Russia-Ukraine: Interlocking Effect On Co-Operation With NATO To Be Stronger In 2012

ATHENS, Greece -- Peal of the bells on New Year’s Eve will notify not only about the beginning of 2012, but also about the intrigues that will accompany important events expected in Ukraine and Russia.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Ukraine, with its strategic and delicate geopolitical position as an independent state, finds itself again in the situation of choice between two neighbours, EU and Russian Federation.

Ukraine, due to this condition and especially due to its energy-dependent economy and fragile energy security, is not able to conduct an independent foreign policy.

Kiev will have to operate according to the neighbour’s interests and actions.

The discussion about Ukraine joining Customs and Eurasian Union has been in the shadow of the possible ratification of the Association Agreement with the EU.

The debate will definitely revive again, since the expected Agreement was not signed during the recent Summit in Kiev.

Russia’s interest and its foreign policy will most likely remain unchanged as Putin, after his presidential bid announcement, may serve his third and fourth term as President of the Russian Federation.

Russia will continue to pull the strings, influencing the process of the European integration of Ukraine, which also includes partnerships in the area of security and defence area.

At the same time, it will provide its own interpretation of the story, like it is sometimes done by the comments of the Russian officials on the case of Ukraine not being member of NATO by now thanks to the diligent work conducted by the Russian security services.

Moscow’s attempts to effect Ukraine-NATO relations will escalate together with the talks around European Missile Defence System.

As it was in the past, NATO will claim that Ukraine is one of its major partners within the Partnership for Peace.

The position of Ukraine towards Allies is predicted by the law of 2010 about Ukraine’s neutral status and non-affiliation with military unions.

Nevertheless, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kiev, the new co-operation plan with NATO is soon to be announced and mutual Ukraine-NATO agenda is getting broader.

NATO is willing to continue and expand mutual aid for the operation in Afghanistan together with possible tenders in the process of operation withdrawal, co-operation in the cyber defence and the disposal of ammunition.

A Ukrainian ship may take part in combating piracy in Somalia.

Moreover, NATO proposed to contribute in providing security during the Euro 2012 football championship next summer.

And it is recommendatory by nature that the Ukrainian side should react positively and use the Western experience, as until the beginning of 2012 the government seems to have poor understanding of the importance of law enforcement training for an event of that level.

Despite of some efforts, the Soviet-type police approaches still prevail in Ukraine.

Thus no kind of action plan or Ukrainian campaign for NATO will enhance political dialogue.

The context of the relationship is marginally deepening; and one may question whether it is a quality difference or is just a set of additional measures which preserve the state of the relationship on the same level.

Since NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen invited Ukraine to partnership in locating objects of the missile defence, and by his words Ukraine shares the interest, Russian opposition will continue to grow.

Russia is uncertain whether it will participate in Chicago Summit in May, because of the bilateral contradiction issues over ballistic missile defence system.

Russia will use the time until spring to provide with the preparation on response reactions.

Instead of bargaining with Moscow and Brussels, Ukraine will be in a hostage situation, hoping for compromise between Russia and NATO in the name of a stronger global security.

Despite the diplomatic efforts to smoothen the situation, the statement of President Yanukovych that Ukraine has no intention to participate in the process, may leave the country on the outskirts between two other competitors.

It will be up to the diplomats to try and find a place for Ukraine in the project.

The most crucial event for Ukraine in 2012 is the Parliamentary elections.

Their result will indicate who will be the next President, which, in turn, may lead to changes in the security orientation and change of mood in the society regarding Euro-Atlantic ideas.

Linked to foreign policy, main national security threats come up before election in both Russia and Ukraine.

Presidential elections in Russia in March and Parliamentary in Ukraine in October are most likely to become an attempt to the current governments to remain in power, while they lose the vote of confidence within their countries and beyond their borders.

As shown in the recent parliamentary elections in Russia, social and political injustice can increase tensions in the societies and may lead to social movements that will be hard to control in the used authoritarian force-based manner.

Reactions of the other interested parties, who say they share common security interests based on the values of the fundamental freedoms, human rights and democracy, are to be expected.

Source: NewEurope