This week the Global Business for Ukraine community met with Kurt Volker, former US ambassador to NATO and special representative of the US State Department for Ukraine in 2017-2019 to discuss the war in Ukraine, the geopolitical situation and the influence of war on the global economy and doing business.
Hence, according to Mr. Volker, nowadays russia doesn’t have the ability to advance. The country is physically, mentally, economically, politically exhausted. Moreover, has very limited number of resources (missiles, must recruit people because it has a lot of losses, doesn’t have enough equipment for people). Generally, russia is in a bad situation, and when Ukraine wins is just a matter of time. Ukraine has benefits – military equipment, innovative training, effective ways of using this equipment, etc. Yes, russia can try to regroup people and resources. Hence, the way to Victory can take a few years.
Speaking about nuclear weapon, it’s better to look at doing than believe in words. Russia doesn’t have success on the front, therefore, try to cause concern with a nuclear weapon, however, according to Kurt, the world has no reason to be concerned.
Everybody keeps talking about the economic recovery for Ukraine, however, concrete actions and steps are also needed to be taken – war investment insurance (that nowadays only a limited number of countries have implemented), doing business with Ukrainians, investing. Most probably, nothing great seems to happen yet - as people have bias that you can’t do much when the war is going on. Therefore, communities like European Business Association and Global Business for Ukraine try to highlight that it is worth trying right now. The world doesn’t have to wait. As the sooner Ukraine gets back to confident economic positions, the sooner US and EU could spend less to help Ukraine become more sustainable.
The return of investments to Ukraine could be significant. Probably, the reason why there are not so many investments - is security, therefore, governments have to create conditions for investments, put war risk insurance to create investment appetite, show that there are opportunities and present instruments on how to use them. Moreover, even USA could do more in terms of support, even though America already does a lot. However, a successful Ukrainian counteroffensive can stimulate additional support for Ukraine. Hence, Ukraine needs to produce success.
Membership and geopolitics
Ukraine will be a member of NATO, and some steps are being taken to make it real. It’s evitable. Moreover, Ukraine will, for sure, be a member of the EU. However, the country must start implementing regulations as there is more about adaptation than about negotiation. For example, start from the rule of law, effective fight against corruption and more.
Speaking about russia-China relations – there is no coalition. These countries have absolutely different interests. China wants to dominate and russia – destroy Ukraine. Moreover, Kurt believes that China wants to be part of Ukraine’s reconstruction.
We thank Kurt Volker for interesting and optimistic insights and, hope, they will come true!