’s report of investigation of the MH17’s collapse which Russians named a fake?

V.Trukhan: I would like to take the opportunity and express my condolences to the families of 298 killed civilians because they had flying over the Ukrainian territory.

In the first day after the tragedy, Ukraine took a political decision to delegate all rights for investigation of this tragedy to international investigators and to provide maximum support in the collection of evidences and interrogation of witnesses. Ukraine is stick to this position so no one can blame Ukraine’s interest in the published report.

After the catastrophe, Ukraine along with Australia and Malaysia suggested the resolution to UN Security Council about the foundation of an international tribunal with the mandate to investigate this crime, identify suspects and bring them to justice. Russia blocked this resolution. If they would be interested in independent investigation and identifying the culprits, then they will never veto this resolution. This fact demonstrates that Russia fears the truth and forces to think that who is to blame for this tragedy.

Interview by Natalia Gulieva.



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