Conflict in Donbas must be resolved with respect of territorial integrity, Ukraine's independence - Blair
The conflict in eastern Ukraine must be resolved on the basis of respect for the territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said.
Blair said at the online discussion on Tuesday, that there are two very important things. First of all, to make sure that the world does not forget about this (the war in the east of Ukraine). This will be a very important element of negotiations with Biden administration (U.S. President Joseph Biden). More than 30,000 of people died literally in part of Europe, this is a terrible situation. And, secondly, to make sure that the sovereignty of Ukraine is understood and respected, and its allies in the world understand that this topic will not disappear for the people of Ukraine. It is absolutely important that we are trying to resolve (the conflict), but it must be resolved on the basis of respect for the territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine.
At the same time, he said that Ukraine has become much closer to NATO membership. The former prime minister said that NATO membership will be the choice Ukraine will make. He thinks Ukraine has become much closer to NATO. And it was a demonstration of the continuing need for NATO because of what happened to Ukraine. His proposal is to just continue to work on this with NATO, to improve the defense capability of Ukraine, which has been an important factor in these past few years.
Blair said that the decision on Ukraine's membership in NATO will be made regardless of Russia's violation of international norms regarding Ukraine.
He said that while there is frustration in Ukraine that things move faster, the steps Ukraine has taken in the last two-three years have been the right ones. He urged to move on this path, building great connections in terms of opportunities and continuing to prove the case very strongly.
In addition, the former head of the British government stressed the importance of cooperation between Ukraine and the United States in the field of security.
He thinks that it is important for a country like Ukraine to realize that your main security relationship will be with U.S. and its allies. This does not mean that you cannot cooperate and trade with China, but probably in the future you will you have to do it wisely.
Blair also said that at least Ukraine will have to hold serious consultations with the United States and its allies before taking radical steps.
The online discussion was organized by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation and the Yalta European Strategy (YES). The former prime minister took part in it as Executive Chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.