Home Events - The Argyll Sutherland Highlanders Museum Winter Lecture – ‘Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe – Experiences in Ukraine’

Winter Lecture – ‘Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe – Experiences in Ukraine’

Lieutenant Colonel James Sayer & Jamie MacPherson

Recently returned from Ukraine, James & Jamie spent six years seconded to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine. They were part of small group of Westerners to have access to the non-government controlled areas of Eastern Ukraine (Donbas), now under the control of Russian forces. They lived on the ‘contact line’ with a remit to report on the conflict and are thus able to provide a ‘ground truth’ and a deeply personal perspective on what is an ongoing conflict between East and West. In addition to their personal experiences, they will cover in this illustrated talk the fascinating and tragic history of Ukraine since the end of the First World War. This has seen the country invaded, occupied, and divided several times over during the last century, and has arguably sowed the seeds for today’s conflict and its continued divisions today. Since the Russian annexation of the Crimea in 2014, that division is now physical and, with Russia’s invasion in February 2022, large parts of Eastern Ukraine are occupied. The country is also divided along social, religious, language and generational lines. In 2022, James Sayer returned to Western Ukraine in support of the humanitarian effort and will share his impressions of a country at war. He will discuss some of the possible scenarios as to where this conflict is now heading. This is based on his personal military and political experience and those of his Ukrainian associates who are still in Ukraine, with whom he is in regular contact.

The Speakers

James Sayer is a former Army officer. He began his military service in the Light Infantry before joining the Sultan of Oman’s Armed Forces. Returning to the British Army, he joined the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and had an unusual military career which included time as an Arms Control inspector in the Former Soviet Union, as well as secondments to the United Nations in East Timor, Georgia and the Democratic Republic of Congo in addition to operational tours in the Middle East and Afghanistan. His penultimate appointment was with 51 Brigade in Stirling. On leaving the Army, he joined the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and was based in northern Nigeria before taking up his role with the OSCE in Ukraine. A graduate from the Portuguese Higher Command and Staff Course, he also holds a Masters in International Relations.
Jamie Macpherson is a former Argyll and served between 1986 – 1992 as a Platoon Commander in the Falklands, Canada, Borneo and Germany plus a tour of Northern Ireland seconded to the Royal Hampshires. He completed his service as ADC to General Palmer at the NATO HQ in Oslo. Leaving the army, he worked with the private security company G4S which in 2012 took him to Iraq as Country Director. He managed over 2,000 expat and Iraqi staff delivering complex, armed close protection services to the oil industry in a country riven by internecine conflict and saw the rise of the Islamic State caliphate. In 2017, he was employed by the FCDO and seconded to the OSCE as a member of the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, managing a platoon-sized team operating on both sides of the 2014 Donbas line of contact. Over 4 years he conducted regular patrols before being directed to leave Ukraine five days before Russia’s invasion on 24 February 2022.



Timings –All talks will take place in The Colours’ Room located in The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum, Kings Old Building, Stirling Castle. Lectures will begin at 11.00am, last one hour with refreshments from 10.30am and after the event.

Tickets – Tickets are £12 each and can be purchased at the bottom of this page.
Free entry to Stirling Castle is available as a concession for Argyll Museum ‘Guardians’, Regimental Association members, Historic Environment Scotland members, those in HM Forces, and Stirling Ancient Burgh residents. However, all need to book a gratis entrance ticket online at the Stirling Castle web site https://www.stirlingcastle.scot/visit/tickets/ beforehand. Otherwise the Castle admission fee will be charged. Failure to do so may result in not getting entrance to the event.
Parking- If you wish to park on the Esplanade you will have to purchase a parking ticket. Free parking may be available on Ballengeich Pass/Upper Castlehill Road.
Further Information- If you require further information, please email Andy Hay at museum@argylls.co.uk