24.10 - 26.10
Lviv Security Forum
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Peace on the winner’s terms is the goal of every war.

Wars are no longer aiming at total destruction. Nowadays, it’s not enough to control the territory and natural resources. The fight is for the will of the people and the results of their intellectual work.

Surrendering weapons is not necessary for capitulation. Controlling media, electricity, gas, and water is the most effective weapon of mass destruction.

Do you want peace under your conditions? Remember who is your threat. Don’t let your enemy control your resources and your will.

October, 24 (Wednesday)
Day 1
Opening ceremony
Venue: Restaurant Park Art of Rest, Lviv, Vitovskoho Str., 43 A
18.00 – 18.40
Welcoming the participants
Daniel Seiberling, Representative of Hanns Seidel Foundation in Ukraine
18.50 – 19.30
19.30 – 20.45
Main speech of the forum “Economy of war or the war of economies”
Speaker: Edward Lucas, writer, journalist, senior fellow at CEPA (USA)

Presentation of speaker by co-chair of organizing committee Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges

Desert, informal communication
Upon invitation only (speakers + honorable guests)
08.00 – 09.00
Welcome coffee, registration
09.00 – 09.20
Introductory speeches
Oksana Syroyid, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament

Ben Hodges, Lt Gen Ret US Army

Andriy Sadovyy, Mayor of Lviv

Fr. Bohdan Prakh, PhD, Rector of Ukraine Catholic University

09.20 – 09.40
Presentation of CEPA report on Nord Stream 2
Speaker: Reka Szemerkenyi, Vice President of CEPA (USA)
09.40 – 11.00
Discussion Dependency or Vulnerability
Moderator: Oleksandr Sushko, Executive Director of International Renaissance Foundation (Ukraine)

1. Wojciech Jakóbik, energy expert (Poland)
2. Anke Schmidt –Felzmann, FPRI Baltic Sea Fellow and ThinkVisegrad Fellow at the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) (Sweden)
3. Mykhaylo Honchar, Center for Global Studies “Strategy ХХІ” (Ukraine)
4. Daniel Seiberling, Representative of Hanns Seidel Foundation in Ukraine (Germany)
5. Martin Vladimirov, Analyst at Center for democracy studies (Bulgaria)

11.00 – 11.40
Coffee break
11.00 – 11.40
Press-conference of the Co-chairs of the organizing committee of the forum
Venue: Park Room, ground floor

Oksana Syroyid, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament

Ben Hodges, Lt Gen Ret US Army

11.40 – 12.30
Panel discussion: Situation in Azov Sea – economic, security and social challenge
Moderator: Ben Hodges, Lt Gen Ret US Army (USA)

1. Glen Howard, President of Jamestown foundation (USA)
2. Ihor Kabanenko, President of UA.RPA (Ukraine)
3. Petro Tsygykal, The Head of State Boarder Service (Ukraine)

12.30 – 14.00
14.00 – 15.15
Panel discussion: Propaganda – Leading asymmetric wars
Moderator: Ms. Barbora Moronkova, Director at NATO Information and Documentation Centre, Kyiv (Slovak Republic)

1. Veronika Vichova, European Values Foundation (Czech Republic)
2. Nerijus Maliukevičius, Vilnus Institute of International Relations and Political Science (Lithuania)
3. Serhiy Harmash, editor in chief of internet newspaper Ostrov (Ukraine)
4. Mykhaylo Basarab, political expert (Ukraine)
5. Victor Rud, the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of Ukrainian American Bar Association (USA)

15.15 – 16.00
Coffee break
16.00 – 17.15
Panel: Policy towards occupied territories: how to make maintenance difficult for aggressor, how to prevent new grey zones evolving
Moderator: Denis Kazanskyi, journalist, blogger (Ukraine)

1. Giorgi Kandelaki, Member of Parliament (Georgia)
2. Dovilė Jakniūnaitė, Prof. Institute of International Relations and Political Science Vilnius University (Lithuania)
3. Rosian Vasiloi, Security Analyst, Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (Moldova)
4. Nataliya Ishchenko, journalist (Ukraine)
5. Roman Bezsmertnyi, diplomat, politician (Ukraine)

Transfer to dinner
Informal dinner
Venue:Museum and culture center of bier history “Lvivarnya”, Kleparivska Str., 18

Entry with forum beige only

Presentation of film “Short Hystory of Western Civilization” by Serhiy Savchenko

09.00 – 10.00
Youth security panel: How Ukraine can become a strong geopolitical actor in view of current security challenges
Moderator: Dmytro Sherengovskyi, PhD, Head of academic department UCU (Ukraine)

1. Halyna Herasym,Ukrainian Catholic University;
2. Lesya Ryabus, Taras Shevchenko National University Chernihiv Collegium;
3. Mariya Vladymyrova, European university Viadrina in Berlin;
4. Serhii Baglai, National university of Kyiv Mohyla Academy;
5. Anastasiya Koberska, Vasyl Stus Donetsk National University;

09.00 – 10.00
Press conference of Forum Special guest Edward Lucas
Venue: Park Room, ground floor
10.00 – 11.30
Panel discussion: Building effective army model in current security conditions
Moderator:Dmytro Ferents, Hromadske Radio (Ukraine)

1. Glen Grant, Former Colonel at British Army (UK)
2. Shota Gvineria, Economic Policy Research Center (Georgia)
3. Mark Voyger, Baltic Defence College, Department of Political and Strategic Studies, Eastern European and Russian Studies (Estonia)
4. Pavlo Rozhko, Col. Ukrainian Armed Forces (Ukraine)
5. Stepan Yakymyak, Ivan Chernyakhovskyi national defence university, chair of naval forces department, captain (Ukraine)

11.30 – 12.00
Coffee break
12.00 – 13.30
What defence means as a current concept – Security as cornerstone of state governance
Moderator: Bruno Lete, Senior Fellow GMF ( Belgium)

1. Vladimir Socor, Senior Fellow of the Jamestown Foundation (USA/Germany)
2. Roland Freundenstein, Deputy Director and Head of Research at Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies (Belgium)
3. Steven Blockmans, Senior Research Fellow and Head of EU Foreign Policy Unit, CEPS (Belgium)
4. Serhiy Datsyuk, political expert (Ukraine)

13.30 – 14.15
Closing Session
Moderator: Oksana Syroid, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament

1. Ben Hodges, Lt Gen Ret US Army (USA)
2. Henning Senger, Deputy Head of Department for European and Transatlantic Dialogue, hanns Seidel Foundation (Germany)
3. Oleksandr Sushko, Executive Director of International Renaissance Foundation (Ukraine)
4. Bruno Lete, Senior Fellow GMF (Belgium)
5. Christian Holm Barenfeld, Board Member of the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation (Sweden)

14.15 – 15.15


Martin Vladimirov

energy security expert, Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) (Bulgaria)

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Martin Vladimirov is an energy security expert specializing in natural gas and renewables markets at the European policy think tank, Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD). His work at CSD focuses on analysis of the energy security and governance risks in Europe, political risk and international security. Before joining CSD, Mr. Vladimirov worked as an oil and gas consultant at the The Oil and Gas Year, where he worked in Turkey, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia. Previously, he worked as an energy and economic analyst for CEE Market Watch, where he was producing intra-daily analyses of economic and energy issues for Iran and Central Asia. Meanwhile, he has been a remote political risk analyst for IHS Global and Argus Media writing assessment briefs for Bulgaria, the Balkans, South Caucasus and Central Asia on energy and political issues. He holds a Master’s degree from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. He has written several academic publications, multiple policy reports and is the co-author of two recent books on Russian influence including the Kremlin Playbook: Understanding Russian Influence in Central and Eastern Europe and the upcoming The Russian Economic Grip on Central and Eastern Europe.


