Hi, I am Pavlo Klimkin, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. I am in the Netherlands now to explain why it's worth supporting Ukraine at the referendum on Association Agreement between EU and Ukraine. I am looking forward to my first AMA because it is a good opportunity to expand the boundaries of communication and tell you more about current situation in Ukraine’s foreign policy. I’ll be answering your questions live, starting today at 9.30 AM EST (16.30 Amsterdam). I will do my best to answer all the questions within my competence. Ask me anything!


Thank you very much for your questions, I enjoyed our exchange. The AmA has been finished, I will not be answering further questions because I have to rush to the airport. Hope to do it some time again soon.

Comments: 135 • Responses: 26  • Date: 

WollyBalls9 karma

Hello. What would you answer to those voices who claim that Ukraine corruption situation is precipitously degrading to the one that was during Yanukowitch regime? That's quite important, since EU can't take more burden of supporting corrupted money wasting state.

PavloKlimkin3 karma

No, I don't see it like that. We have a long and difficult way of tackling corruption. But it is definitely not something similar to what was happening previously. And every week we have news of people arrested for bribes and corruption and it is a good example that we are coming forward.

Thomas_Sillesen7 karma

Dear Minister, Being from Denmark, we also have a company in Ukraine, and besides the positive influence of the association agreement, the biggest obstacle for Ukraine succes in EU is definitely the document hell Ukraine forces on companies. We tried to start import to Denmark from Ukraine, but had to give up due to:

1) Demands of contracts. Why is contracts needed, when in reality, email correspondance is enough to document agreement ? (I have done business since 1988 in Denmark, and did not face this demand before coming to Ukraine in 2013..) 2) Approval of deliveries document: so when we buy something, we must sign a document agreeing to the delivery? I mean.. if we are not satisfied we will complain. If we are satisfied, why use time on it? 3) Payments to Ukraine supplier must strictly be in accordance with invoices and documented by contract. Why? we naturally only pay, when we get goods. And if we do not hit exact amount (dispute of quality, to little shipped etc), business partners can easily fix it with next order and payment.

Neither of the above kills corruption, as we in Denmark has none of the above, and are still the least corrupt country in the world...

Besides that, this absurd bureacracy means we have 95 employees in Denmark, and 0 (zero) in administration. In Ukraine we have 68 employees, and 4 in administration.... waste of money.. AND most importantly.. waste of dynamics in business...

PavloKlimkin4 karma

Cutting red tape is one of the most important parts of the Agreement. It should help you and your business in Ukraine.

orangejulius5 karma

How do you see the situation in Eastern Ukraine playing out in the next 5 years?

PavloKlimkin6 karma

I see Donbass recovering and back to normal life from what is going on now as an intrinsic part of Ukraine.

theoneEstonian4 karma

Hello. So about me, i've followed Ukrainian crisis/war in it's entirety. So my question is pretty easy, why Ukrainian State and it's current leading goverment and parties in goverment realized that corruption is a cancer that first place started the whole maidan? As it seems rooting out the corruption is secondary at best while to anti corruption mp-s where dislodged from Rada. My question is with that backstory why is there so little done while it's surely the winning weapon in a war?
And on that will there be a policy of student exchange in Europe? Good luck really you have a long way to go. :) From another guy from post-USSR :)

PavloKlimkin7 karma

We are the first country which is without precedent trying to deliver on reforms transforming Ukraine from a post-Soviet country into a European one and fighting Russian aggression. In the last 24 months we have done more reforms than in all previous years in our independence. Sure, it is not enough. And we have a long way to go. But having created the new National police, new anti corruption bureau, appointed new anti corruption prosecutor, we've got a backbone for tackling corruption. Now this year is certainly decisive in making this system fully operational and effective.

Well, I am a big fan of student exchanges, and we have a number of programs. Surely good, but by far not sufficient. What we need is also to get students from EU-countries to Ukraine. To spend some time in our country to feel what is going on and creating new friends of Ukraine. That's where we need support from EU-member states.

maxgott4 karma

1) Why doesn't Ukraine pay pension rents to expatriates? 2) Why doesn't Ukraine allow for double citizenship for expatriates?

Thank you

PavloKlimkin4 karma

We pay pensions to expatriates on the basis of bilaterale agreements. Some are enforced and some further are in the pipeline. We can't tolerate double citizenship because we have consensual view that it would endanger our national security.

ZebulonCarlander3 karma

Foreign Minister,

What are the biggest and most common misconceptions that you have seen about the content of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement?


PavloKlimkin17 karma

There is a lot of mythology around the Agreement. It is not about defensive Union, it is not about opening right away the possibilities for working reciprocally without any further restrictions. And certainly, it is not about engaging the EU directly on military path in what is going on in and around Donbass.

So the agreement is about creating the framework for European oriented reforms. And we will need a number of political decisions to go further.

