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Geopolitical And Security Issues Policy Paper 0
GEOPOLITICAL AND SECURITY ISSUES POLICY PAPER
U.S. Caucus in the Parliament of Ukraine
May 2016
Geopolitical And Security Issues Policy Paper 1
BACKGROUND
1. Defusing Ukraine’s Nuclear Arsenal in the early 1990s
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the newly independent Ukraine inherited the
world's third largest nuclear arsenal, including some 1,900 strategic nuclear warheads that
had been designed to attack the United States. It is well-known that Ukraine was persuaded by
the US (supported by the UK) to give up its nuclear arsenal, the single most solid guarantee of
its security, territorial integrity and importance in global affairs, in exchange for guarantees of
its sovereignty and borders.
Working in a trilateral dialogue with Ukrainian and Russian negotiators, the United
States diplomats brokered a deal - the January 1994 Trilateral Statement - under which Ukraine
agreed to transfer all of the strategic nuclear warheads to Russia for elimination and to
dismantle all of the strategic delivery systems on its territory.
Making a great concession, in December 1994 Ukraine agreed to sign the Budapest
Memorandum on Security Assurances in Connection with Ukraine’s Accession to the Treaty on
the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons along with the USA, UK and Russia (the latter three
being the depositary states of the Non-Proliferation Treaty). Under the terms of the
Memorandum, Ukraine agreed to join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
as a non-nuclear state.
However, being aware of the existential Russian threat to its independence, sovereignty
and territorial integrity Ukraine only agreed to give up its nuclear weapons on the condition
that the country received security guarantees or assurances from major nuclear powers - the
USA, UK and Russia. These included commitments to respect Ukraine's independence,
sovereignty and existing borders; to refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine's
territorial integrity and independence; and to refrain from economic coercion against Ukraine.
The memorandum bundled together a set of assurances that Ukraine already held from
the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) Final Act, United Nations
Charter and Non-Proliferation Treaty. Ukraine nevertheless found it extremely important to
have these assurances in a Ukraine-specific document.
A question at the time arose over whether to use the term "guarantees" or "assurances" in
the memorandum. The United States provides guarantees to allies, such as NATO member
states; the term implies a military commitment. In the early 1990s, neither the George Bush
administration nor the Clinton administration was prepared to extend a military commitment to
Ukraine and both felt that the Senate would not produce the needed two-thirds vote for
ratification of such a treaty.
The Russian actions against Ukraine in 2014-16 – military occupation and illegal
annexation of Crimea, and war of aggression in Eastern Ukraine – have been in blatant
violation of the Budapest Memorandum, as well as Russia's commitments under the CSCE
Final Act and a 1997 bilateral Ukraine-Russia treaty. As a signatory, the United States has an
obligation to respond, even if it is not obligated to respond with military force.
2. Failure of Ukraine’s Security Policies in 1991-2013
Russia’s war against Ukraine is a result of not only the policies of the Kremlin empire-
minded chauvinists led by Vladimir Putin, but also of strategic miscalculations and the
irresponsibility of Ukrainian political elites throughout the years of Ukraine’s independence.
The Constitution and laws of Ukraine place national security in the scope of
responsibility of, first and foremost, the President. However, none of the Ukrainian presidents
have paid adequate attention to this issue. Moreover, each and every one of them contributed to
the deterioration of the Ukrainian armed forces and their defense capabilities.
Geopolitical And Security Issues Policy Paper 2
Under President Leonid Kuchma, the National Guard created in 1991 was abolished,
even though it was a multifunctional battle-ready military formation that consisted of patriotic
and experienced officers, a core of modern armed forces of Ukraine. Instead, Leonid Kuchma
opted for the armed forces that were a cut-back version of the huge portion of the Soviet army
left on Ukrainian territory after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Government was cutting
military spending, thus ruling out its rearmament with modern weapons and equipment.
Under President Viktor Yushchenko, underfunding of the Ukrainian armed forces grew to
a large extent, despite obvious and open manifestation of hostility by Russia towards Ukraine.
The peak of the destruction of the entire sector of Ukraine's national security
occurred under President Viktor Yanukovych. Russian special services and agents
infiltrated government structures at all levels and contributed to the deterioration and ruin of
the Army and the Navy, foreign intelligence and counterintelligence, the Security Service of
Ukraine (SBU) and the National Security and Defense Council.
3. Russia’s Strategy towards Ukraine
For years, Ukraine's top political and military leadership pursued the illusion of a possible
strategic partnership with Russia. Meanwhile, the Kremlin has been consistently implementing
a policy aimed at destroying Ukraine. It essentially had two scenarios: Plan A - for the
gradual and "peaceful" destruction of Ukraine, and Plan B - for a one-time conquest by
force.
The former plan was envisaged as a "humanitarian" aggression and the use of soft rather
than hard, military power to destroy Ukrainian identity, a fundamental formative element of
any national State. Russia has been conducting its "humanitarian" aggression in several
directions simultaneously: by inspiring and waging informational, propagandistic, linguistic,
cultural, historiosophic and religious wars.
The Yanukovych regime was Russia’s best partner in its "humanitarian" aggression
against Ukraine. Controlled by Russian special services, it pursued anti-Ukrainian
"humanitarian" policies. In other words, it was a wide-scale consistent special operation to
eliminate the constitutionally established fundamental elements of Ukraine's statehood, and to
turn it into a denationalized and powerless part of a so called "Russian World."
"Humanitarian" aggression could only be successful if Ukraine were fenced off from the
West and remained in Russia’s orbit of power. Therefore, the Kremlin made sure that
Yanukovych opted for the non-aligned status for Ukraine, and that he rejected the Association
Agreement with the EU.
