Andriy Yermak: Ukraine today is the best imagemaker for NATO, and its membership will only strengthen the Alliance
Andriy Yermak during a conversation with members of the European Parliament
Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak took part in a joint meeting of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Subcommittee on Security and Defense of the European Parliament via video call.
The meeting was also joined by former NATO Secretary General and former Prime Minister of Denmark Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who, together with Andriy Yermak, co-chairs the international group that has developed proposals in the form of a document called the Kyiv Security Compact to provide Ukraine with reliable security guarantees before it becomes a full-fledged NATO member state.
Speaking to the audience, the Head of the Presidential Office thanked the European Parliament for supporting our country in its struggle for freedom and independence from the very beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion.
Andriy Yermak noted that Russia's aggressive war against Ukraine continues and the Kremlin is seeking revanche for the defeats it has suffered in almost a year of fighting.
In this situation, the Head of the Presidential Office emphasized, it is relevant and vital to provide Ukraine with the full range of weapons, and the EU should act proactively. In particular, it should restart its defense industry and allow Ukrainian enterprises to join it. It is also necessary to increase sanctions pressure on the aggressor.
According to him, all this will help end the war faster with the full restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty within internationally recognized borders.
At the same time, the Head of the Presidential Office noted that Russia believes it is at war with the West. Therefore, this war is an aggression against the whole of Europe and the values that unite it. In addition, it is pointless to seek a dialogue with Moscow as it does not know how to speak on an equal footing.
Andriy Yermak reminded that at the G19 Summit in November President Volodymyr Zelenskyy presented the Ukrainian Peace Formula based on international security - nuclear, energy, food, environmental, and, of course, military security, which concerns everyone. And the international Yermak-Rasmussen group has developed a draft Kyiv Security Compact, which is also intended to help establish effective security guarantees for our country in the future.
For his part, Anders Fogh Rasmussen noted that one of the points of the President's Peace Formula is a system of reliable guarantees that would ensure Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity in the long term.
"These guarantees do not replace Ukraine's aspiration to join NATO. This decision will be made by the Ukrainian people. But NATO membership takes a long time, and the Kyiv Security Compact is something that can be implemented now," he said.
The former NATO Secretary General noted that these proposals envisage strengthening Ukraine's capabilities and powerful Armed Forces so that the country can defend itself. And this requires the support of Ukraine's partners in the framework of the Compact. They must take on the appropriate obligations. It is also about building a modern defense industry in Ukraine.
In addition, the signatories to the document must commit themselves to impose automatic immediate sanctions against Russia in the event of further or new aggression.
"This treaty offers enhanced self-defense to ensure peace. It also allows us to avoid the mistakes of the past. Previous security guarantees for Ukraine proved to be useless, including the infamous Budapest Memorandum. The Kyiv Security Compact does the opposite. It provides positive guarantees: practical material support to enhance Ukraine's ability to defend itself," explained Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Nathalie Loiseau, Chair of the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Security and Defense, said that the European Parliament strongly condemns Russia's war against Ukraine, and the EU should continue to provide financial, humanitarian and military assistance to Ukraine. She reminded that the European Parliament has designated Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Nathalie Loiseau is convinced that it is necessary already today to think about ways to guarantee the security of Ukraine and the entire European continent in the future. In her opinion, it is reasonable to follow the recommendations calling for multi-level security guarantees.
Urmas Paet, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs, supported the idea of talking about security guarantees now, even before Ukraine wins the war.
"It is very important to mobilize all the necessary political, financial, military and diplomatic resources to ensure that the horrors we are witnessing today do not happen again in the future," he said.
According to Urmas Paet, the Kyiv Security Compact contains clear proposals on security guarantees for Ukraine.
"Ukraine counts on our support for the Peace Formula announced by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy," said the Vice-Chair of the Committee.
Answering the questions of deputies - representatives of various groups of the European Parliament, Andriy Yermak also stated that Ukraine does not have any scenario of victory in the war, which would not provide for a hundred percent restoration of the territorial integrity of our state within the internationally recognized borders.
"All other proposals for any negotiations while Russian soldiers are on our land are absolute Russian propaganda. Under President Zelenskyy - and this, I am sure, is also the position of the Ukrainian people - there will be no new "Minsks", no new "Normandy formats". And this should be clearly understood," he emphasized.
Andriy Yermak is convinced that the world is dealing with modern fascism, as there are once again concentration camps in the occupied territories of Ukraine and in Russia. And MEPs can see the crimes committed by the Russian occupiers with their own eyes when they visit our country.
In his opinion, Ukrainians showed at the cost of their own lives that there is no need to be afraid when you stand up for your values.
"Today we are the best imagemaker for NATO, having shown the level of Russia. Russia clearly understands that today it is unable to dictate terms to NATO countries. Let's not lose it together! Thousands of lives of Ukrainians and Ukrainian children were paid for it. And Ukraine's membership in NATO will only strengthen the Alliance," said the Head of the President's Office.
Responding to the questions, Andriy Yermak also emphasized that even during the war, Ukraine continues reforms, builds an anti-corruption system, and carries out de-oligarchization. And this is evidenced by high-profile anti-corruption cases.
The Head of the President's Office once again thanked the European countries, their leaders and people for supporting Ukraine and Ukrainians over these months.
"Your citizens already clearly understand that Ukraine is part of the European family. And we are working hard around the clock to make this a reality as soon as possible," emphasized Andriy Yermak.