Good implementation of the agreement will help us to take up such decisions. But right now, it is about reforms in all areas stipulated by the Agreement. And it is indeed a comprehensive one.

orangejulius3 karma

Do you see Ukraine joining NATO?

PavloKlimkin6 karma

I see NATO and Ukraine working together on strengthening. For that we need to upgrade ourselves to the NATO standards. And we will.

ani6253 karma

What should be the role of Russia in EU? Politically or any other way.

PavloKlimkin4 karma

Russia has been trying to play an elephant in the room but got into the backyard. Because it is the first time when we have solidarity of the whole civilized world against the country who broke any kind of rules and commitments. So to return to the house, Russia must play by the rules and repair all harm it did to Ukraine and many others who suffered from Russia's ungrounded behavior.

inthelibrary13 karma

Dear Mr. Klimkin, does the Ukrainian MFA face any problems with human resources in your opinion? Do you think there are still unqualified people representing Ukraine abroad being for example ambassadors of Ukraine? Thank you for your answer.

PavloKlimkin5 karma

Well, we do have a number of challenges on upgrading our team. I believe we have a lot of good enthusiastic qualified people representing Ukraine both in the foreign Ministry in Kyiv and abroad. But we are striving the deep and comprehensive reform which should bring us where all European foreign services are. And I hope we can share now with our friends and partners quite a lot and we are doing that.

RedRoseTemplate3 karma

Hello there. I'm still trying to make up my mind, so I'll just ask. Do you have any concerns about the Association Agreement?

PavloKlimkin7 karma

The Agreement is a result of seven years of negotiations between the European commission, all EU countries and Ukraine. And the result is a very clear framework for European reforms in Ukraine.

It will help Ukraine in its way forward and it will help the EU to create a more secure prosperous Europe based on human rights widening up the space for stability and democracy.

And by the way, it is about a lot of future opportunities for Dutch companies to engage in Ukraine which would operate on the basis of European rules known and understandable here in the Netherlands.

Makhauser2 karma

Hello, Mr.Klimkin. Thanks for doing the IAmA. What do You think about the possibility for the open labor force market between UA and EU (not just in a visa-free agreement for Ukraine)?

PavloKlimkin6 karma

Labor market is a national competence so we will talk to our partners about this possibility. I am sure the EU will further need our qualified and experienced people.

ZebulonCarlander2 karma

Foreign Minister Klimkin,

What consequences do you believe there would be - particularly in regards to political and economic reforms in Ukraine - if the Assocation Agreement was not approved?

Thank you!

PavloKlimkin8 karma

The Association Agreement has been working already on provisional basis. And we have first good results. So let's not engage in any kind of B or C option, but let's fight till the last second for success here in the Netherlands.

ZebulonCarlander2 karma

Foreign Minister Klimkin,

Looking ahead to the NATO Summit in Warsaw this summer, what more potential do you see for further Ukraine-NATO cooperation?


PavloKlimkin8 karma

We need NATO to help us to upgrade our defense and security sector up to the NATO standards comprehensively.

orangejulius2 karma

Why, in your view, did Russia become involved in Syria?

PavloKlimkin4 karma

In order to play geo-politics and more instability in just another crucially important region like it did in Caucasus and in Ukraine.

ZebulonCarlander2 karma

Foreign Minister Klimkin,

Could you elbaorate on why it is in the interest of the EU - and by extension then the Netherlands - to see the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement through?

Thank you!

PavloKlimkin7 karma

Because the EU needs united European and democratic Ukraine. This Association Agreement will make Ukraine fully up to European standards and at the same time will make Ukraine understandable for everyone in the European Union.

For Ukraine, the agreement is a framework of reforms. But not just reforms as the way going forward, but European reforms.

Carpentoid2 karma

Whats your favorite and least favorite part of your job?

PavloKlimkin2 karma

The most favorite is to engage with our friends and partners in order to bring forward Ukrainian case and to fight the Russian aggression.

The least favorite is to spend time on signing bureaucratic papers which is still a part of our job.

orangejulius2 karma

What kind of music do you listen to before it's 'game time'?

PavloKlimkin9 karma

Well I like good music, it is not about style. It is about perception. But let's start with good jazz music.

Zbyszek6672 karma

Foreign Minister Klimkin,

What will be your next move if Netherlands vote 'no' in coming referendum?

Thank you.

PavloKlimkin8 karma

The next move should be a Dutch one and I hope it would not endanger the Association Agreement as a basis and manual for European reforms in Ukraine.

WollyBalls2 karma

There was information about Ukrainian Prosecutors Office taking some actions against non-government anti-corruption organizations, including surveillance, prosecutions, and accusation of being "foreign agents", as so happening in Russia. Could you comment that?