Sergii Datsiuk

philosopher, theorist, thinker, publicist, blogger (Ukraine)

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Sergii Datsiuk is the author of 7 books – theoretical works on fundamental philosophy, theory of ontology, logic, semiology, semantics, structural linguistics, artificial intelligence, communication theory, theory of politics (‘Theory of Virtual Reality” (2008), “Ontologization” (2009), “Horizons of Constructivism” (2010), “Theory of Perspectives” (2011), “The Complex New World” (2012), “Intellectual Politics” (2010), “Moment of Philosophy” (2013). After graduating from the Taras Shevchenko Kyiv State University in 1991, he has worked in consulting and political decisions expertise. Since 2002 works as a Consultant at the Strategic Consulting Corporation «Gardarica». Since 2018 co-founder of Foundation For Future.


Roman Bezsmertnyi

politician and diplomat

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Roman Bezsmertnyi, politician and diplomat, one of the authors of the Constitution of Ukraine, PhD in political sciences
Roman Bezsmertnyi was born November 15, 1965 in Kyiv region. Peoples Deputy of Ukraine of several convocations. In 2005, he was the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine. In 2007-2008, he worked as the deputy head of the Secretariat of the President of Ukraine. From February 2010 till June 2011 he served as the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Ukraine to Belarus. During 2015-16 he was the representative of Ukraine
in the political subgroup of the Tripartite Contact Group on the Peaceful Settlement of the Situation in the East of Ukraine. Non-party.

Wojciech Jakóbik

Energy expert (Poland)

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Since 2013, Wojciech Jakóbik is an analyst at the Jagiellonian Institute think tank based in Warsaw and the co-founder and Editor in Chief of, an information and analysis web-publication in Poland. He received his bachelor degree in Political Science and master degree in International Relations from Jagiellonian University. Jakóbik’s analysis and comments are regularly used on Poland’s most popular media outlets.

Veronika Víchová

Analyst and a Coordinator of the Kremlin Watch Program at the European Values Think-Tank (Czech Republic)

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Veronika Víchová is an Analyst and a Coordinator of the Kremlin Watch Program at the European Values Think-Tank. She co-authored a study on how Kremlin propaganda portrays European leaders which was published by The Atlantic Council and an Overview of countermeasures by the EU28 to the Kremlin´s influence operations. She compiles the Kremlin Watch Briefing, a weekly newsletter on disinformation and influence operations for more than 7.000 European experts, journalists and officials. She participated in the Transatlantic Fellowship Program in Washington DC organized by the World Affairs Journal, which she spent at the office of Senator Rob Portman. She has graduated from the New Security Leaders Program 2017.

Steven Blockmans

Senior Research Fellow, CEPS (Belgium)

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Steven Blockmans is a senior research fellow and the head of the ‘EU foreign policy’ and ‘politics and institutions’ units of CEPS. His expertise lies at the crossroads of international and EU law and governance. Steven is and one of the founding members of the Centre for the Law of EU External Relations (CLEER). Before joining CEPS, he was head of the department of research at the T.M.C. Asser Institute, the Hague. For more than 15 years, he has combined his academic and lecturing work (University of Leuven, Leiden University, University of Amsterdam, European Institute of Public Administration) with contract research carried out for EU and national donors, consultancy activities and training for professionals. Steven holds a PhD in law from Leiden University, MA in Public International Law, Leiden University, Diploma in Political and Social Sciences, Institut d’Études Politiques, Paris.

Amb. Shota Gvineria

Senior Fellow, Economic Policy Research Center (Georgia)

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With 16 years of progressive working experience in the government sector, mainly in foreign relations and security policy areas, Amb. Shota Gvineria held senior management positions in national government agencies and missions abroad, including Deputy Secretary of National Security Council of Georgia (2017 – 2018), Ambassador at Large for NATO & Security Policy at Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2016 – 2017) Foreign Policy Advisor to the Minister of Defense of Georgia (2015 – 2016), Ambassador of Georgia to the Kingdom of the Netherlands (2010 – 2014) and other. Participated in design and implementation processed of Georgia’s reform agenda and possesses expert knowledge of integration processes with European and Euro-Atlantic structures. He is a graduate of National Defense University, Washington DC, Diplomatic School of Madrid, Spain 2004 – 2005 (Master’s in strategic security studies, International security affairs and combating terrorism) and Georgian Technical University, Tbilisi.

Rosian Vasiloi

Security Analyst, Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (Moldova)

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Rosian Vasiloi, the 45-year-old retired colonel from Moldova’s Border Police (former Deputy Head of the Border Police Department) who worked also for the OSCE mission in Bishkek and The Nonproliferation & Security Sector Strategic Business Unit of URS Federal Services International Inc. (URSFSII). He is now a security and military analyst associate to the Chisinau-based Institute for Development and Social Initiatives – IDIS Viitorul. Research areas: Security Policies, Border management and Migration policies, Crisis management, Risk Management and Analysis, Strategic Communications and Conflict resolutions. He is the author of the publications on Russia’s impact on the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, information warfare and settlement of the Transnistrian conflict.

Roland Freudenstein

Policy Director, Wilfried Martens Center for European Studies (Belgium)

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Roland Freudenstein was born in Bonn, Germany. After a two year voluntary military service, he studied political science, economics, Japan studies and international relations in Bonn and Los Angeles. Having worked as a research fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations, he became a member of the foreign and security planning staff of the European Commission in Brussels in the 1990s. Subsequently, he became the director of the Warsaw office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and later held a leading function in the Foundation’s central office in Berlin. After coming back to Brussels in 2004, he represented the German city state of Hamburg to the EU. Roland Freudenstein has been, since 2008, Head of Research and Deputy Director of the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies and, since October 2015, its Policy Director.

Ambassador Reka Szemerkenyi

Vice President of CEPA (USA)

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Ambassador Réka Szemerkényi is executive Vice President of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). From 2015 to 2017, Szemerkényi was Hungary’s first woman ambassador to the United States. She was chief advisor in foreign and security policy to the prime minister of Hungary (2011-15), state secretary for foreign and security policy in the prime minister’s office (1998-2002) and senior advisor to the state secretary in the Ministry of Defense (1991-94), at the time of Hungary’s efforts to join NATO and the Kosovo war. Szemerkényi was a university lecturer, foreign affairs op-ed writer, director of foreign policy programs of the 21st Century Research Institute in Budapest (2002-06). Szemerkényi earned a PhD summa cum laude in economic history (Pázmány Péter Catholic University (2006), a master’s degree in strategic studies (Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C. (1993-95), a master’s in international relations from the Institut Européen des Hautes Études Internationales in Nice, France (1990-91), and from ELTE University Budapest (1985-1990). Szemerkényi is an elected member of the European Council on Foreign Relations since 2016 and serves as vice president of the Hungarian Atlantic Council.

Prof. Dovile Jakniunaite

Vilnius University (Lithuania)

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Dr. Dovile Jakniunaite is professor at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science of Vilnius University and head of the Institute’s Department of International Relations. She specialises in foreign policy analysis, security studies, border studies, territorial conflicts and separatism, EU Eastern Partnership policy. She is the author of the books on Georgia’s territorial conflicts (2017) and Russia’s neighbourhood policy (2007), editor of monograph on Lithuanian foreign policy (2016). She is currently working on the role of borders in secessionist movements, future of the EU foreign policy and contributing to the Horizon 2020 project on the EU and Eastern Partnership countries.

