Security Conference

October 8, 2018

[Video recordings of the conference proceedings are available here]

Ukraine’s Security and Its Importance for the UK

Russia’s annexation of Crimea and invasion of the Donbas region of Ukraine in 2014 marked the beginning of the visible phase of Russia’s hybrid war against the West. While at first the significance of these events didn’t register in the Western nations, who believed that Russia should be left to deal with the confusing turmoil at its borders—within its “sphere of influence” (a concept that denied whole nations the right to maintain and develop their identity and forge their own path in the world), it soon became clear that those were only the first steps in a strategy that now seeks to take on the whole of Europe and the free world.

The spread of Russian propaganda through conventional media and the abuse of the power of social networks, exploiting and exacerbating the existing tensions within Western societies and creating tensions where there had been none, formed the information component of the hybrid war. There have been overt military provocations in the form of Russian fighter planes invading NATO’s airspace, purportedly by mistake. A tragic example of how Russia’s war against Ukraine is very much relevant to the West was the downing of the MH17 flight that killed 298 people—ten of them British nationals. Recently, the tide of Russian “active measures” has reached the British soil, as evidenced by incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury.

Ukraine is at the forefront of this struggle. In terms of military actions, Russia is using Ukraine as a testing ground for its recently developed weaponry, with which the so-called “separatist rebels” in the Donbas are being amply supplied. In terms of cyber warfare, Ukraine has been the target of major malware attacks, which the Ukrainian IT sector is learning to fend off. Like Britain, Ukraine is confronted with assassinations and other subversive activities, and it has developed robust responses through its revitalized security service.

Thus, Ukraine has amassed vast experience in dealing with Russian hybrid threats, which it is ready to share. Given PM May’s strong statements against Russian operations in Britain and Russian meddling in its policy and political processes, the security conference that is part of the Ukrainian Week in London can be an occasion for mutual support and solidarity, as well as for establishing connections between the expert communities of the UK and Ukraine that will enable further cooperation.

Conference Panels

  • Russia’s Hybrid War: From Ukraine to the UK—Common Threats and the Need for Common Responses
  • Ukraine’s Diplomatic and Military Responses to Russia’s Hybrid War
  • Lawfare: Ukraine Claims Against Russia in International Courts
  • The Rising Tide of Russian Active Measures; Cyberattacks; Private Armies, Assassinations, and Terrorism
  • Summing Up: Coordinated International Responses to the Russian Security Threat—Mobilizing International Support for Ukraine and Bolstering the Frontline

Conference Speakers and Panellists

  • Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration
  • H. E. Ambassador Judith Gough, Ambassador of the UK to Ukraine
  • H. E. Ambassador Natalia Galibarenko, Ambassador of Ukraine to the UK
  • Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former UK Foreign Secretary (1995–1997) and Defence Secretary (1992–1995), and former Chairman of the UK Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (2010–2015)
  • Gen. Vasyl Hrytsak, Head of the Security Service of Ukraine
  • Robert Seely, MP, Member of the UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee
  • Olena Zerkal, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine for European Integration
  • Robert Brinkley, Chairman of the Ukraine Forum in the Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House; Former Ambassador of the UK to Ukraine (2002–2006)
  • John Herbst, Director of the Atlantic Council Eurasia Center
  • Evelyn Farkas, Senior Fellow, Scowcroft Centre for Strategy and Security, Atlantic Council; Former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence
  • Anders Aslund, Resident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council Eurasia Center
  • James Sherr, Associate Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House
  • Maj. Gen. Borys Kremenetskyi, Defence Attaché, Air Force Attaché, Embassy of Ukraine to the UK, former Head of Ukrainian Group at the Joint Control and Coordination Centre (JCCC)
  • Prof. Ihor Burakovsky, Head of the Board, Ukraine Institute for Economic Research
  • Prof. Oleksiy Haran, Research Director at the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, Professor of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy
  • Phil Jones, Special Defence Advisor, Ministry of Defence of Ukraine (2014–2018)
  • Yuriy Vitrenko, Chief Operating Officer, Naftogaz of Ukraine
  • Eugene Czolij, Partner at Lavery Lawyers (Montreal, Canada) and President of the Ukrainian World Congress
  • Jeremy Wilson, Partner at Covington & Burling
  • Andriy Boytsun, Expert, Civic Platform “Reanimation Package of Reforms”

Panel Moderators

  • Karin von Hippel, Director-General, the Royal United Services Institute
  • Prof. Andrew Wilson, Professor of Ukrainian Studies, University College London SSEES
  • Adrian Karatnycky, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council
  • Evgeny Kiselev, TV anchor, PRM. UA channel (Ukraine)
  • Prof. Jonathan Eyal, International Director, the Royal United Services Institute

Organised by:

  • Atlantic Council
  • British Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce (BUCC)
  • Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)