By Peter Tase
Central European Security constraints and challenges are constantly present unless a greater involvement of Ukraine is perceived by regional actors. A significant step forward in the realm of regional security and defense cooperation has been made under the leadership of Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Dmytro Kuleba; as one of the creators of the Lublin Triangle, a regional format established in 2020 to increase the military and political cooperation between the three nations: Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania.
The Government of Ukraine, as conveyed by Nivedita Kapoor, Ph. D. in her article, would secure additional military assurances with this new regional alliance. Kapoor states: “The fragile situation on the Russian-Ukrainian front would preclude any adventurism from either EU or NATO in favour of the new grouping. However, the Ukrainian intent to stay the course on its westward direction in foreign policy with the support of other like-minded players has been clearly demonstrated in its joining the Lublin Triangle.”
The greater Ukrainian engagement with the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization was reflected on January 29th, online meeting between the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland.
On this occasion Minister Dmytro Kuleba of Ukraine addressed several issues and addressed the pressing matters that concern the three countries joining the Lublin Triangle.
Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated that: “The Triangle was born in Lublin and matured in Kyiv. Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania have all the opportunities to turn the Lublin Triangle into an important player in our Central European region.”
Dmytro Kuleba expressed his gratitude to certain EU states for strengthening this initiative, in particular Lithuania and Poland, as these countries have called upon the European institutions to establish an effective mechanism of vaccine transfer to the Eastern Partnership countries. The Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed his gratitude to Poland and Lithuania for their unwavering support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, and their strong condemnation of Russia’s aggression against the Ukrainian state. Consistently Poland and Lithuania have reaffirmed their continued support for Ukraine’s EU and NATO membership aspirations.
Furthermore Minister Dmytro Kuleba informed his colleagues about his government’s efforts to de-occupy the Crimean peninsula and prepare for the inauguration of the Crimean Platform. The Foreign Affairs Ministers of Lithuania and Poland welcomed the initiative and reaffirmed their states’ readiness to take part in this Inaugural Summit in August 2021 in Kyiv.
A principal topic of discussion was the coordination of the Lublin Triangle efforts in Central Europe within the context of the new US administration policies. The three parties agreed that a deeper involvement of the United States in the cooperation with the region would play a key role in strengthening transatlantic ties, protecting sustainable development, freedom and democracy in Europe.
Dmytro Kuleba, Zbigniew Rau and Gabrielius Landsbergis upheld the idea of creating a civil youth platform of the Lublin Triangle with the participation of NGO’s from Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs stressed the importance of studying and spreading knowledge about the three countries’ common historical past, fostering cultural diplomacy that supports their national interests. The tripartite alliance shapes the basis of the national identity of the Ukrainians, Lithuanians, and Poles. Dmytro Kuleba also suggested dedicating attention to the study of the Crimean Tatar culture, as an important component of the cultural heritage of Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania. Various Cultural Diplomacy projects were also discussed in this meeting.
In the realm of reinvigorating cultural projects in Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the leadership of Minister Dmytro Kuleba, has established ties with Civil society organizations including Mrs. Tatiana Chichkalyuk, head of Tylihul -Life NGO and members of Ukrainian diaspora to execute projects that bring closer cultural values, nations and people.
One of these projects is the statue of Mark Twain that will be erected very soon in the city of Odessa. The Statue of Mark Twain in Odessa will eternally be considered as a prelude to other cultural projects in the bilateral sphere between Ukraine and the United States and serve as a source of bondage of both nations. It is worth mentioning that this unique initiative is being implemented by Mrs. Tatiana Chichkalyuk, head of Tylihul -Life NGO; Vadym Kravchenko – board member (Ukrainian national from Denmark) and Andre Pigulevsky, a strategic partner in the project, and owner of the first oysters’ farm in Ukraine.
Moreover, the foreign policy of Ukraine has extended its influence across the continent. On January 28th, 2021, First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Emine Dzhaparova held a meeting with Ambassador of Australia to Ukraine the Hon. Bruce Edwards. The Ukrainian First Deputy Minister noted a high level of cooperation between Ukraine and Australia on the international arena, particularly Australia’s support for Ukraine’s initiatives within the framework of international organizations, including the UN, strengthening of Ukraine-Australia relations and the development of bilateral cooperation in different areas. In this occasion, the parties noted the need to further strengthen the political and diplomatic dialogue between two countries.
Both parties discussed the interaction within the framework of the Crimean Platform to be launched at the Inauguration Summit on August 23rd, 2021.
Even though ongoing global health pandemic has changed the world forever and shifted global priorities, the Government of Ukraine has been proactive to strengthen its foreign policy and engage in connecting nations and cultures through cultural diplomacy, regional cooperation, and transatlantic initiatives. The upcoming weeks and months will bring new exciting developments within the Ukrainian diplomacy and its Foreign Policy Execution in Europe, Asia and the Western Hemisphere.