Oleksandr Sushko

Executive Director Renaissance Foundation (Ukraine)

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Olexandr Sushko is the Executive Director of the Renaissance Foundation since January 2018. He has a PhD in politology in the sphere of international relations from the Institute of world economics and international relations of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. He worked as a monitoring coordinator and director of the Centre of peace, conversion and foreign policy of Ukraine, as a senior fellow of the Institute of world economics and international relations. He became Head of the Board of the Renaissance Foundation since 2011. In 2012 he was appointed as National coordinator of the Ukrainian national platform of the Civil Society Forum “Eastern Partnership” In 2014 he was elected co-head of the civil society platform “Ukraine-EU”, which is a civil society organization envisaged by art. 469-470 of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU.

Dr. Nerijus Maliukevičius

Expert, university lecturer (Lithuania)

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Dr. Nerijus Maliukevičius is the leading Lithuanian expert in information warfare, strategic communication and conflict management as well as Russian studies. He is the author of two books about Russian information warfare strategies. He works as scientific researcher and lecturer in the Institute of International Relations and Political Science (Vilnius University). He lectures in General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania. His PhD thesis focused on the potential and spread of Russian informational geopolitics in Lithuania.

Natalia Ishchenko

Deputy Director of the Institute of World Policy

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Natalia Ischenko started to work in political journalism in 1994 and was a correspondent for leading Ukrainian mass media. From the late 1990’s until mid-2010 he worked in the field of political and media consulting. Since 2014, she is an active volunteer in the field of information. In 2014, she was one of the curators of the photo exhibition Donbass: “War and Peace”, which was exhibited in the European Parliament in Brussels and in other European capitals. In 2016, she was one of the organizers of the international program to study Croatia’s experience of peaceful reintegration of the occupied territories. She is a permanent contributor of the Day newspaper, writes for Uryadovy Kuryer and the Internet web-site Evropeiska Pravda. She also makes research for think tanks. Field of study – conflicts in the post-Soviet space and in the former Yugoslavia; media and communications. In 2017, she became the winner of the James Mace Award for a civic position in journalism.

Lyubomyr Ferens

Journalist, Hromadske Radio (Ukraine)

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Lyubomyr Ferens works as a journalist, editor and presenter of the programs “Hromadska hvylia” and “Rankova hvylia”at Hromadkse radio. He worked as a journalist at the TV channels TVi and Crimean-Tatar channel ATR and also for the Slidstvo.Info program.

Lt Col British Army (Retired) Glen Grant

Military expert (UK)

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Glen Grant is a defence expert working for the Ukrainian Institute For the Future and the UK Institute For Statecraft. He is a former British Artillery Officer. Glen Grant gained his military experience from a wide range of activities including exchange with the Swedish Army, commanding the military prison, working in four different Brigade Headquarters’ and policy and operational work in UK, Germany and NATO. He was defence attache in three countries. Glen has a masters degree in Change Management. Since leaving the forces he has been working in business and the public sector as a transformation consultant. He has also worked in over 10 countries providing defence reform. Glen is a former international athlete holding a national Wales record at 1500m and now coaches endurance sports.

Edward Lucas

Vice-president at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) (USA)

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Edward Lucas is a writer and consultant specialising in European and transatlantic security. His expertise also includes energy, cyber-security, espionage, information warfare and Russian foreign and security policy. Formerly a senior editor at The Economist, the world’s foremost newsweekly, he now writes a weekly column in the London Times. In 2008 he wrote The New Cold War, a prescient account of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, followed in 2011 by Deception, an investigative account of east-west espionage. His latest book is Cyberphobia. An experienced broadcaster, public speaker, moderator and panelist, Edward Lucas has given public lectures at Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge and other leading universities. He is a regular contributor to the BBC’s Today and Newsnight programmes, and to NPR, CNN and Sky News. For many years a foreign correspondent, he was based in Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Moscow and the Baltic states.

Dr. Anke Schmidt-Felzmann

FPRI Baltic Sea Fellow and Think Visegrad Fellow at OSW (Poland)

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Dr. Anke Schmidt-Felzmann @anke_sf is a Swedish-German researcher, focusing on European security and EU/NATO relations with Russia. She is currently a (non-resident) FPRI Baltic Sea Fellow @FPRI @balticbulletin and a visiting #Think Visegrad Fellow, based at the Centre for Eastern Studies @OSW_eng in Warsaw. She holds a PhD from the University of Glasgow (UK). As a post-doctoral researcher at Stockholm University and at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) she has investigated the EU’s trade disputes and energy market conflicts with Russia. She has lectured on security policy and the EU at the Military Academy of Lithuania, the Polish Land Forces University in Wroclaw, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Dalarna University in Falun and Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Her publications investigate the EU-Russia relationship, energy supply security (incl. NS2), the Eastern Partnership and Baltic Sea security with a particular focus on the security challenges from Russia.

Bruno Lété

Security and Defense Senior Fellow, GMF (Belgium)

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Bruno Lété currently serves as a senior fellow of security and defense at The German Marshall Fund of the United States in Brussels. He focuses primarily on the EU Common Security & Defense Policy, NATO, and developments in Central and Eastern Europe. In 2010, Lété joined the European Union Delegation to the United States in Washington, DC, where he supported the political, security, and development section and focused on U.S. foreign policy and EU–U.S. relations. He started his career in 2007 as a program associate for the German Marshall Fund, where he helped developed GMF’s signature policy conferences such as Brussels Forum. Lété studied at the University of Ghent in Belgium and at Collegium Civitas in Warsaw, Poland. He holds a bachelor’s in communication management and a master’s in international relations. He appears regularly in the media and is the author of frequent opinion pieces and policy briefs. In 2008 he was made a John C. Whitehead Fellow by the Foreign Policy Association in New York City.

Barbora Maronkova

Director at NATO Information and Documentation Centre (Ukraine)

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Barbora Moronkova is the Director of NATO Information and Documentation Centre in Kyiv, Ukraine since March 2017. Previously she worked for NATO’s Press and Media office, program manager for the Western Balkans where she designed, planned and implemented public diplomacy campaigns about joining the NATO and program coordinator to raise awareness and promote NATO in a number of NATO member states in the NATO Public Diplomacy Division in Brussels, Belgium. In 2003, she established and headed the Slovak-based NGO Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs to contribute to public and academic debate on Slovakia’s membership to the EU and NATO. She holds a degree from the University of Economics of Bratislava, Slovak Republic and a Public Affairs diploma from the Chartered Institute for Public Relations in the UK. She currently serves as a non-resident Research Fellow with the USC Center on Public Diplomacy.

Giorgi Kandelaki

Member of Parliament (Georgia)

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Giorgi Kandelaki is currently serving his third term as the member of the Georgian Parliament (2008-2012, 2012-2016, 2016-currently). He previously worked as a journalist and editor of the Web-site of Open Society Foundation Election Supportive Program and English Newspaper “24 Hours” (2003-2005). He also worked as the researcher of peace at the Democracy and Development Institute and as civil servant in the Administration of the President (2005-2008). He was also a co-founder of youth movement Kmara believed to have played an instrumental role in the Rose Revolution in 2003. He obtained a degree in Political Science from the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University.

