War in Ukraine and Its Influence on the European Sense of Security

The problem of Ukraine has a real impact on the security of other European countries. Russian influence is multidimensional and does not come down only to the military activities. Russian strategy implies to use various instruments of influence. What is behind these activities? Is the threat from the Russia an inseparable part of European reality?


The debate over the influence of armed conflict in Ukraine on the security of the other countries of Old Continent, included the following experts:

Tor Bukkvoll, expert on the East, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI),

Margareta Cederfelt, president of the  Foreign Affairs Committee of the Swedish Parliament,

Zdzisław Sliwa, dean of the Estonian Baltic Defense College,

Vadym Tryukhan, managing director of the “European Movement of Ukraine”

Debate was led by:

Maciej Milczanowski, director of the Institute for National Security Studies.

Tor Bukkvoll stressed the importance of safe and independent Ukrainian state for the safety of all Europe. Norwegian researcher has also pointed out the main reason why Ukraine’s security is important for European stability:

If Ukraine re-enters the Russian sphere of influence, to the Kremlin’s satisfaction, Ukraine will become a mere buffer state yet again. Such countries have a tendency to disintegrate and disappear from the maps. It also causes internal unrests in fear of potential aggression from outside. Ukraine also needs a consolidated democracy. Democracies do not fight with each other. If there is more democracy – there is more peace.

 

Margareta Cederfelt believes that the main reason for Russian aggression was the pro-European policy of Ukraine aimed at integration with the European Union. Ukraine, as a member of EU would pose a threat to Russia. Swedish deputy devoted a lot of her attention to the propaganda instruments used by Russia. She mentioned the ”troll factories”, fake news and other elements of the hybrid war. She stressed that this kind of activity particularly affects the mentality of Europeans, softening their stance on Russia. Margareta Cederfelt  recommended the closest cooperation between EU members and other European countries:

– We must stick together. We have several forms of cooperation already but I also see even greater possibilities of cooperation through initiatives like the OSCE, which monitors situation in Ukraine. It is of key importance to act together.

Zdzislaw Sliwa emphasized that the Baltic countries are still under pressure from Russia. He also referred to Margareta Cederfelt’s opinion about the necessity of cooperation for European security, which will require engagement on both sides of the Atlantic:

– NATO as a military alliance is a guarantee of our security, but to protect member countries  we must ensure stability outside the alliance’s borders. And Ukraine is important for NATO as well as for Russia.

The dean of the Estonian Defence College also numbered a few examples of aid from NATO to Ukraine, for example investment in professionalization of the army and development of defence capabilities.

Vadym Tryukhan questioned NATO’s support aid for Ukraine and suggested that the conflict should be considered as “war against Ukraine”, not “war in Ukraine”. In his opinion it is obvious that war against Ukraine has influence on European stability and the Ukrainian state is alone in its fight:

– War against Ukraine is an introduction to war against to Europe, but many decision-makers do not see it. I would like to believe that Europe will finally wake up and understand that with Russian threat we must fight now, not in the future. Ukraine is alone against the aggressor.

Tryukhan also stressed that Ukrainians see hope in NATO but today they are forced to fight all  alone. He also appealed to all countries neighbouring Russia to increase their expenditures on defence.

There is no doubt, that armed action against Ukraine can have real influence on security of other European countries. NATO’s aid for Ukrainian is certainly a good step but still insufficient. Another important question that needs to be asked is whether ignoring Russia and not to entering into dialogue with it does not torpedo of the de-escalation of tensions?