What's In Blue

Posted Tue 26 Dec 2023

Arria-formula Meeting on Ukraine

Tomorrow morning (27 December), Russia will convene an Arria-formula meeting titled “10 Years of Euromaidan in Ukraine: A Step Into Abyss”. Briefings are expected from Mikhail Khazin, a Russian economist and commentator; Maxim Grigoriev, head of the non-governmental organisation, the “Foundation for Research on Problems of Democracy” and a member of Russia’s Civic Chamber, a consultative civil society institution that monitors the activities of Russian governmental bodies, including the parliament; Vitaliy Zakharchenko, Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs between 2011 and 2014; and Dmitry Sabyna, former head of a unit in the Ukrainian “Berkut” special police force during the Maidan events.

The meeting, which will begin at 10 am EST and take place in Conference Room 6, will be broadcast on UNTV. It will be open to representatives of all UN member states and permanent observers, UN entities, civil society organisations, and the press.

According to the concept note prepared by Russia, tomorrow’s meeting aims to provide Council members with a deeper understanding of the Maidan (or EuroMaidan) and its role in shaping the current situation in Ukraine.

The Euromaidan was a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine that began in late November 2013. The movement emerged as a reaction to the decision of the Ukrainian government, then led by President Viktor Yanukovych, to halt the signing of an association agreement with the EU, and instead choose closer economic ties with Russia. The situation escalated following violent confrontations between the demonstrators and Ukraine’s special police force, known as Berkut. The protests culminated in February 2014 with Yanukovych’s ouster.

Council members are expected to present opposing narratives on the EuroMaidan at tomorrow’s meeting. The US and European members are expected to maintain that the EuroMaidan was a legitimate and genuine expression of the Ukrainian people’s aspiration for closer ties with the EU. These members are also likely to argue that Russia’s actions following the EuroMaidan, including the annexation of Crimea in March 2014, constitute violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia, for its part, is likely to accuse Western countries of fomenting the Maidan protests. Moscow has argued that the residents of the eastern Donbas region rejected Yanukovych’s ouster, which Russia deems an unconstitutional coup d’état.

Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Ukraine has intensified its efforts to become an EU member. Tomorrow’s meeting comes shortly after the EU’s 14 December decision to initiate membership talks with Ukraine.

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