Serhiy Harmash

Editor in Chief of the Internet newspaper Ostrov (Ukraine)

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Serhiy Harmash is the editor in chief of the Internet newspaper Ostrov. He holds a degree from the Institue of Journalism of the Kyiv National Shevchenko University. He worked as a journalist of various nespapers and radio channels, including the Radio Liberty (Radio Svoboda) and Interfax Ukraine in the Donetsk region.

Maria Zavyalova

Editor in Chief of the news service, Chanel 4 (Ukraine)

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Mariya Zavyalova is the editor in chief of the news service of the Ukrainian Chanle 4. Previously she worked as a reporter for Voice of America and other mass media, fixer for Aljazeera Arabic during the Maidan, producer and owner of the video production studio, journalist and news anchor at Hromadske radio. She has extensive experience of highlighting the events in the Eastern Ukraine. Sha graduated from the Kyiv international institute with a degree in philology.

Mark Voyger

Senior Lecturer in Russian and Eastern European Studies at the Baltic Defence College in Tartu (Estonia)

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Mr. Mark Voyger is currently the Senior Lecturer in Russian and Eastern European Studies at the Baltic Defence College in Tartu, Estonia. In 2013 – 2018 he served as the Special Advisor for Russian and Eurasian Affairs to the Commanding General of US Army Europe in Wiesbaden, Germany, and as the Cultural Advisor and Senior Russia Expert at NATO’s Allied Land Command in Izmir, Turkey. Between 2009 and 2013 he was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as a U.S. Army Social Scientist. He worked for Mitt Romney’s Presidential Campaigns in 2007 and in 2012 as a member of the Russia Advisory Group. Mr. Voyger holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and has done Ph.D. research in Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge University. He is fluent in Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Arabic, Turkish, French, Spanish and Italian.

Mykhaylo Basarab

Political analyst, analytical group Korner Solutions (Ukraine)

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Born in Drohobych, Lviv region. Graduated from Taras Shevchenko national university, major in politology. Received PhD at Institute of political and ethnical national studies of the National Academy of Sciences. Since 2000 he works in political consulting, especially on communication strategies. Author of numerous publications. Regularly comments political processes and international relations in media. He takes active part in public discussion of the draft laws related to occupied territories. He is one of the initiators of the public campaign “No to amendments to Constitution under conditions of war” He was also one of the founders of the civic movement “Shut Kremlin’s mouth” which counteracts hidden Russian media in Ukraine.

Victor Rud

The Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of Ukrainian American Bar Association (USA)

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Victor Rud is an international lawyer with 35 years experience. Before the fall of the Soviet Union he represented, in the West, political prisoners persecuted by the KGB. He also served as Special Counsel to a member of the US Delegation to the Madrid Review Conference on Security & Cooperation in Europe. After the fall of USSR, Mr. Rud advised members of the new Ukrainian Parliament, and has written and addressed various audiences on issues of US/Ukrainian/Russian relations. He is past Chairman of the Ukrainian American Bar Association, and currently chairs its Committee on Foreign Affairs. Mr. Rud received his undergraduate degree in international relations from Harvard College, and his Juris Doctor degree from Duke University School of Law.

Vladimir Socor

Senior Fellow of Jamestown Foundation (Germany)

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Vladimir Socor is a Senior Fellow of the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation and its flagship publication, Eurasia Daily Monitor (1995 to date), where he writes analytical articles on a daily basis. An internationally recognized expert on the former Soviet-ruled countries in Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia, he covers Russian and Western policies there, focusing on energy policies, regional security issues, secessionist conflicts, and NATO policies and programs. He is a regular guest lecturer at the NATO Defense College and at Harvard University’s National Security Program’s Black Sea Program (JFKennedy School of Government). Vladimir Socor was previously an analyst with the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research Institute (1983-1994). He was born in Romania, currently residing in Munich.

Denys Kazanskyi

Journalist, blogger (Ukraine)

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Born in 1984. In 2006 he graduated from the Tugan Baranovskyi Donetsk National University of economy and trade. Became famous as blogger under the nickname Frankensstein. He also worked in Donetskaya Pravda magazine, which published his journalistic investigations and analytics.

Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges

Commander of NATO Allied Land Command (USA)

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Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges graduated from the United States Military Academy in May 1980 and was commissioned in the Infantry. After his first assignment as an Infantry Lieutenant in Germany, he commanded Infantry units at the Company, Battalion and Brigade levels at the 101st Airborne Division and in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. His most recent operational assignment was as Director of Operations, Regional Command South, in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Lt. Gen. Hodges has also served in a variety of Joint and Army Staff positions to include Tactics Instructor at the Infantry School; Chief of Plans, 2nd Infantry Division in Korea; Aide-de-Camp to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe; Army Congressional Liaison Officer; Task Force Senior Observer-Controller at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, LA; Chief of Staff, XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg; and Director of the Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell on the Joint Staff; Chief of Legislative Liaison for the United States Army. He has been the Commander of NATO Allied Land Command from 2012 to 2014.

Mr. Glen Howard

President of Jamestown Foundation (USA)

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Mr. Howard is fluent in Russian and proficient in Azerbaijani and Arabic, and is a regional expert on the Caucasus and Central Asia. He was formerly an Analyst at the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) Strategic Assessment Center. His articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, and Jane’s Defense Weekly. Mr. Howard has served as a consultant to private sector and governmental agencies, including the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Intelligence Council and major oil companies operating in Central Asia and the Middle East.

Oksana Syroyid

Vice Speaker of the Parliament of Ukraine (Ukraine)

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As an MP worked on draft laws on judicial reform, reform of police and prosecution, local self-government reform, as well as actively participated in the work of the Constitutional Commission established in March 2015. She dedicates much of her time to defence and security issues, having contributed a draft law “On the Territory of Ukraine temporary Occupied by Russian Federation”. Oksana Syroid has previously has worked as Director of All-Ukrainian Charitable Foundation “Ukrainian Legal Foundation”. In 2004-2012 she was the National Project Manager and the Head of Rule of Law Unit at OSCE office in Ukraine. In 2001-2002 she worked in Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. She is a lecturer at the National School of Judges of Ukraine, co-author of handbooks in the area of administrative justice, as well as associate professor of the Law Faculty at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and a co-founder of Kyiv-Mohyla School of Public Administration. Oksana Syroid holds Master degree in Laws at University of Ottawa, Ottawa and Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University and Bachelor degree in Political sciences at National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.

Mykhaylo Honchar

President of the Center for Global Studies “Strategy ХХІ" (Ukraine)

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Mykhaylo Honchar has over 31 year of professional experience which includes service in the air forces, civil service in the National Defence and Security Council of Ukraine, scientific work at the National institute of strategic studies and National institute of the problems of international security at the National Defence and Security Council of Ukraine. In 2000s he held several positions in oil and gas industry. He holds the honorary award from the “Naftohas Ukrayiny” for his work. Mr Honchar was also the expert of the ukrainian part of the intergovernmental commissions on economic cooperation with Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey. He is the author, co-author and editor of the numerous publications on energy sector issues and international relations. Since 2016 he is the member of the National Commission on industry. Since 2017 he is the acting editor of the “Black Sea Security” magazine. He is the associated fellow of the Razumkov Center and the Center of Russian Studies.



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16 October

Will Nord Stream pipeline force Ukraine to forget about the Russian gas

The construction of the Nord Stream 2 project for the transportation of Russian gas to…

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The construction of the Nord Stream 2 project for the transportation of Russian gas to Europe bypassing Ukraine is a fact.

