Tactics Institute for Security and Counter Terrorism presents an exclusive video briefing, the first in our exclusive COVID-19 and the Armed Forces series.
In part one, renowned security analyst Nickolay Kapitonenko interviews diplomat, foreign policy expert and former Ukrainian National Security Advisor, Vasyl Filipchuk on the situation in Eastern Ukraine as the COVID 19 crisis unfolds.
In the interview, Mr Filipchuck provides news of a prisoners of war exchange between the government of Kiev and the Russia-backed Donetsk People's Republic. The exchange comes after a period of stagnation in the resolution of the conflict. Mr Filipchuck outlines the underlying dynamics, both in Ukraine and in Russia that have led to inactivity.
The other focus of the interview is the COVID-19 crisis, which Mr Filipchuck explains has broken the deadlock and prevented the spring months from being wasted in terms of conflict resolution. The diplomat also critiques the early response of the Kiev government to the COVID crisis and explains how the pandemic provides an opportunity for the administration of President Volodymyr Zelensky to change Kiev’s relationship with people living in the country but in areas not controlled by the Ukrainian authorities.
Mr Filipchuck warns that the window of opportunity for being proactive about pursuing peace will be a small one, breaking down the internal political and media agendas that are likely to dictate the political agenda in coming months and risk side-lining regional concerns. He explains that, while the prisoner exchange raises hopes, there remain inherent weaknesses in Ukrainian institutions and in the government that will limit Ukraine’s room for manoeuvre.
Mr Filipchuck and Dr Kapitonenko warn that there is a danger that the opportunity presented by the COVID crisis could easily be lost and the hostilities could return to the shared comfort zone of mutual accusations and stalemate.
Click here to view the video.
Nickolay Kapitonenko, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the Institute of International Relations of Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University. He’s also a Director to the Center of International Studies, an NGO, specializing at regional security studies and foreign policy of Ukraine.
Vasyl Filipchuk is a foreign policy and Europe expert based in Ukraine. Mr Filipchuk is an acclaimed analyst, sought-after public speaker and participant in Chatham House and Wilton Park events. He is an experienced diplomat and author of the European Integration Strategy of Ukraine, approved by Presidential Decree in June 1998.