“The policy of subjugation and agreeing to Russian demands do not lead to de-escalation. On the contrary, they strengthen Russia’s belief that it can intervene on its neighbour territory,” said Katarzyna Pisarska, Founder and Chair of Board of Directors of the European Academy of Diplomacy and Co-Chair of the Warsaw Security Forum, in an interview with the Georgian Public Broadcaster.
According to Katarzyna Pisarska, Russia formally has no veto over NATO. NATO’s enlargement is a decision between NATO member states and the aspirant countries. “I don’t foresee a scenario in which Russia would agree for enlargement of NATO to Ukraine and Georgia unless there is a change not only in the government in Russia but the political system. That veto would be withheld by Russia.
However, Russia formally has no veto over NATO. So the question is, why we should be considering this veto as something that closes effectively the doors of membership to Georgia and Ukraine? You were right to say that we had a policy of actually be considering Ukraine and Georgia as potential member states. Both countries asked for a MAP, Membership Action Plan, which was denied in 2008 and by some member states, including Germany and France at last time. These countries said that we should not poke Russia and respect its will and its veto, and only a few months after the Bucharest Summit, we saw Russia’s invasion into Georgia, which means that the policy of subjugation of agreeing to Russian demands does not lead to de-escalation. On the contrary, they strengthen Russia’s belief that it can intervene in its neighbours’ territory. And, I think annexing Crimea and Donbas only confirmed Russia’s intentions in the region.
So again, I don’t believe that Russia should be factored into that decision. NATO enlargement is the decision between NATO member states and the country, which is interested in joining the alliance,” she said.
Katarzyna Pisarska said the alliance is expanding. However, Russia created a problem by taking effective control over the territories of Ukraine and Georgia. NATO member states have to think if they can accept the countries which do not fully control their entire territories
“Russia created so-called grey zones, breaking territorial sovereignty and integrity, and, of course, there is a big discussion among NATO member states, can we or should we be accepting the countries, which do not fully control their entire territories. I think this is the question to the Georgian and Ukrainian leaders how should we approach this because, of course, even in a scenario if Ukraine joins NATO tomorrow, NATO would not be able to guarantee Donbas and Crimea security. These regions should be excluded somehow from the NATO guarantees. This means politically denouncing them.
What about South Ossetia and Abkhazia? That this is a huge political challenge for these countries themselves. So, I think this is the next stage for discussions that everyone fears to begin, nobody even dares. I even asked your deputy minister is Georgia going to give up South Ossetia and, of course, it is not. At the same time, we have to realize that NATO is not able to take in a territory over which a member state has no control.
These are legal, political aspects that need to be discussed by our governments, from both sides – NATO member states and the potential candidate countries. And we should not shy away from them, otherwise, the discussion on NATO enlargement to Ukraine and Georgia will die. If there are no concrete proposals and ideas, and the role of Russia today is to make sure that does not even begin,” she said.