Although ideologists and opponents of this large-scale project have heated discussions, ships are building pipelines on the Baltic Sea shore near the German city Lubmin. At the bottom of the sea,  pipelines for transporting gas from the Jamal peninsula in Russia are being constructed. According to the developers of the project, all construction works should end in 2019. We are talking about 1200 kilometers of pipeline with planned ability to transfer 55 billion cubic meters per year.

The perspectives of Ukraine after the launch of the Nord Stream 2 will be one of the main topics of the Lviv Security Forum which will take place in Lviv on October, 24-26.

Information about the beginning of the construction of another gas pipeline from Russia to Germany through Baltic is, of course, important first of all for Ukraine. The Nord Stream 2 will be built practically as a parallel to the Nord Stream pipeline, which is already used to supply Europe with Russian gas from 2011. The planned transporting ability of Nord Stream 1 is also 55 billion cubic meters per year.

The danger of “zero transit” and terroristic attacks


When both pipelines will be fully operational, the future of the Ukrainian gas transporting system currently used to transfer most of the Russian gas to Europe will become very unclear. At the moment, Kyiv receives USD 3 billion per year for the transportation of the gas. And this sum amounts to 8% of the revenue of the state budget for this year. And this is not the only problem. The question is, what will happen next to the Ukrainian gas transporting system, which is able to transfer 146 billion cubic meters from the Eastern to the Western border yearly.

Our highest officials are openly talking about the “dangerous ambiguity of the perspectives”of the Ukrainian gas transporting system. Thus, the business development director  of the NAK Naftogaz Yuriy Vitrenko admits: “Ukraine practically does not have a chance to stop the execution of the Nord Stream 2… When Nord Stream 2 and the Turkish Stream (this is one more Moscow project on transporting gas to the Southern Europe –ed.) are completed a big probability exists that the transit of gas through Ukraine will amount to zero at once”.

And the Minister of the Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin is convinced that Russia would definitely stop supplying gas to Europe through the territory of our state after the Nord Stream is launched. He believes that the termination of the Russian gas transit may happen “starting from some manipulations, such as “gas wars”, and ending with some terroristic attacks”.

“Divide and conquer” according to Russian scenario


“The aim of the Russia project Nord Stream 2 is the disintegration of the European Union. It is a sort of occupation of Europe from within by the Kremlin. Currently, most Europeans do not see it, though the Russian government is not hiding its goal. Putin said it openly: if you want to deal with Russian gas, you will have to deal with Russia as a state”, –Oksana Syroid, the Deputy Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is convinced.

Indeed, the Putin’s Kremlin if not openly proclaimed then did not try to conceal that the energy policy of Moscow is and will be at the center of the Russian diplomacy. This point is clearly stated in the energy strategy of Kremlin, authorized by Putin back in 2003. Since then, Russia confidently step-by-step executes its tasks. And it looks like it is has not met any resistance in its economic-gas expansion.

The Ukrainians could (and should) appeal to the European countries, saying “please, wake up, do not fall into a gas trap build by the pathologically deceitful Moscow.” The Europeans seem to hear us, however, they are probably more interested in the perspective gains from the gas deal with the Russians than in the arguments of Kyiv. Another issue is that the Ukrainian government is not able to do anything besides words (statements, appeals etc.) Or doesn’t want to?

“The situation, which will be created for Ukraine during the launch of the Nord Stream 2 is the los of our government. Itistheillegal inaction of the current government and the President, since neither the head of the state nor the government did not actually counteract the execution of this Russian gas transporting project. This is a capitulation before Russia. During 4 years the current Ukrainian government did absolutely nothing to resist Kremlin in this matter”, –Oksana Syroid stated.

According to the development plans, all construction works on the Nord Stream 2 should end in 2019

The Deputy Speaker supports her strong statement with the following: “The representatives of the Central European states –first of all Poland and Slovakia –expected Ukrainian propositions regarding the management of our gas transporting system. Our neighbors understand that the Ukrainian gas transporting system is the key to the balance in supplying Russian gas to Europe. During the years after the Revolution of Dignity Ukraine did neither propose nor develop anything at all to use our gas transporting system more efficiently both for Ukraine and with benefit to Europe.Still, our people are being told about creation of some “working groups on studying the issue”. This is mere words aimed to distract the attention of Ukrainians from their inactivity”, –Oksana Syroid says.


Petro Poroshenko stated that “Ukraine is having negotiations with the European Union countries on creating a group, which should stop the construction of the Russia gas pipeline Nord Stream 2. Ptero Oleksiyovych called the new pipeline project “completely political, which has no economic substance, which tries to take away from Ukraine a budget amounting to USD 3 billion.

And in early June the guarantor of the Ukrainian Constitution expressed much more optimism regarding the construction of the pipeline from Russia. “I believe that the Nord Stream 2 will not have a significant effect on the Ukrainian economy. Because there will be no Nord Stream 2. I am sure that we will be able to stop it with joint efforts”, –Poroshenko convinced during the meeting with the students of the Kyiv Taras Shevchenko University.

How Europeans have a quarrel with Europeans, and with Americans, too


Obviously, when speaking about “joint efforts”the President had in mind some strong consolidated position of the European countries that are not fond of the Nord Stream 2. It’s important to note that our government officials talk about an attempt to organize a joint position with the Europeans (albeit talk loudly) only now. It’s as if all the “gas”plans of Moscow became public only now, like the Nord Stream 1 has not been functioning for 7 years. Like it is a secret that Moscow will pay any price to prevent the Ukraine’s economy from growth.

However, is it realistic to count on an efficient resistance to Kremlin when the issue of new pipeline evidenced the distinct contradictions between the EU member states?

Germany was the first among the European countries to say ‘yes’ to the Nord Stream 2 construction paperwork. The German’s Chancellor Angela Merkel tries to keep a neutral stand. More precisely, she is supporting the Nord Stream 2 project but she is against the termination of the Russian gas transit through Ukraine. Finland and Sweden are believed to be in favor of the project. Finland agreed to the building of the pipeline in April and Sweden –in the beginning of June, these countries’companies are the shareholders of the Nord Stream 2.

Denmark is one of the most influential opponents of the project. This country still haven’t provided an official permission  for the pipeline construction. The Danish Prime Minister made a clear statement: we will allow it only in case Russia will guarantee the continuance of the transit through Ukraine. But how long will small Denmark be able to resist the pressure of Moscow and its supporters from Europe?

Poland and the Baltic countries sharply oppose the Nord Stream 2. The Polish, similar to Ukraine, may lose money from the transit of the Russian gas to Germany, and Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia fear not without ground that if Russia receives direct pipeline connection to Europe, it will stop taking them into account at all.

The USA are strongly against the construction of the Nord Stream 2. The White House is threatening the participants of this projects with sanctions, first of all against the shareholders from Germany. Therefore, there are all reasons to conclude that the Nord Stream 2 creates problems not only for Ukraine but also increases the tensions between the European countries and the USA. It is not difficult to assume that Kremlin is happy about it.

