It has been nearly ten years since the Crimean Peninsula was illegally annexed. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine entering its sixth month, the changing battlefield suggests the peninsula is no longer immune from military engagement. In concert with military force, generating and enforcing diplomatic pressure against Moscow is as consequential in raising the prospects of Crimea returning to Kyiv.

With the second edition of the Crimean Platform set to take place on August 23, GLOBSEC asks a former Polish Prime Minister, Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Russian Deputy Energy Minister, and a Ukrainian Research fellow; what new diplomatic pressure can Ukraine and its allies apply to Russia through the Crimean Platform?

Jan Krzysztof Bielecki

Former Polish Prime Minister; Ukraine Support Council Chairman

 Let me address the Crimean Platform on a very personal note. I vividly remember how important it was for Poland’s struggle in 1981 to maintain the political and diplomatic support of the West. Western diplomats and media were crucial in informing the world about on-the-ground events, our struggles, and our goals. Today, the diplomatic community in Ukraine faces a similar task: exposing and countering Russian efforts to stoke conflict and division worldwide. With Russia’s continuous manipulation and disinformation campaigns, it is vital to keep telling the truth and remind Western public opinion about the facts, such as the atrocities committed by Russian forces and their continued oppression and displacement of Ukrainians. Diplomats around the world are best placed to counter the false Russian narratives about the causes and conduct of the conflict, which are peddled international. Today, every diplomat needs to be a Ukrainian.

Pavlo Klimkin

Former Ukrainian Foreign Minister

The Crimean Platform is far more than just a reminder of the Russian occupation of Crimea.

It’s about getting things right – from sanction pressure to helping people around. It’s about combining political focus and expert engagement. First and foremost, it is about showing that fighting for Crimea’s future as a part of Ukraine implies not complying with the occupation. During the time of an existential war with Russia, The Crimean Platform will demonstrate a clear commitment of the civilized world that Crimea is Ukraine!

 

Vladimir Milov

Former Deputy Energy Minister of the Russian Federation

The Crimean Platform is a good opportunity to bring new momentum to the sanctions policy against Russia. Recently, only limited new sanctions were introduced. However, there is room for more actions – against vital Russian manufacturing industries, digital infrastructure, and other vital sectors, as well as against Russia’s ability to mitigate the effects of sanctions with the help of third-party countries. Russian defense exports are still a significant source of revenue for the military hardware manufacturing complex. According to Russian authorities, it will exceed $10 billion in 2022. Diplomatic efforts should be made to call for the termination of Russian arms procurement contracts by third-party countries, like India and the Philippines have recently done. A pause in sanctions gives Putin more room for maneuver and adaptation – the pressure should be permanently escalated until Putin withdraws from Ukraine and pays sufficient reparations. The inter-governmental coordination of sanctions through the Crimean Platform can vastly enhance their efficiency.

 

Iuliia Osmolovska

Senior Fellow at the GLOBSEC Ukraine and Eastern Europe Programme

Unity matters. Continuity matters. Ever more countries have to join the Platform. The level of political representation has to be the highest. Not only declarations but legally-binding initiatives to hold Russia accountable and to repay for damage caused are required. All allies must show their bravery to stop Russian military adventurism. Recent developments in Crimea strengthen confidence in Ukraine’s ability to get the peninsula back. The Crimean Platform must encourage Ukraine to continue with all means available and call for partners to support Ukraine with military assistance. Russia pretends to disregard the Platform, but more countries joining in makes Russia very nervous.