Radoslaw Sikorski: I’m not sure that NATO membership should be an urgent goal for Ukraine, the chance to achieve this are very small

Former Polish foreign Minister and former head of the Ministry of defence in this country Radoslaw Sikorski in an interview to “112 Ukraine” said, what format would contribute most to the successful negotiations on the settlement of the situation in the Donbas, about what to expect from the next meeting, “Norman Quartet” and the prospects of Ukraine to become a NATO member.

“112”: During a meeting of Petro Poroshenko and Emmanuel Macron, we heard about the so-called formula of Macron. Besides, if you remember, was the plan of Morel and formula Steinmeier. Can any plan to resolve the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, or all depends on the will of Russia to implement such a plan?

Radoslaw Sikorski: I don’t know the details of these initiatives. But in order to have peace, both sides need to want it, and they must be connected in a certain arrangement. In this case, the easiest would be, if Russia will withdraw their troops and stop supporting those who are on the other side of the border and restore Ukrainian control over the border.

And what a perfect plan for Donbass? What items should be there?

— Not for me to give advice to your people or the government. You know their own interests better. But we all know what the game is. If the game is about the language, local or regional autonomy, is the principle of the Council of Europe, various UN documents on the rights of national minorities, which all civilized countries, of course, respect. But from what I know, the game is for the more ambitious goals of Russia. The Federation wants to ensure that Ukraine restricts foreign policy, because Russia wants. And wants to use this conflict to permanently exclude Ukraine from joining Western institutions. And this, of course, is more complicated, in that a sovereign state could not accept.

— Mr. Sikorski and Ukraine do we need this new plan? Or should I just stick to the Minsk agreements?

— Any plan is good if both parties are willing to execute it. It is very difficult to prepare new plans if the old do not perform. I just hope that the Russian Federation understand: the EU is serious about sanctions and extended to act on. And on the other hand, Ukraine is becoming closer to the European Union. And now you have proof of this. Now there is a visa-free regime. This means that a Ukrainian passport is more valuable than Russian. Ukrainians will see that they are welcome in the EU, and we stick to our promises, if you will carry out reforms in various sectors of the economy and the state as a whole.

Minister of foreign Affairs of Poland, Waszczykowski said that “Normandy format” need to be expanded to join the United States And Poland. Is there any chance that Poland will join, and under what circumstances?

— I’ve never been a fan of “Norman format” because it did not include the United States, and Poland, of course. But above all, the EU needs to be attached. Because Ukraine wanted a deep and comprehensive free trade area with the EU that Russia is considered unacceptable. Therefore the European Union should take the initiative in such negotiations.

— But what about Poland — we know that in the “Normandy format” is already Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France — could be the expansion of participants? Followed the accession negotiations of Poland?

— I always support when my country is present at the negotiating table, where they take important decisions. And, of course, Poland is a neighbor of Russia and Ukraine, and, of course, a closer, it’s all long-standing historical ties, common interests… Than, for example, France, which is a little further. But if we decide that instead of countries that are already present, the European Union represents all of the country, then of course it will be interesting. Therefore, two sides — Russia and Ukraine, and further, the United States and the European Union (which means all its members) is the “Geneva format” is, I think, was the most correct from the beginning.

— We are from Macron heard that the next meeting in the “Normandy format” to take place in late June — early July. You, of course, said not a fan of “Norman format”, but so far that is the only one that is Ukraine. Should we expect results from an announced meeting in the “Normandy format”?

I don’t know. But what I know, Russia prefers to deal with individual EU countries, in comparison with which she is very big. When compared with the EU as a whole — we have the largest economy in the world, and together we are very strong in many areas, together we are much more powerful. I to give Europe a greater impact and to act through the European institutions that we have created. The President of the European Council, which by the way was my boss, Donald Tusk, who can speak for all the member countries of the EU, also on the Lisbon Treaty we have created an institution responsible for external Affairs, he also must now play the role of leader.

Talking about Europe now — do you mean France or Germany?

— No, the European Union is not specific to individual States. France and Germany do not even have half of the votes in the European Council. And none of these countries is not a neighbor of the parties to the conflict. And Yes, I believe that the role of the EU as a whole would be more appropriate.

— We expect a productive meeting in the “Normandy format”? She can change the situation in the Donbass or not?

— I’m skeptical. Because if the Russian partners wanted to normalize relations and to see the easing of sanctions, they know what to do, but they don’t. For Ukraine it is critical not to use the conflict in the Donbas as an excuse to stop or delay reforms. 93% of your territory under the control of the democratically elected President, democratically elected Parliament. And you need to implement the Association Agreement with the EU 93% of its territory, which you control. And if you do that, Ukraine will continue to grow, to fight corruption and give hope to the citizens that built the best country, then in the end, the people of Donbass and Crimea will again see the benefits of living under the sovereignty of Ukraine.

— So the question is not in formats that can work, and the reforms that should be implemented?

Yes. Look at Germany in the past years. This is because West Germany became richer, the East wanted to join. And in the end it happened. It took 45 years. I hope it will happen faster in your case. But just don’t believe in any quick solution.

— Today, speaker of the Parliament Andrei Parubiy said that the cooperation with Ukraine is beneficial for NATO. The Ukrainian army may provide support including neighbours from the Baltic countries and others bordering the Russian Federation. But before that, let me remind you, the Chairman of the NATO military Committee noted that the Russian threat increases on all fronts. And noticed accommodation in the annexed Crimea and in Kaliningrad Intercontinental ballistic missiles. NATO is ready to defend its state allies?

As I know, ballistic missiles have never taken from Kaliningrad. They have been there since Soviet times. The new element is a new type of ballistic missiles that, according to reliable reports, have a range greater than 500 kilometers. Which means a breach of the security architecture of Europe. I mean the Treaty signed by Gorbachev and Reagan in the eighties, is about the elimination of intermediate and short range, limiting the use of missile defeat from five hundred to two and a half thousand kilometers. It will be very serious, because it is possible not only to reach Warsaw from Kaliningrad, but Berlin and other capitals of the world. That is, with such a tactical weapon to achieve any strategic objective. This, of course, a cause for concern. And you should check that up to the Russians.

— As Deputy Minister of defence of Poland you contributed to the rapid accession of your country in NATO. In early June, the Ukrainian Parliament has voted that membership in the Alliance is our priority goal. In your experience — what Ukraine needs to do to become a member of NATO?

— I’m not sure that this should be the immediate goal for Ukraine. The chances to accomplish this is very small. I was at the NATO summit in Bucharest, where Ukraine along with Georgia have applied for membership. But then the leaders of your country could not decide until the last whether to submit this claim. They signed, I think this document a few weeks before the summit. Wasn’t time to persuade other countries that need it. As a consequence, NATO was not consensus. President Putin then threatened if Ukraine will get such a chance, he “will make” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We haven’t given that chance — he did what he did in Georgia…

I think that security guarantees are useful if work… Europe needs now to work on these security assurances… That they were effective for the current countries-members of NATO, and they are still not the same… there is No initiative on the part of NATO to increase capacity and to attract countries such as Ukraine. That is, upon applying for membership in the Alliance now — you will irritate Russia, to give her a reason to react, at the same time strengthening its defense capabilities. I would have concentrated on other Pro-Western perspectives, and believe me they are quite ambitious! To transform your legal system with the European standards. You need to implement 80 thousand pages of legislation, is what will put you in the rank of modern European countries. And that, for example, that we have done before to enter the EU. And that’s what you need to do to dreaming about membership. This way protected the Western countries, without provocation of Russia. What is not in the interests of any country. Especially yours.