Francis Martin O`Donnell, president of the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS), who acted as the moderator for the panel, said that he had never expected the situation in Ukraine would ever change this much.
He said that the world has witnessed the annexation of a part of Ukraine.
“We see how big countries influence small countries. The situation in Ukraine is tragic, close to 10,000 people got killed, and the economy is on the brink of collapse,” he noted. “The situation in Russia is not good, either. While we are thinking about “what role can the international community play?” the UN Security Council and the OSCE come to mind. These organizations may play a big part in the settlement of this conflict,” the IRIS president said.
Addressing the panel, former President of Poland Bronisław Komorowski said that Crimea and Donbas problems didn’t arise all of a sudden and they are based on very complicated historical processes.
According to him, conflicts can always occur among neighbors and this [Ukraine crisis] is a test for Ukraine, the West, the European Union and Russia. “One should answer a number of questions – Whether the West is ready to resolve these conflicts? Or how will Russia act in future? How long will Russia adhere to these principles? How long will Russia exert pressure on its neighbors to subjugate them and establish an empire?,” he added.
Deputy Foreign Minister of Romania Daniel Ionita, who made a speech during the panel, said these conflicts affect the security of Europe. “The Nagorno-Karabakh and South Ossetian conflicts still remain unsolved. Therefore, all resources should be used to resolve these conflicts,” he noted.
The Ukrainian crisis must be resolved within the territorial integrity of Ukraine, Daniel Ionita said, stressing that all parties must honor commitments.
Addressing the panel, former Prime Minister of Ireland Bertie Ahern underlined a need to prevent human suffering and deaths.
According to him, the effects of all conflicts in the world are similar.
“There is a need for assistance of other countries and organizations in the resolution of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The EU and other organizations may make great contributions to this work,” he added.
Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, in his speech at the panel, said Ukraine has always acted in line with the Budapest Memorandum.
“We thought that this document ensures our territorial integrity. However, Russia violated its commitments,” he said. “You offer to reach a compromise. Is collective security good for Europe, but not for Ukraine? What should Ukraine do to ensure its territorial integrity and sovereignty? We know that there are such mechanisms, but they don’t depend on Ukraine. We are ready to move forward. I will respect Ukraine’s relations with Russia, if the latter is respectful to my country and my people…”