Zbigniew Rau is the Polish international minister. Dmytro Kuleba is the Ukrainian international minister.
Poland and Ukraine have a shared curiosity in a powerful, vibrant and resilient West. We’re united behind an awesome imaginative and prescient, pursued by all U.S. presidents because the finish of World Battle II, of a free, united Europe that’s affluent and at peace.
As ministers of international affairs, we should acknowledge, nevertheless, the obstacles holding Europe actually united. Paramount amongst them is the false perception that the free world is an elite membership, whose members’ nationwide pursuits are superior to the collective’s. This perception is what emboldens predatory autocratic powers and creates hazards for worldwide stability and world peace.
To aspire to turn out to be a part of the free world means to reject autocracy, which creates challenges to authoritarian regimes. For his or her half, autocrats react on three fronts. First, they attempt to discourage the would-be members of the free world by navy drive and makes an attempt at annexation, financial coercion and blackmail. Second, they attempt to tarnish the free world by portraying its political and enterprise elites as corrupt. Lastly, autocrats attempt to poison public discourse by launching far-reaching disinformation campaigns to advertise undemocratic narratives. They lay declare to “spheres of privileged pursuits” and go for reinstatement of “live performance of powers,” thus implying management over the destiny of different nations.
Poland and Ukraine have at all times believed that lasting peace in Europe is unimaginable to maintain with no harmonized democratic growth throughout Europe.
Because of this Poland was among the many first to acknowledge Ukraine’s independence in 1991. Having achieved its long-sought targets of membership in NATO and the EU, Poland turned one of many staunchest supporters of an open-door coverage to each organizations, and stays an unwavering advocate of Ukraine’s membership.
However as Central Europe sure itself to the West, Russia pulled on the levers at its disposal to, if not reverse, then a minimum of to significantly disrupt this course of. In doing so, Moscow drew upon one in every of its most potent weapons — its neighbors’ dependence on vitality provide, notably pure gasoline.
First in 2006, after which in 2009, Russia took benefit of its standing as a sole provider and reduce off pure gasoline deliveries to Ukraine with none motive or rationalization. Given the significance of Ukraine’s infrastructure to ship Russian pure gasoline westward, the remainder of Europe felt the implications.
Because of Russia’s actions, Europeans determined to maneuver towards a extra built-in, internally resilient and clear marketplace for pure gasoline so as to higher stand up to future disruptions. Nonetheless, the Kremlin was busy drafting a plan that might strengthen its grip on Europe’s gasoline provide and untether Ukraine from the remainder of Europe.
That is how Russia got here up with the concept for Nord Stream — a pure gasoline pipeline working on the Baltic seabed immediately from Russia to Germany, bypassing Central Europe.
When the brand new pipeline got here on-line in 2011, it was touted as a instrument for diversification of pure gasoline provides to Europe. In actuality, Nord Stream was designed to sabotage Europe’s vitality safety.
A decade after launching Nord Stream 1, Russia is dangerously near finishing the dual pipeline, Nord Stream 2. Regrettably, Russia was allowed to advance this far with the undertaking even because it continues to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, displaying blatant disregard for worldwide regulation.
Poland and Ukraine have lengthy warned in opposition to the hazards related to the development of Nord Stream 2. Our requires vigilance and boldness have been heard within the U.S. Congress, which pressed on with measures designed to cease this harmful, divisive undertaking.
We name on U.S. President Joe Biden to make use of all means at his disposal to stop the undertaking from completion.
On this difficulty, the U.S. continues to be critically essential. It must dismiss claims that Nord Stream 2 has turn out to be “too massive to fail” and that it merely must be completed. If the undertaking is profitable, Russia may strive to persuade the Ukrainian public that the West doesn’t care about its personal rules, and finally, concerning the safety and prosperity of Ukraine.
This undertaking just isn’t concerning the vitality safety of Germany, our shut ally and associate. Ukraine deeply appreciates Germany’s efforts to carry peace to the war-torn Donbass area and its very important help to Ukraine’s reforms.
We respect Germany’s proper to specific their perspective. However we additionally strongly consider that these sorts of tasks can’t be considered narrowly by the lens of bilateral relations, however ought to as an alternative be approached from a broader perspective of Europe’s pursuits and safety as an entire.
Rather a lot is at stake, however the way in which ahead continues to be in our fingers. Autocratic rulers within the Kremlin and elsewhere can and must be held accountable. The West, led by the US, can’t afford to cower within the face of blackmail that runs counter to every thing that we stand for.