PavloKlimkin5 karma

No. Foreign agent concept is not the case for Ukraine. We are a democratic country, not like Russia. The civil society and NGO's are really keen on transforming the rule of law in Ukraine. And also have been trying to work closely with the prosecutor office. The same I am sure will be the case for the future state investigation bureau.

inthelibrary12 karma

Mr. Klimkin, does the MFA have any strategy in developing soft power of Ukraine? Are there any plans to set up a system of institutions which would represent Ukrainian culture in a modern way as well as possibilities for tourism to Ukraine? As it works worldwide for instance with Goethe Institute, Czech Centres, Polish Institute etc.

PavloKlimkin4 karma

I am a big fan of creating the Ukrainian institute which will show up the modern Ukraine around the world. Let's join our efforts on that.

ZebulonCarlander2 karma

Foreign Minister Klimkin,

How do you assess the current security situation in the Black Sea region? What more can be done to counter aggressive Russian behavior there?

Thank you!

PavloKlimkin11 karma

That is a very difficult one. Because Russia broke any kind of rules including legally binding ones. We need to combine our efforts in tackling Russian aggressive behaviour in the Black Sea area because we have around the Black Sea clear majority of countries who are ready and willing to deliver on Black Sea security. But we can't stay in the same reality. We have to come up with new ideas on the basis of joint action.

And we have extreme threat of militarization and even possible nuclearization. Let's work together to contain such a threat.

antelm1 karma

Dear Minister, People in Donbass have been brainwashed by russia propaganda. Russian army and administration are everywhere in DNR and LNR. How could you think Donbass will come back to Ukraine as you wrote earlier?. In my opinion, Russia will never leave. Young people are now forced to learn russian education...This area will be like Transnistria forever, Kremlin only want to destabilize Ukraine for next decades. Maybe it is too late, but you need to fight to keep this new border.

PavloKlimkin6 karma

Ukraine will be getting stronger, international pressure will get stronger, but Russia will get weaker. And fairly soon we should be able to get a breakthrough on that. But we all including the European Union have to be prepared for Russian propaganda to be tackled effectively.

justbohdan1 karma

Hi Minister. My name is Bohdan and I actually met you last year as a part of #MeetKlimkin campaign. It’s good to see that our MFA becomes actively involved in social media and organizes online events such as this. Since last time we spoke, a lot of things had changed, so I have two questions for you: 1.Do we realistically have a chance for the vise-free regime with EU in 2016? And how important is the Netherlands upcoming referendum about this issue? 2.Do you have in plans to organize similar to #MeetKlimkin events later this year? Thanks, Bohdan

PavloKlimkin4 karma

I believe it is not a chance, it is a must to get visa-free this year.

Referendum here is important for EU-Ukraine association agreement, but visa-free track is a different one.

Would be delighted to engage in such an event a bit later.

antelm-2 karma

Dear Minister, i’m french and my girlfriend is from Donetsk and she still living in this city because she has her house, job, daughter, family and can’t leave for a more peaceful place. Our life is a nightmare since more than 2 years with russian invaders and despotic occupation. She needs to renew her passport for a biometric one to come again in Europe, but because she is from Donetsk, all administrations in kiev do not want to deal with her anymore. She is not pro-russian and want a free life. Because she is from Donetsk, embassy from european countries don’t want to give her a visa. Of course i can’t go and don’t want to go to Donetsk or Russia. How could she obtain a new passport and come to me in France? Thank you for your help, and good luck for your fight against Russia. I really hope Europe will give you free visa.

PavloKlimkin1 karma

Absolutely agree. We need to help our compatriots in Donbass but we can't issue our passes in Donbass where the Russians and pro-Russian proxies are still in control. So she needs to come out to the territory with legitimate Ukrainian authorities and get her pass. Still the only option we have now.

orangejulius-2 karma

What do you think would persuade Russia to stop supporting rebellion in Eastern Ukraine?

Why was it acceptable for Euromaidan to overthrow a democratically elected Government?

PavloKlimkin8 karma

It is not about rebellion. It is clear Russian aggression which had started with the famous Russian green men in Crimea and going on in Donbass now. I believe that only clear international pressure and solidarity will get Russia back to the track of civilized behavior.

It was about the people of Ukraine whom the previous government cheated on its promises, including on European integration. The former president left Ukraine fearing responsibility and the democratically elected parliament remained the only legitimate authority in the country.

MartinSchou-5 karma

Three questions, two serious, one not so serious:

1) Would you rather fight 100 duck sized Russians or 1 Russian sized duck?

2) What do you see as the biggest obstacles that Ukraine needs to overcome to become fully integrated into the EU?

3) What do you see as the biggest obstacles that the EU needs to overcome to fully integrate Ukraine?

PavloKlimkin14 karma

1) Well, it doesn't matter. What is important is the result.

2 + 3) We need to transform Ukraine into a European state where rule of law and free market are fully entrenched. The EU will need political will and strategic vision in what kind of Europe we all will live in the future. Both should go in parallel.