“Russia will build the pipeline regardless of the final agreement of all countries. For Russia this project is not economic, it’s geopolitical. And that is why Moscow will do everything suddenly and by force, in the usual Kremlin’s way. And, unfortunately, there is no diplomatic ways to stop this process, –Oksana Syroid, the Deputy Speaer of the Verkovna Rada of Ukraine believes. –Ontheotherhand, thecounteragentsoftheNordStream2 projectsareneithertheEuropeanUnionnortheEuropeanstatesbutprivateenterprises. So, on one side we have a global geopolitical interest of Russia and on the other side–a private corporate interest of the companies that think about profits in the first place. Russia provided each of these companies with a possibility to be economically successful. Moscow allowed some of them to participate in the Nord Stream 2 and gave the others the right to develop gas fields in its territory. Thus, there is no global sovereign power to stop the execution of the Nord Stream project.

Nord Stream 2 is 1200 kilometers of the pipeline with project capacity of55 billion cubic meters per year

Despite the sad perspectives of gas transit to Europe, Ukraine should not give up. Wewillnottry to propose concrete solutions to our officials. However, we would like to allow ourselves to make an observation that mere appeals and hopes for European partners are, apparently, not enough. Ukrainian government has to finally make actual more efficient steps, which would prove that it is more profitable for Europe to use our gas transporting system. It is necessary to finally make other countries interested in joint management of our gas transporting system together with Kyiv and increasing the extraction of Ukrainian gas.

Official statistic also allows no to become completely pessimistic, as it shows that even two Nord Streams combined will be not enough to satisfy European demand with Russian gas. Both new pipeline from Yamal can transport not more that 110 billion cubic meters per year. And, for instance, in 2017, the European Union countries used 194,4 billion cubic meters of Russian gas. Therefore, Russia would have to supply a significant part of this strategic resource to the West in some other way (apart from the ‘Northern way’). Why not through the Ukrainian gas transporting system?

But probably, in order for it to happen, our diplomats and government officials would have work wisely. Currently everything is working out almost without any obstacles for Russia. However, the aggressiveness of Russians may influence the countries that currently support the Nord Stream. And Kyiv should not miss such opportunities. But it is necessary to actually do “something”and not just produce statements about “hopes for support”.

Because in fact, USD 3 billion equals the current yearly defense expenditures of Ukraine used to counteract Russia. And the issues is not only about the money (albeit significant for such a country like ours). In 2019, the 10-year agreement on the transit of Russian gas to the European Union through the territory of Ukraine is expiring. Our gas transporting system has the biggest capacity in Europe and the biggest number of gas storage facilities. If our gas transporting system will not be filled with gas, the prognosis of Kremlin’s servant Nikolay Azarov (former Prime Minister of Ukraine during Yankovych’s presidency) when he suggested to “cut the Ukrainian gas transporting system to scrap metal”might come true. We do not want to believe that our highest public officials that came to power after the Revolution of Dignity would participate in making this prophecy made by an anti-Ukrainian figure, who fled to Russia, true.


8 October

Will America help save Ukrainian gas transportation system?

Despite the active construction of Nord Stream 2 pipeline enabling Russia to transport gas to…

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Despite the active construction of Nord Stream 2 pipeline enabling Russia to transport gas to Europe bypassing Ukraine, the fate of this pipeline cannot be seen as decided. The USA may become a pain in the neck for the Russians. For Ukraine it would come in … very handy.

How the Nord Stream 2 changes the map of the world is one of the main topics of the Lviv Security Forum 2018, which will take place on October 24-26 in Lviv. And we continue our series of materials on this issue. 

How much can Ukraine suffer?

The project is pushed really hard by Moscow who does not even plan to hide that this projects is first of all a geopolitical one. The economic gains are being calculated by the European partners of the Russian Gazprom that were promised huge profits from the Nord Stream 2.

We are talking about 1200 kilometers of a pipeline, with the ability to transfer 55 billion cubic meters per year. This pipeline is a next step of the Nord Stream 1 project, launched in 2011.

According to the plan, the construction of the Nord Stream 2 should have ended by late 2019. With both Nord Stream projects combined, Russia would be able to transport 110 billion cubic meters of gas yearly through the Baltic Sea to the Western Europe.

In this situation Ukraine may suffer the most – both politically and economically. It is being openly stated that in 3 years Russia may not need the Ukrainian gas transportation system for transferring gas to European clients. Currently, Russians have to use it to transfer most of the natural gas to Europe.

The situation looked almost completely lost for Ukraine. Kyiv would lose billions of dollars from the gas transportation system and with an empty pipeline it could become very vulnerable to Moscow’s tricks.

However, the US have added some optimism when they reminded the world about their importance in most big issues in the world.

USA are threatening with a sword. Sword of Damocles

During the next few weeks, USA may announcesanctions against the European companies, which participate in the Nord Stream 2. The Wall Street Journal reported on it, citing their insider sources among the people surrounding current and former high US officials. It becomes apparent from the article that the question is not WHETHER sanctions will be introduces but WHICH EXACTLY economic instruments will be used.

The White House explains that the new pipeline aimed to transport Russian gas bypassing Ukraine will only further deepen the already significant dependence of Europe from the Russian gas and will increase Kremlin’s political influence on EU countries. The Wall Street Journal informed that it is still being decided in Washington whether to adopt sanctions only for pipeline companies or also include other companies, in particular the banks that are financing the Nord Stream 2.

The potential US sanctions against the participants of the Nord Stream 2 are already being named “the sword of Damocles”. The thing is, that back in August 2017 the CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) went into force.

According to this document, American sanctions may be applied to all companies having business with the opponents of the US, Russia included. And a separate 232nd  section of this act concerns the pipelines. Since then «the sword» of American still not concretized sanctions hangs over the European companies involved in Nord Stream 2 project.

The Secretary of State Assistant on energy and resources Francis Fannon explained the essence of the future sanctions package: «Our position is to preserve the transit of Russian gas through the territory of Ukraine. In such case Ukraine will remain an important transit partner for the European countries”.

In Germany the announced sanctions have already caused fear

The European companies that may suffer from the American sanctions are known. These are the British-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell PLC, the Austrian OMV AG, the French Engie SA, as well as the German Uniper SE and Wintershall AG (the last is also called a subsidiary of BASF). Together with the Russian Gazprom they are the co-investors of the Nord Stream 2, and are obliged to finance its construction in the amount of 4,75 billion Euro total. In 2017, these companies already invested 1,6 billion Euro.

The remaining amount of the construction costs – another 4,75 billion Euro – shall be provided by the Russian Gazprom. The construction of the Nord Stream 2 is planned to be finished until the end of 2019. This project already received approximately 4 billion Euro of financing.

The first to react to the news on sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 participants (and their harshness) was Germany. The German partner of Gazprom – Uniper AG holding – may refuse to participate in Nord Stream 2 in case the White House will follow through with the sanctions against the participants of the new pipeline from Russia to Europe. Christopher Delbrueck Deputy CEO of Uniper AG on finances made a following statement:

We as a company cannot risk being under the American sanctions. In such case we would be excluded from the international payment system and we would not be able to trade in US dollars. We cannot allow something like this in principle
– cited after the German Dow Jones News.

The slightly nervous reaction of the official Berlin is also noticeable. During his speech before the heads of German diplomatic missions abroad, the  German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas stated: “We will not participate in the discussion about preventing the construction of the Nord Stream 2. Instead, we support the European Commission, which is currently trying to reach and agreement between Russia and Ukraine about the long-term prolongation of the natural gas transit through the territory of Ukraine”. Mr Maas told that “the exterritorial sanctions of the USA against Russia and its new gas pipeline project are threatening the trade with the EU”.

According to his words, Germany and Europe depend on cheap prices for energy carriers in order to stay competitive at the international level. So, “if the USA want to sell more liquefied gas to Europe it would only be welcomed as a long-awaited contribution to the energy supplies and diversification, however the decision about the purchases shall be based on price and not be influenced by sanctions”.

