Ukraine's Reform, Security,
and Euro-Atlantic Integration Perspectives
YES Online Conversation
Stephen Biegun, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State

Anne Applebaum, staff writer for The Atlantic, Pulitzer - prize winning historian (moderator)

Carl Bildt
, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden (2006 - 2014); Prime Minister of Sweden (1991 - 1994) (introduction)
Ukrainian translation
On October 2, 2020, Yalta European Strategy in partnership with the Victor Pinchuk Foundation held the first YES online conversation entitled «Ukraine's reform, security, and Euro-Atlantic integration perspectives». Stephen Biegun, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State was interviewed by Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning author. YES board member Carl Bildt, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden (2006-2014), Prime Minister of Sweden (1991-1994), opened the conversation.

In his introductory remarks, Stephen Biegun said: "One month ago I visited Ukraine, and during my few days in Kyiv, I had a chance to sit down with a number of officials. We reviewed the state of reforms, what President Zelenskyy and the Prime Minister are seeking to do." He said he also met with non-governmental representatives supporting the anti-corruption agenda "to hear some of the challenges that they continue to face." He concluded: "The visit left me quite optimistic about the future of Ukraine."

Speaking of the cooperation between Ukraine and the current administration, Deputy Secretary Biegun said: "We are quite proud of our record about Ukraine. We have delivered more than 2 billion dollars in security assistance to Ukraine. This administration has strongly supported the professionalization of Ukrainian armed forces and its improved capacities. The assistance includes lethal military assistance. (...) I and all the American officials working closely with Ukraine expect only more good things coming from this relationship. We are certainly much better off than we were 4 years ago."

The speaker commented on one of Ukraine's pressing challenges, corruption: "We continue to be concerned about corruption in Ukraine. President Zelenskyy is taking it on as a high governing priority, but that does not make it easy to resolve those issues, and those issues remain out there. We all have to join hands with the Ukrainian people to turn back."

Answering Anne Applebaum's question about the prospects of continuity in the US Ukraine policy after the forthcoming election in America, Stephen Biegun stressed: "Whether on the personal side or on the policy side, there is a great harmony on issues related to the US-Ukraine relations. In terms of the policy that the United States has towards Ukraine, I expect it to be consistent. I am sure that the next president of the United States (...) will continue to fully support the Ukrainian government."

On perspectives for peace in Ukraine, Deputy Secretary Biegun said: "The Minsk 2 Agreement and the Normandy Group are still relevant, they may not be perfect, but they are the tools that we have. We still have to find ways to use those with US engagement and US support. The Ukrainian government's move to put in place a more durable ceasefire is an important first step. (...) The ceasefire is necessary to have a reduction in violence and tensions, sufficient to take the other steps that are going to be necessary to really regain Ukrainian sovereignty over this territory. I think that early and high priority has to be security in Eastern Ukraine. That means some kind of control over the border of Ukraine. So that other conditions can develop, including the holding of elections. And finally, and most importantly, and the US, the EU and the international institutions have a strong role to play – we need a strong financial package, as a strong incentive that shows all the people of Ukraine, including those living in the Donbas, that they are all part of Ukraine that can be prosperous and successful." He concluded: "The Russian side has to understand that the sanctions will not be lifted. Those may even worsen, if the Russian government does not engage in a constructive honest diplomatic process to return the sovereignty of Ukraine in the Donbas."

The interlocutors also touched upon the recent events in Belarus as well as the poisoning of Alexey Navalny, Russia's role and US-Russian relations.

Carl Bildt, opening the conversation as member of the YES board, presented the YES online discussions. "At these times, as it is not possible to meet as we did in Yalta or Kyiv. We aim to bridge that gap with these online conversations until we will be able to meet in person in Kyiv again in September of next year. A number of online conversations will be organized. This is the first one, and more will follow", Mr. Bildt said.

The YES Annual Meeting 2020 was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. YES and the Victor Pinchuk Foundation remain committed to integrating Ukraine with the world and put the country on the international agenda. Since 2004, Yalta European Strategy has been the main non-governmental platform for connecting the world and Ukraine. The YES Annual Meetings have brought together world political, business and thought leaders to discuss Ukraine's future and pressing global challenges.
Since 2004, Yalta European Strategy has been the main non-governmental platform for connecting the world and Ukraine. The YES Annual Meetings have brought together world political, business leaders and thinkers to discuss Ukraine's future and pressing global challenges.

Read more about YES and Victor Pinchuk Foundation.

