What are the threats to Ukrainian security?  How best to make the country  safe against these?   These are questions guaranteed to spark off a lively debate in almost any gathering of Ukrainian political and security pundits.  Certainly Ukraine's long-term security is a matter of intense interest to everyone, including for the UK, which wants to see Ukraine as stable and prosperous as possible.  So I'm delighted to welcome to Kyiv for a 48 hour visit the Director for International Security Policy from the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence, Gloria Craig.  

During her visit Gloria meets senior politicians, officials, commentators and experts to discuss defence-related and security issues and how the UK can help.  This includes a dinner at the residence where we have a lively debate about the future of Ukraine - I'm particularly grateful to all who took part on the Ukrainian side.  In addition to work taking place between Ukraine and NATO, the UK has been deeply engaged in Ukrainian defence reform for many years, both through contributions to NATO initiatives such as the Professional Development Programme and the Building Integrity Programme, and through bilateral training programmes.  The UK Ministry of Defence provides a specialist advisor to the Ukrainian MoD to share reform experience and ideas.

In a recent speech, the new British Defence Minister has underlined that the best way to reduce threats to our collective security is through co-operation with others.  This means building partnerships and friendships with other nations.  So it is good to see other UK Defence Attaches from the region, including Moscow, Astana and Tbilisi, travelling to Kyiv for a meeting with Gloria to share ideas and harmonise our effort.

All this activity, to which Gloria's visit will lend additional impetus, should help make Ukraine a safer place.  So too will continued political, defence and security reform under the NATO-Ukraine Annual National Programme: a set of measures designed to help Ukraine, its armed forces and its population.  Backing up those measures are further economic and political reforms, such as those under negotiation with the International Financial Institutions and the EU, designed to ensure that Ukraine's political and economic system can able to deliver political stability and robust economic growth.  I look forward to the continued development of UK-Ukraine defence co-operation in the months and years ahead, in parallel with - I hope - the further economic and political development of Ukraine.

Leigh Turner
British Ambassador to Ukraine

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