Volodymyr Ohryzko: If the Situation Gets Out of Control It Will Be a Hot War, Not a Cold War

Kyiv, 02 April 2014 – During a press briefing at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center, Ukrainian diplomat, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Volodymyr Ohryzko said that the West needs to understand that the Kremlin announced war not only against Ukraine but also against the West and its values. Today’s international response is not decisive enough, and this precedent may provide an incentive for dozens of countries to acquire nuclear weapons. “Russia has publicly slapped the West in the face and is now waiting to see what the reaction will be,” he said.

The diplomat noted that Russia’s brutal aggression against Ukraine means three things: “First, Russia has made it clear that it denies other people’s right to freely chose their way of development, and that post-soviet countries are quasi-independent. Second, it has demonstrated that, guided by its selfish interests, it will disregard the international laws and lay out a course to form a coalition of countries that separate themselves from the international community. Third, Russia has shown that it is ready to return to the cold war and I don’t dismiss the possibility that it may turn into a hot one,” Ohryzko said.

To further prove his point, the expert referred to Russia’s intention to denounce the Belavezha Accords, which means that the President of Russia Vladimir Putin is now casting doubt on the collapse of the USSR. “Soon we may witness violence not only against Ukraine. If the situation gets out of control, it will be a hot war, not a cold war, and so I hope that the western countries will realize the threat.”

Analyzing the goals of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, V. Ohryzko asserted that it is not so much about the economic interests of Russia as it is about its utmost reluctance to view Ukraine as an independent state. “In 2008, during a NATO session in Bucharest, V. Putin called Ukraine a ‘historical misunderstanding’ which needed to be corrected. Unfortunately, the West only perceived it as a bad joke. However, it later resulted in aggression against Georgia, and now against Ukraine,” said Mr. Ohryzko, adding that Ukraine has never been viewed by Russia as an equal partner.

The expert believes that the best way of helping Ukraine is for the US and Europe to impose a wider range of sanctions against Russia, including political, diplomatic, scientific, military financial and economic sanctions, all of which together with the combined effort of various countries could yield results. He also suggested signing bilateral security treaties between Ukraine and the USA, UK and France.

Mr. Ohryzko is also convinced that in order to ensure its security Ukraine needs to resume the Euro-Atlantic integration process. “We have the right to demand that Ukraine joins NATO and receives guarantees of security from the nuclear weapon wielding states. We need real help from NATO in obtaining military equipment, such as anti-tank weapons, anti-aircraft weapons and drones, he said. – If not, then Ukraine is left with no other choice but to restore its nuclear weapons. It is a more difficult political decision, and a rather expensive one. But there is nothing more valuable than Ukraine’s independence.”

Volodymyr Ohryzko is a Ukrainian diplomat, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (2007 – 2009), Head of the President’s Foreign Policy Office (1996 – 1999). In 1999 – 2004 he served as an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to Austria and Permanent Representative of Ukraine at international organizations in Vienna, and in 2004 – 2005 he was the Ambassador-at-large at the Euro-Atlantic Cooperation Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

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