Ukraine, the Context, with ex-Ambassador Roy Reeve

Making sense of what’s happening in Ukraine. Roy was our ambassador to Ukraine between 1995 and 1999 and is an expert on all the so-called “frozen” conflicts of old Soviet Union –


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The word Ukraine is best translated as "borderland". From the establishment of Kievan Rus in the 10th and 11th centuries, the country has been subjected to the expansionist actions of its neighbours - Lithuania, Poland and Russia- in addition to its virtual destruction by the Mongols. Sitting on the boundary between Europe and Russia, conflict is nothing new; disruptions and conflict in Ukraine over the past year represent only one further chapter in the history of the Borderlands.

So is the present confrontation yet another passing phase or is it more permanent?

Whilst both the new Kyiv government and Western states condemn Russia for its annexation of Crimea and support for separatist groups in the East of the country, is there any justification for Moscow’s actions as seen from the Kremlin?

So is the present confrontation yet another passing phase or is it more permanent?

Whilst both the new Kyiv government and Western states condemn Russia for its annexation of Crimea and support for separatist groups in the East of the country, is there any justification for Moscow’s actions as seen from the Kremlin?

And what will be the likely outcome? Are economic sanctions and public condemnation sufficient to lead to an acceptable settlement or do we now have yet another “frozen conflict” in Europe?

So many questions! But are they answerable? The Ebenezers keenly look forward to Roy Reeve casting his light over the dark & ravaged borderlands of Ukraine.


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Roy Reeve CMG

Roy is a former diplomat who joined the FCO in 1966 as a Soviet specialist. He served two tours in Moscow and was a member of the UK Delegation to the Helsinki and Geneva multilateral talks (1972-1975) which negotiated the Helsinki Final Act, the founding document for the OSCE, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. He also served in Belgrade, Northern Ireland, South Africa and Sydney.

In 1999 after four years as Ambassador to Ukraine, he became Head of the OSCE Office in Armenia (1999-2003). In 2003 he was appointed as Head of the OSCE Mission in Georgia. From 2007 until 2011 he was Head of the EU Planning Team and as Deputy Head of the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, Roy was well known for demolishing the stereotype of the reserved & inaccessible diplomat. A keen supporter of the Ukrainian Rugby Federation and an enthusiastic owner of a Harley-Davidson, he threw his support behind numbers of human-rights causes, especially the repatriation of the 250,000 exiled Crimean Tatars. He is now Chairman of the British-Georgian Society.

He is married with two daughters. Two of his greatest enthusiasms are scuba diving and rugby union.




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2015Martin Keeley