In other words, the head of the foreign affairs of Germany accused Washington in an attempt to prevent the functioning of the pipeline, through which Germany could receive Russian gas that would be cheaper than the American gas transported through an ocean.

Profits or losses in the relations with the USA. What will convince the Europeans?

Indeed, the gas from Gazprom is significantly cheaper then the American liquefied gas transported with ships through the Atlantic. In 2017, the price of Russian natural gas in the EU did not exceed USD 170 for a thousand cubic meters. Whereas the American liquified gas was worth USD 245 for a thousand cubic meters according to the estimations of James Henderson, the analyst of the Oxford institute of energy studies.

For example, Germany buys 50 billion cubic meters of Russian gas yearly and last year it paid USD 8,35  billion for such amounts. And in case of American gas of the same amounts the total price would be USD 12,25 billion.

So, the arguments of the Minister of the Foreign Affairs of Germany Heiko Maas were perfectly supporting the “Moscow’s propaganda song” about the “exceptional economic profitability” (both for Russia and Europe) from the usage of the Nord Stream pipelines. In Russia, the not yet approved sanctions are called “American blackmail” in order to prevent the increase in the amount of Russian gas sold to Europe.

Therefore the Europeans are facing a difficult choice. On one hand, the Russian gas is indeed less expensive than the American gas. On the other hand the trade turnover between Europe and the USA amount to approximately USD 800 billion per year. And the total sum of the trade with Russia is barely over 280 billion. Obviously, the EU has more partners across the ocean than in Russia, thus it is not profitable for the Europeans to go against Washington.

And for Russia the refusal from the full potential functioning of the Nord Stream 2 would be an incredibly unpleasant scenario. For Kremlin the execution of this project is a principled matter. Only if the 2ndNord Stream is completed Gazprom would be able to get rid of the transit through the territory of Ukraine and would have even more possibilities to influence Kyiv. Also the profits from exporting gas to Europe has a big importance not only for Gazprom, but for all Russia as the Russian budget heavily depends on the export of raw materials.

To wait but not remain inactive

 One more thing. Let’s not discard the option that Washington is simply delaying time. The construction of the Nord Stream 2 should have ended by the beginning of the 2020. That is when the Ukrainian-Russian agreement for gas transit is expiring. If Gazprom will not be able to build a new pipeline through the Baltic in time, it would be forced to sign a new agreement with Kyiv in order to keep the export amounts to Europe stable. Otherwise, the EU will have grounds to impose significant fines on Moscow for the lack of gas supplies.

The Russians cheerfully assure that they are ready for the possible introduction of American sanctions against the European participants of the Nord Stream 2 project. Kremlin boasts about how they would be able to finish the new pipeline to Europe just with Russian money. They are talking about budget money, which Gazprom would ask for to finish the pipeline. And the Russian government would definitely agree to it. Since the geopolitical meaning of the Nord Stream 2 is far more important to Putin’s Russia than any economic reasoning.

In any case, it is obvious that Ukraine still has chances to remain a player at the European gas transporting market. It is understood that the public statements of the officials and representatives of the companies involved in Nord Stream 2 do not give the full picture. Of course, various off-the-record negotiations and even bargains aimed at receiving the biggest political and economic gains are still taking place. And the official Kyiv should not stay behind. We should not hope that someone else will protect our interests in this situation (the perspectives to actively use the most powerful gas transporting system in Europe), since we (Ukraine) may again end as an “exchange coin” in somebody elses big geopolitical game and be left with nothing, id est, with the gas transporting system that nobody wants, but which is very important for Russia now.

8 October

Oksana Syroid: Launching Nord Stream 2 is equivalent to stripping Ukraine of its nuclear arsenal

Nord Stream 2 construction is planned to be finished until the end of 2019. Major…

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Nord Stream 2 construction is planned to be finished until the end of 2019. Major construction works are already taking place in Germany and Finland, as Russia plans to use the pipeline for supplying Europe with gas, bypassing Ukraine. This pipeline is a development of the Nord Stream 1 project, which was put into operation in 2011. By using these two pipelines Russia will be able to transport 110 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Ukraine may be left out.

The economic and geopolitical aspects of the Nord Stream 2 will be the key topics of discussion during the Lviv Security Forum 2018 on October 24-26. The main theme of the Forum is “The Economy of War and the War of Economics”.

Nord Stream 2 is a gas pipeline project going from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea and extending over 1200 km.

We have talked with Oksana Syroid, Vice-speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the co-chair of Lviv Security Forum 2018 about the economic and political losses that Ukraine may suffer as well as about the possible security outcomes for our country.

– Two European countries are already building Nord Stream 2. Will Russia proceed with the works regardless of whether there will be a final agreement of all countries with access to the Baltic Sea?

For Russia, this project is not about economy, but about geopolitics. And that is why Moscow will do everything insolently as always. And, unfortunately, there are no diplomatic means to stop this process.

The aim of the Russian Nord Stream projects is to disintegrate the European Union. This is an occupation of Europe by Kremlin from within through the economic instruments. At the moment most Europeans do not acknowledge this despite Russian government being pretty clear about its goal. Putin has said is directly: if you want to have Russian gas, you will have to deal with Russia as a state.

On one hand, there is “Gasprom” – or, actually, the Russian state. On the other hand, the counteragents of the Nord Stream 2 projects are neither the European Union nor the European states, but private enterprises. So, on one side we have a global geopolitical interest of Russia and on the other side – a private corporate interest of the companies that think first and foremost about profits. Russia provided each of these companies with a possibility to be economically successful. Moscow allowed some of them to participate in the Nord Stream 2 and gave the others the right to develop gas fields on its territory. Thus, there is no global sovereign power to stop the execution of the Nord Stream project.

Possibly the only way to stop Russia is the joint decision of the European Union regarding the Nord Stream 2 and the relation with Russia in general. Many people in the European Parliament understand the danger of the Nord Stream. However, a decision should be rendered by the European Council. And this is a collective body consisting of the representatives of states, who represent the interests of the citizens of these countries. It is also being said that the construction of Nord Stream 2 could be avoided by the decision of the executive body of the European Union – the European Commission. Though in fact, everyone understands that there will be no such decision or it will not be able to stop the construction of a pipeline from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea. Having hopes for such decision of the European Commission means having postponed and unsupported expectations. Objectively, unfortunately, it is very difficult to change something about the current situation.

– Is there really no way to counteract the economic expansion of Russia in Europe?

It is not always possible to get quick results here and now, however, it is necessary to do something. That is why we will be talking about it during the Lviv Security Forum.

After some time passes, the Europeans will understand the danger. It will happen when Russia will keep attempting to disintegrate Europe, when the Europeans will feel the actual losses from participation in the Russian projects. These losses will be economic and political. And then Europe will start a different interaction with Russia, not like it does now. The faster it happens, the better both for Europe and Ukraine. 2

However, Ukraine has to act in this direction right now. The faster the official Kyiv starts formulating new strategies of interaction with Kremlin together with the EU member states, the better. Both for us and for Europe. Because the Europeans cannot manage it without Ukraine in this matter, since our gas transportation system may play the key role in counteracting the Russian economic and geopolitical expansion to the West. Ukrainian gas transportation system is the most powerful in Europe with the ability to transfer 146 billion cubic meters of gas from the Eastern to the Western border yearly.

