Radoslava Stefanova. NATO is a key element of the North-Atlantic stability: new challenges – new responsibility.


It is my pleasure to join you. Unfortunately, I can only hear you, but I cannot see you. I had the opportunity to hear Mr. Horbulin’s presentation and I agree with all he said. I'm sorry I was not able to hear the other presentations. But I think it was very interesting. And now, back to your question of what NATO has made, I want to clearly outline the prospects based on what is currently happening.

Russia defied European security. I would not say that it is a challenge to global security, because it does not have such opportunity. Russia would fancy it, but it is not.

NATO realises that the world order cannot be safe, and current actions of Russia prove it. The task of NATO, first of all, is to protect Member States and for this reason, NATO must take very important decisions. Of course, we are concerned and shall respond with specific actions. But before I go on talking about our NATO solutions both for its members and partners, and especially Ukraine, I would like to express my point of view on the development of current events.

I believe that the origins of this crisis are not international. Of course, it covers the whole European system, but it is an entirely internal problem of Russia. We see a regime that does not use soft power. It would like to attract countries from its immediate environment. Countries that believe in it should have played a leading role. But Russia is not able to do it. It has nothing to offer them.

Russian economy is completely dependent on resorts, exports of oil and other resources. It does not have sufficient production. When the Russian state budget showed good results, instead of investing in Russian infrastructure development and industrial production development, the government spent money on their own enrichment.

Russia is now in a situation where a growing middle class began to get poorer rapidly. And then the classic Russian question arises: What shall we do? And, unfortunately, the answer is to focus on external enemies. And this is what we see now.

In everything that happens, the Russian government sees a conspiracy of NATO, the USA and European Union, because it just cannot understand the phenomenon of the Maidan, the phenomenon of the democratic wish of the people to change the course of their government, i.e. what happened in Ukraine and what happened in several other countries. Such protests took place in Armenia, the Balkans, Macedonia and other countries. The first thing they think and what, as you know, is a key point in their official statements, that it must be a conspiracy theory. Unfortunately, the current government in Russia cannot understand what a civil society means.

What this may lead to? Sadly, I have to say that at the moment the plan is working for deceiving Russian society. We know that Mr. Putin's rating is rather high. A little more and it reaches the ratings of the North Korean leader. I'm not sure that most of society understands what happens. Putin actively influences people and the regime throws people in jail. Therefore, today there is no credible political opposition in Russia. They are afraid to speak. And due to these reasons we see such high ratings of Putin.

The question is how long it will last? In my opinion, it's not for a long time, because if you do not have a reliable economic base, if you do not invest in infrastructure development of the country, if you are still dependent on the old system, in this case the situation is very unstable. And this leads me to the question of what will happen next.

Why? In order to return to the main question and explain what NATO does and how the Alliance responds to this situation. You know that the decision that was taken last year at the summit in Wales and the action plan adoption ensures that Mr. Putin will not interfere in the affairs of member countries. We develop effective countermeasures.

In this context, I would like to inform about what we do for Ukraine and other countries contributors who are not members of NATO. We clearly know what is happening in Ukraine. Russian aggression must be stopped. We do everything possible to ensure that Ukraine could resist Russian aggression and could become stronger.

First of all, we focus on providing the best expert assessment and advice that we offer in connection with the reforms in Ukraine. We do this because we understand that military struggle and six waves of mobilization is a test of resistance. So we agreed on a number of projects with significant investments. Some of these projects include the provision of safe means of communication that can be used by Ukrainian military forces during operations in the east. Other projects are aimed at providing advice and training to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. We conduct training within our training programs of protection, being the largest programs among the programs of all other member countries.

We also agreed on the creation of a special security airspace system. In addition, our counsellors work in Kyiv on a regular basis; they cooperate with the Ministry of Defence, National Security and Defence Council, Ministry of Interior and other agencies that seek expert help. There is a number of special projects that we develop and offer to Ukraine. Our goal is to provide maximum assistance to you as a country that is not a member of NATO. We also provide other countries in the region that come to us for help, such as Moldova, Georgia and others, with similar programs.

Currently, we have started a review process of our relations with Russia. Russia has special relations with NATO, and it had all the benefits under NATO. We had a lot of mutually beneficial, both for Russia and us, areas of cooperation. We left open the opportunity for dialogue at the highest level. We ensure that our military channels of communication are open, although Russia presents false reports and rather provoking scenarios. We believe that everything should be discussed and resolved in the format of dialogue. We are always open and waiting when Russia is ready for dialogue. We always announce all training and programs. They can be found on our website. We monitor the military activity in Russia closely.

26.01.2016 19:45:00