Stabilising Ukraine and the future of security sector reform

Russia’s military aggression poses a global challenge to security sector reform (SSR); Ukraine is merely on the frontline, according to Ihor Dolhov, Ukraine's Ambassador to NATO. The Ambassador was speaking at a public debate co-organised by CEPS on September 23rd in cooperation with the Ukrainian Think Tank Liaison Office in Brussels and with the support of the US Mission to the EU. The Ambassador acknowledged that Ukraine’s military doctrine needs to reconsider basic concepts of national security and that the military was in need of assistance from NATO and other allies. Ambassador Christopher Murray, Political Advisor at NATO, insisted that, as much as Ukraine had stood by as a “Number 1 partner for NATO” in the past, “now NATO stands by Ukraine”. He outlined the different capacity-building projects and trust funds to reform and professionalise Ukraine’s armed services. The delivery of arms and hardware, however, lies within the purview of individual allied members. Henry Bolton, CSDP Planner for the EU Advisory Mission to Ukraine, highlighted the country's significant need for civilian security sector reform. He stated that the political will to reform was present but that vested interests and endemic corruption in Ukraine’s institutions pose considerable challenges to the implementation of SSR. He warned that time is short for the government to meet popular demands in this field and urged it to adopt more transparency in explaining the government’s actions to the public.