– So, canwestipulatethatUkrainehas definitelylost?

Commissioning of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will deprive Ukraine of one more geopolitical shield. It can be compared to how our state was deprived of nuclear weapons in 1994. We believed in the effectiveness of the Budapest memorandum, according to which the US, Great Britain and Russia provided Kyiv with the guarantees of sovereignty and security in exchange for the abandonment of the nuclear arsenal. Everybody knows how Kremlin abides by the Budapest memorandum…

The current Ukrainian situation is not a loss for our country. The Ukrainians did not want it and couldn’t have known the meaning behind the Nord Stream project. It is a criminal inaction of the current government and the President of Ukraine. Is this a loss in a fight? Obviously, no. Since neither the President, nor the government had counteracted the execution of this Russian pipeline project. This is a capitulation of the President and the government before Russia. During the last four years the current Ukrainian government did not do anything at all to resist Russia in this matter.

 The representatives of the Central European states – first of all Poland and Slovakia – expected Ukrainian propositions regarding the management of our gas transportation system. Our neighbors understand that the Ukrainian gas transportation system is the key to the balance in supplying Russian gas to Europe. During the years after the Revolution of Dignity Ukraine did neither propose nor develop anything at all in order to use our gas transportation system more efficiently both for Ukraine and with benefit to Europe.Still, our people are being told about creation of some “working groups on studying the issue”. This is mere words aimed to distract the attention of Ukrainian from their inactivity.

– But at the same time in Europe we can hear about “guarantees for Ukraine” regarding the usage of our gas transportation system. In particular, this is the position of Angela Merkel.

This is the second important matter that concerns me. These talks about “guarantees” – is “Budapest memorandum-2”. And I have a feeling that this is not the idea of the German chancellor but the theses proposed to Merkel by our President. And she is only voicing it.

I think so because the first time Merkel spoke about these “guarantees” was after the meeting with Poroshenko dedicated precisely to Nord Stream. There were no concrete proposals from the President’s Administration regarding the usage of our gas transporting system in the new realm – namely after the execution of the Nord Stream.

And only after the first public speeches of Merkel regarding the “guarantees for Ukraine” Moscow notified that they are ready to have discussions with Ukraine about this issue. And there was an immediate reaction of the Ukrainian government. The Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Ihor Nasalyk made a statement out of the blue that it would be enough for Ukraine to transfer to the West 40 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas as a “transit guarantee”. This is why I make a conclusion that a certain combination was played in the interests of Russia. There were nothing about the actual interests of Ukraine. Our country was assigned a role of a walk-on.

We need to be aware: all our officials, who will be a part of negotiations regarding the transit of Russian gas through the territory of Ukraine, will be signing certain documents, will make it look like they trust the Russian “guarantees”, – all these people are traitors of Ukraine. If it would come to the signing of the papers about these hypothetical Russian “guarantees”– it will be the signing of “Budapest memorandum-2”. Those our officials who would agree to such an option, will doom Ukraine and its citizens to a situation where one day we may be left without gas, heat and electricity.

 And the yearly loss in the amount of 3 billion US dollars for transporting of the Russian gas to Europe after the commissioning of the Nord Stream 2 is not even the biggest problem. The biggest problem is how do we save the Ukrainian gas transporting system alltogether. I mean its modernization and the perspectives of its usage.

There is one more issue. It is necessary to stop gas theft in Ukraine, since currently 4 billion cubic meters of gas are considered to be yearly technical losses. This is almost 25 percent (!) of the gas extracted in Ukraine. 4 billion cubic meters of gas is used yearly in Bulgaria!

Our Polish neighbors actively protest against the Nord Stream project. They explain all dangers of this projects to the Germans. Unfortunately, the German government does not listen to Warsaw and desires to have close economic ties with Russia. The Polish try to help Ukraine, however there is a feeling that Ukrainian government does not need it.

  How exactly were the Polish trying to help and why does the official Kyiv ignore such propositions?

There is a terminal at the Baltic Sea shore in the Polish city of Świnoujście, where liquefied gas from USA and Qatar is being delivered. The Polish proposed our government a possibility to transport gas from Świnoujście  to the territory of Ukraine. It would require constructing an additional pipeline from Poland. All Polish initiatives were not accepted by our government officials. It has been two years, however on the Kyiv side there are only talks about some “preparation to start a working group”. So, there are no concrete results. And gas from Świnoujściecould become a real stable alternative to the dependency on the gas supplies from Russia.

– Is a pessimistic scenario possible, where after the launch of the Nord Stream 2 in full capacity the Ukrainian gas transportation system will not receive gas from Russia at all?

Unfortunately, such scenario is not impossible. If the Nord Stream would become fully operational, Moscow could completely discard the Ukrainian gas transporting system approximately by 2021.

And, let’s say, some of the winters would be very cold … Ukraine’s own gas could be not enough. And Moscow would propose our President or our government some decision beneficial for them (and detrimental for Ukrainians). In case of refusal, “Gasprom” (meaning Kremlin) would close the system on the border with Ukraine and we would not receive any gas.

This is indeed a complex problem. We are talking about how to preserve the real Ukrainian sovereignty when more than 40 million Ukrainians may be deprived of light and heat.

However, I would like to highlight that in politics (in international politics too) there cannot be any finality, meaning any hopeless situations. Possibilities to  change something are appearing and will be appearing. It is important to Ukraine to use such chances.

At the Lviv Security Forum 2017 we already discussed the topic of economic security for the country.

– In the situation where Russia increases its economic expansion in Europe, should Ukraine try to find strong allies in order to counteract together the Kremlin duress?

Definitely, it was necessary to search for such allies a long time ago. It turned out that even after 4 years of war when Ukrainians are holding back the Russian military aggression, Ukraine has no actual allies. We have partners that are ready to help us as “poor neighbors” that are always complaining and asking for something. Ukraine is not even trying to conduct a dialog with other countries on a basis of equality. Our current government did not propose any serious mutually beneficial projects to any of our neighbor countries.

Americans may be and want to be our ally and partner, but our current government is more interested in being a petitioner. Hungary, Baltic countries, Scandinavian countries could be our partners and allies. But our government does nothing to create mutually beneficial political and economic relations with these countries.

Also I would like to add as the co-head of the Ukrainian-Polish Parliamentary Assembly, I have already mentioned the Poland’s proposal to help Ukraine with the gas supply from their port in Świnoujście. Nowadays, there is an opinion in Ukraine that the Polish only want to talk about the historic memory. I asked colleagues from Poland why. And I heard in response that it is the Ukrainians who do not speak about anything else nor propose anything. The Polish are telling me that Ukrainian officials do not want to talk about any economic initiatives. Therefore, such impression is being created that the Polish discuss only the painful historic moments. The current Ukraine does not want or is unable to talk with Poland about anything else.

Ukraine and Poland constitute a strategic axis, which may be the basis for the continental security against Russian threat. And it’s a pity that Kyiv does not understand it. Probably because the current Ukrainian officials are very different from the colleagues from Poland. Regardless of political fights between the representatives of different political parties in Poland, no government in Warsaw will ever do anything to harm their country. Their highest officials do not transfer money to offshores, their politicians do not buy ridiculously expensive houses abroad and their children study and will live in Poland. We can only dream about the same in Ukraine.

But I am an optimist and I believe that the fate of Ukraine will be decided by 100% pro-Ukrainian politicians and officials, and time for inactivity or openly pro-Russian actions of the leaders of the state will remain in the past.

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