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The Crimea-Platform – 21st Ukraine Breakfast Debate


The Crimea Platform: A new initiative to reintegrate Crimea

The Crimea Platform was launched in 2020 on the initiative of President Volodymyr Zelensky. As an international forum, it is intended to facilitate exchange between Ukraine and its partners on the situation in Crimea and to develop common positions. It is embedded in a strategy of the National Security and Defence Council (RNBO) to end the occupation of Crimea by political means and to reintegrate the peninsula. Ljudmyla Melnyk, project manager of GURN 2 at the IEP Berlin opened the event. Afterwards, the three speakers presented their perspectives on the Crimea Platform. They were Wilfried Jilge, expert at the Berlin Centre for International Peace Operations (ZIF), Oleksiy Melnyk, Co-Director of the think tank Razumkov Centre in Kyiv and Dr Susan Stewart, Head of the Research Department on Eastern Europe and Eurasia at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP).

The participants agreed that the Crimea Platform is an initiative worth supporting. However, there were different arguments regarding its concrete design. Several aspects had to be taken into account: On the one hand, it should be noted that the Russian occupation of Crimea should be seen in the larger context of the militarisation of the Black Sea region. This has consequences for the security of Ukraine and international shipping, not only in the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov, but also for Ukrainian port cities in the northwest of the Black Sea. Some observers believe that the Crimea Platform could contribute to international monitoring of the situation in the region.

The initiative foresees meetings at the highest diplomatic level and key officials would be involved in its implementation. In view of the many domestic challenges Ukraine is currently facing, in particular a far-reaching reform agenda, the question of the resources available and to what extent Ukraine would be able to successfully push forward both the reforms and the initiative was raised.

At the request of participants in the breakfast discussion, the water supply to Crimea from the mainland and its significance for future disputes and possible negotiations between Ukraine and Russia were discussed. Furthermore, in addition to Germany's potential role in the Crimea Platform, the reactions of international partner countries so far were discussed. Among other things, this involved the role of Turkey, which has already pledged its support for the platform, but is taking Russia's interests into account with regard to Syria. The question of adding an economic dimension to the goals was also raised. One participant noted that the discussions on a possible reintegration should not only be about the territory, but above all about the people living there. It was also underlined during the conversation that Ukrainian civil society already has a strong expertise on Crimea and should definitely be involved in the Platform's work.

Analysis to listen to: Learn more about the Crimea Platform in the new episode of our podcast UkraineMEMO.

The Ukraine Breakfast Debates take place within the framework of the project "German-Ukrainian Researchers Network" (GURN 2) and are funded by the Federal Foreign Office.

About the GURN – German Ukrainian Researchers Network project: The cooperation between think tanks and politics are strengthened. GURN focuses on knowledge transfer, capacity building and bilateral dialogue. Current developments and German-Ukrainian relations are discussed in a variety of formats.

Image copyright: Gurn