The YES team will be happy to answer any questions at [email protected] or
+380 67 852 41 69 / +380 67 583 41 67
Speakers and moderator
Stephen Biegun
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State
Anne Applebaum
Staff writer for The Atlantic,
Pulitzer – prize winning historian
Carl Bildt
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden (2006-2014); Prime Minister of Sweden (1991-1994)
Show all biographies
Stephen E. Biegun
Deputy Secretary of State
Secretary Pompeo swore Stephen E. Biegun in as Deputy Secretary of State on December 21, 2019. Prior to his service as Deputy Secretary, Mr. Biegun served from August 2018 to December 2019 as the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea, responsible for leading U.S. efforts to achieve President Trump's goal of a final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea.

Biegun has three decades of experience in government in the Executive and Legislative Branches, as well as in the private sector. He worked in the White House from 2001-2003 as Executive Secretary of the National Security Council. He also served as a senior staff member to the National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, and performed the function of chief operating officer for the National Security Council.

Before joining the White House staff, Biegun served for 14 years as a foreign policy advisor to members of both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

From 1992 to 1994, Biegun served in Moscow, Russia, as the Resident Director in the Russian Federation for the International Republican Institute, a democracy-building organization established under the National Endowment for Democracy.

Stephen Biegun is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has served on the boards of the National Bureau of Asian Research, the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council, the U.S.-Russia Foundation for Economic Development and the Rule of Law, and Freedom House.
Anne Applebaum
Staff writer for The Atlantic,
Pulitzer – prize winning historian

Pulitzer Prize winning historian, journalist and commentator on geo-politics, Anne Applebaum examines the challenges and opportunities of global political and economic change through the lenses of world history and the contemporary political landscape. Informed by her expertise in Europe and her years of international reporting, Applebaum shares perspectives on, and the far-reaching implications of, today's volatile world events. And as technology allows a new scale of media manipulation to authoritarian governments and changes the tenor of political discourse, she scrutinizes the misinformation, propaganda, and criminal exploitation that influence global affairs, as well. Anne's Pulitzer Prize-winning Gulag: A History is about the Soviet concentration camps. Her book, Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine, is the winner of her second Duff Cooper Prize and the 28th Lionel Gelber Prize 2018. Anne is the only author to win the Duff Cooper Prize twice. In July 2020 Penguin published her new book Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism – in this work, she outlines eloquently why elites in democracies around the world are turning toward nationalism and authoritarianism. Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics Institute of Global Affairs, Anne is in charge of a program on disinformation and 21st century propaganda. Director of the Transitions Forum at the Legatum Institute from 2011-2015, an international think tank, Applebaum is the co-founder of the institute's Democracy Lab, an online partnership between the institute and Foreign Policy magazine. An adjunct fellow of the Center for European Policy Analysis, she is former Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs at the London School of Economics. For many years, Applebaum wrote a biweekly foreign affairs column for The Washington Post. She is now a staff writer at The Atlantic. She is also a regular contributor to publications such as Foreign Affairs, The Guardian, Slate magazine, The New Republic, Die Welt, The Spectator, The Independent, Cicero, Gazeta Wyborcza and The New York Review of Books. She was formerly a member of The Washington Post's editorial board; foreign and deputy editor of the Spectator magazine; and political editor of the Evening Standard.
Carl Bildt
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden (2006-2014); Prime Minister of Sweden (1991-1994)
Carl Bildt served as both Prime Minister of Sweden in 1991-1994, and Foreign Minister of Sweden in 2006-2014. During the first period, his government initiated major liberal economic reforms, as well as negotiated and signed a membership agreement with the European Union. Subsequently, Mr. Bildt served in international functions with the EU and UN, primarily related to the conflicts in the Balkans. He was Co-Chairman of the Dayton Peace Talks on Bosnia and became the first High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995-1997. Later, he was the Special Envoy of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to the region. After stepping down as the leader of the Moderate Party of Sweden in 1999 and leaving the Parliament in 2000, Mr. Bildt was also engaged in corporate boards in Sweden and the USA, as well as in various international think-tanks. Returning to his public career as Foreign Minister of Sweden, he came to be seen as one of the most prominent and vocal of European foreign ministers during his years in office. He was one of the initiators of the EU's Eastern Partnership and pushed the EU forward on issues of the Middle East. Mr. Bildt has continued to promote the use of social media in international diplomacy.
PREVIOUS YES Online Conversation
Made on