RIGA - It is the time to plan for the future of post-war Ukraine already now and start talks on the country's accession to the European Union (EU), Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) says in a letter published in the British newspaper Financial Times.
Karins also urges to consider Ukraine's future in NATO.
"Once hostilities end, what will Ukraine’s place be in Europe? What is our “exit plan” for peace and security in Europe?" Karins asks, calling for planning for Ukraine's future already now.
Even if hostilities are still continuing, the Latvian prime minister calls on the EU to formally open up EU accession negotiations with Ukraine. "This is necessary for three reasons: first, because this will help to strengthen the morale and resolve of the Ukrainian army and people to not give in to Russian aggression. Second, the opening of negotiations will strengthen the purpose and pace of necessary reforms which Ukraine, just as any other candidate country, must go through to become eligible to join the EU. And third, the result of a successful EU bid by Ukraine will add necessary vigor and economic potential to our single market."
"Of course, while hostilities continue, no one within NATO would seriously consider incorporating Ukraine, since that would immediately bring all of NATO into the war which Russia is waging in Ukraine. But eventually, and with our combined and unwavering support, Ukraine will achieve its goals," Karins says.
The Latvian prime minister warns though that Ukraine's victory would still leave a fully intact Russia, with an unchanged imperialistic bent, under an aggressive and autocratic government.
Karins believes that the only option to ensure that Russia can be kept in check is for a liberated Ukraine to fully join the NATO alliance as well, together with all of the implied security guarantees. The Latvian prime minister underlines that these guarantees will be important not only for Ukraine but for all of Europe.
We cannot expect Russia's leadership to change its course anytime soon. We can, however, ensure that whatever its intentions, it cannot start a new war against its European neighbors, Karins says.