Russia trashes US-Russian-British Memorandum on Ukraine

Ukrainian soldiers on board the navy ship “Slavutich” stand guard as they look out at Russian forces patrolling in the harbor of Sevastopol

From day one of Russia’s assault on Ukraine (ongoing since February 27), Ukrainian government leaders, politicians and diplomats have continually invoked the 1994 Budapest Memorandum signed by Ukraine, the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom.

That Memorandum is widely believed to provide security “guarantees” to Ukraine and a mechanism to activate them by “guarantor” powers, in the event of Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity being threatened.

International mass media are also widely referencing “guarantees” to Ukraine under the Budapest Memorandum; while Washington and London have feebly attempted to engage Moscow in some dialogue based on that document.

Russia’s unopposed seizure of Crimea, and open threats to extend the conflict deeper into Ukraine, have tested the Budapest Memorandum and proved it to be useless. By perpetuating an illusion of security guarantees, the Memorandum has contributed to distracting Ukraine from developing a common security agenda with the West while the opportunities existed.