How Does Ukraine Create Its Own Narrative?

November 10, 2023
As President Zelensky said “I need ammunition, not a ride,” Ukraine is resisting on both a military and a communication level.
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So, how is Ukraine fighting the battle of strategic narratives?

UkraineWorld asked Hennadii Maksak, Executive Director of the Foreign Policy Council "Ukrainian Prism". Key points in our brief, #UkraineWorldAnalysis

How can Ukraine’s wartime diplomacy be evaluated?

There are pros and cons. Wartime diplomacy solves the problems we face on a large scale, but we must remember that the war has been ongoing since 2014, and the prototype of wartime diplomacy dates back to those times. That is, at the time of the full-scale invasion, there were already developments in the field of sanctions and the transport of weapons. Thus, this made the task of strategic communications a little easier.

When President Zelenskyy was greeted with a standing ovation in Congress, that was our confirmation that the communication system was set up correctly and that the distribution of roles works.

Are communications keeping up with the new stage of the war?

As General Valery Zaluzhny wrote, the war has entered a new phase of attrition. In addition, new goals and communication channels are required in the strategic plan. This was also evident at the Vilnius Summit on our diplomacy's belligerent stance.

We should communicate our emotions, but emotions can malfunction. We require a strategic and pragmatic link. That is why there are an increasing number of requests for a victory strategy and how we intend to win. And it's great that the military leadership explains how things should be done.

Wartime diplomacy is about more than just weapons or a peace treaty.

It also involves funding, sanctions, tribunals, and reconstruction. We are witnessing the formation of targeted teams that are being formed in specific areas. For example, Special Representative Korenevych, is very active and doing a great job on the tribunal issue.

The same can be said for each of the tracks. And the expertise of these teams should be our greatest asset. Ukraine and the rest of the world recognize that there will be no quick victory, so we're talking about roadmaps. In practice, signs of long-term support negotiations are apparent. For example, the Ukraine Facility is established for the next four years and Germany plans to support Ukraine until at least 2027.

How do you handle sensitive communication issues?

When we discuss problematic areas, such as how to work with interest groups in Hungary, we must recognize that it employs European Union mechanisms. Therefore, we have to work within these constraints.

For example, the blocking of a new tranche of macro-financial assistance has its own instruments, as does the blocking of a new tranche from the European Peace Fund to finance weapons. We have our own areas of collaboration with Hungary, for example, they help us with the wounded and humanitarian aid. However, when it comes to politics, there should be a Washington-Brussels-Budapest axis or separate coalitions.

What narrative should Ukraine promote about itself?

When striving for peace and seeing that the deterrence and benefits system, the institutional security system, and international law are not working, Ukraine should be the key to launching all of this, as it will be the key to how the scheme of ending the war will be built, as well as what conditions and institutions will have to be put in place.

And this will be a message about how the world will develop in the future. Not to mention what kind of polarity will exist, and in what areas.

Daria Synhaievska, Analyst at UkraineWorld

Hennadii Maksak, Executive Director of the Foreign Policy Council "Ukrainian Prism"