Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty depend on its ability to defend itself. To ensure this, Ukraine needs a set of cast-iron security guarantees from its allies. This was the key message from Andriy Yermak and Anders Fogh Rasmussen when they presented their joint recommendations on security guarantees for Ukraine today in Kyiv. In July, President Zelenskyy […]
Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty depend on its ability to defend itself. To ensure this, Ukraine needs a set of cast-iron security guarantees from its allies. This was the key message from Andriy Yermak and Anders Fogh Rasmussen when they presented their joint recommendations on security guarantees for Ukraine today in Kyiv.
In July, President Zelenskyy tasked the Head of his Presidential Office and the former NATO Secretary General to prepare recommendations on how to protect Ukraine’s sovereignty for the long-term. The recommendations were based on input from an expert group from across the democratic world. This included former Prime Ministers, Ministers, as well as senior officials and academics.
The recommendations call for the creation of a Kyiv Security Compact, a joint strategic partnership document bringing together the guarantor countries with Ukraine.
The recommendations envisage a multi-tiered approach to guarantees. A core group of allies will provide cast-iron commitments to support Ukraine’s armed forces and a broader group will provide non-military guarantees, built around sanctions.
Speaking at the launch of the recommendations, Andriy Yermak said:
“Today we are presenting the result of work that has no precedents in recent history, just as the act of full-scale aggression by a nuclear power and the UN Security Council member against a sovereign European state is unprecedented. With the help of allies, Ukraine is successfully resisting this invasion. However, it should be noted that decisions often had to be made ad hoc, and the development of mechanisms for this aid required a lot of time, which is always lacking in war, and which is bought with pain, blood, and lives,” said Andriy Yermak, speaking at the recommendations presentation.
The head of the Presidential Office stressed that the Ukrainians foiled the aggressor’s plans and defended their country, and the occupied lands will certainly be returned. Meanwhile, it is necessary to ensure that Ukraine is fully secured in the future.
“We must make sure that the slogan ‘We can do it again’ causes panic attacks and bad memories among Russians. That they say “Never again!” in reply. To this end, we need a military power strong enough to repel the Russians’ desire for revenge. And it must be capable of causing irreparable damage to the aggressor if this desire turns out to be irresistible. Security guarantees are aimed at helping us create such a power,” Andriy Yermak said.
At the same time, he emphasized that the agreement on security guarantees for Ukraine is not a substitute for joining NATO – it is a means of ensuring security until it happens.
Former NATO Secretary General and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen added:
“The immediate priority is that Ukraine wins this war. Right now, Ukraine is showing on the frontlines that with the necessary resources, they can defeat Russia on the battlefield. Ukrainians are showing the will to fight, the democratic world must continue to give them the means to fight.
Once this war is over, we must ensure that Russia can never invade again. The best way to do that is by Ukraine having a significant military force capable of withstanding any future Russian attack. Building and maintaining such a force requires a multi-decade commitment from Ukraine’s allies.
“Adopting these recommendations would send a strong signal to Vladimir Putin. It would show that our commitment to Ukraine will not falter, that his war is futile. It would also send a message to the Ukrainian people, that we are committed to Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty for as long as it takes.
“Getting this right means building a new cornerstone of European security. Failing to do so means a festering crisis on European soil.”
Key recommendations of the report
- The strongest security guarantee for Ukraine lies in its capacity to defend itself against an aggressor under the UN Charter’s article 51. To do so, Ukraine needs the resources to maintain a significant defensive force capable of withstanding the Russian Federation’s armed forces and paramilitaries.
- This requires a multi-decade effort of sustained investment in Ukraine’s defence industrial base, scalable weapons transfers and intelligence support from allies, intensive training missions and joint exercises under the European Union and NATO flags.
- The security guarantees should be affirmative and clearly formulated; they lay out a range of commitments made by a group of guarantors, together with Ukraine. They need to be legally and politically binding based on bilateral agreements but brought together under a joint strategic partnership document – called the Kyiv Security Compact.
- The package of guarantees includes preventive measures of a military, financial, infrastructural, technical, and information nature to prevent new aggression, as well as measures to be taken immediately in the event of a new encroachment on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. In addition, the structure of the Kyiv Security Compact includes a full-fledged sanctions package against the aggressor state, and may also include additional components, such as agreements on providing Ukraine with modern air defense/anti-missile systems, regional agreements on security in the Black Sea, and others.
- The Compact will bring a core group of allied countries together with Ukraine. This could include the US, UK, Canada, Poland, Italy, Germany, France, Australia, Turkey, and Nordic, Baltic, and Central European countries.
The security guarantees are not a replacement for Ukraine’s ambition to join NATO. This aspiration is safeguarded in the Ukrainian constitution and is a sovereign decision for Ukraine. Ukraine is also on the path to EU membership. As an EU member, Ukraine will benefit from the EU’s own mutual defence clause. Both NATO and EU membership will bolster Ukraine’s security in the long-term. The guarantees outlined today in no way undermine these aims but will ensure that Ukraine has what it needs to defend itself under any circumstance.