The fall of the Yanukovych regime, the determination of the new Ukrainian
government to resume its European integration policy, and the possibility of Ukraine joining
the EU and NATO in the future, pushed Russia to Plan B.
Moscow was obviously aware of the poor condition of the Ukrainian Army, yet it clearly
underestimated the aspiration of Ukrainians for freedom, and their determination and ability to
resist. Sadly, Ukraine’s political and military leaders failed to organize immediate resistance to
Russia’s aggression shortly after it began in February 2014. As a result, Ukraine lost Crimea
and control over parts of Ukraine-Russia border territories in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts,
through which Russian mercenaries, diversionists and regular Russian Army units infiltrated
into Ukraine.
Thanks to the heroic dedication of the Ukrainian armed forces, the National Guard, which
was set up under the umbrella of the Interior Ministry, and the volunteer battalions, the
aggressor was stopped and large parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts were liberated from
the occupant.
Geopolitical And Security Issues Policy Paper 3
4. Russia’s Existential Threat to Ukraine and Threat to International Order
Today, Ukraine's elites and society, along with members of the international community,
must realize that Russia is waging a total (although hybrid in methods) war against
Ukraine and, at the same time, is testing the readiness and ability of Western democracies
to resist the Kremlin's revisionist, revanchist and expansionist plans.
Russia's ultimate goal is neither to annex parts of Ukrainian territory nor to deprive
Ukraine of the right to make its own civilization choice, but rather to destroy Ukrainian
statehood as such. Therefore, the top priorities on the national security agenda for Ukraine
must include:
1) revival of the entire national security sector,
2) formulation and implementation of a Ukrainocentric humanitarian policy as a tool of
resistance to Russian "humanitarian" aggression,
3) implementation of programs for European and NATO integration with full-scale
membership as the ultimate goal, and
4) development of a consolidated official legal position on resistance to the Russian
aggression and overcoming of its consequences.
The Russian aggression is violating international law and order, threatening global
security and undermining the nuclear non-proliferation regime. It jeopardizes every
member of the international community. In resisting Russian aggression, Ukraine is at the same
time fighting for the West and its values.
If the Western democracies care about their own security, they should stand shoulder to
shoulder with Ukraine to resist the aggressor with the aim of defending common civilizational
values, world peace and international law and order.
KEY CHALLENGES
1. Western wishful thinking on Russia
The West underestimates the danger Russia poses, both now and in the future, due to an
incomplete understanding of Russia’s nature.
Russians, on the other hand, understand the nature of the West far better, but do not
perceive it as their own and consider the West their existential enemy.
Western politicians engage in wishful thinking and self-deception, perceiving Russia
as a normal state, and assuming that Russia will ever follow rules that work in the
civilized world.
Playing cards with Russia the Western world knows it’s up against a cheater, but for
whatever reason, again and again, it naively believes Russia will play by the rules.
2. The policy of appeasement of the aggressor - the Russian Federation - is wrong
As Europe’s historical experience shows, the policy of appeasement of the aggressor,
which is unfortunately again widely supported in Europe, is extremely harmful.
The proponents of this approach mostly belong to a limited cohort of obvious cynics -
European politicians who are extremely sensitive to Russia’s whims and who due to their
ideological narrow-mindedness or anti-Americanism, pettiness, greed or cowardice have
chosen for themselves the role of the "fifth column" of the Kremlin in Europe.
Meanwhile, there are many of those who seek peace at any price, and who are ready to
yield to Putin for the economic benefits that it might bring to their countries. They cling to the
erroneous policy of appeasement of the aggressor, and stubbornly continue their attempts to
satisfy Putin’s appetites with small pieces of territory (Crimea) and political concessions on
Geopolitical And Security Issues Policy Paper 4
Ukraine’s sovereignty, including the constitutional system of Ukraine (among them an
autonomy of Donbas).
However, attempts of appeasement do not work; they further provoke the aggressor
and lead to incitement of war. Putin only understands force!
We would like to point out to our international partners the necessity to remember and
consider historic lessons on the consequences of the policy of appeasing Nazi Germany in the
1930s by the leaders of democratic Europe – France and the United Kingdom, which ultimately
failed to secure peace and led to World War II.
In pursuit of peace on the basis of appeasement of the aggressor Europeans may
benefit in the short term, but strategically Europe and the West will lose. This policy only
shows weakness and readiness to cede to intimidation, and therefore encourages the aggressor
to further action and fuels the potential for a greater war in Europe.
2. Putin’s actual strategic aim – Yalta-2, a new division of the spheres of influence
Make no mistake, in reality Putin does not need any peace process at Minsk-2 or
elsewhere, he wants the division of the world at Yalta-2.
In his dream Putin, like a new Stalin, hopes to strike a big deal with U.S. President
Barack Obama (or the next president) and German chancellor Angela Merkel (or the next
chancellor), instead of Roosevelt and Churchill, on a new division of the spheres of influence in
Europe like at Yalta-1.
This cannot be allowed to happen.
3. Putin’s tactical and strategic objectives at Minsk
The tactical goal of Putin at Minsk both in September 2014 and in February 2015 was to
stop the expansion of the Western sanctions against Russia.
Putin’s strategic goal at Minsk is to form a “cancer tumor” in Ukraine through the
special status of Donbas under the control of the Kremlin that would “metastasize” to
other regions. This “spread of cancer” should weaken and poison Ukraine’s healthy organism,
and keep the nation from moving towards a civilized life as an anchor.
Putin wants to have a veto power over Ukraine’s geopolitical choice and the
implementation of its European course. If we give in now, he will increase military pressure
and blackmail until he gets what he wants. In a similar situation, in 1952 German chancellor
Konrad Adenauer rejected Stalin’s conditions for a reunification of Germany which was
achieved only almost 40 years later after the collapse of communism in the USSR.
4. Russia’s aggression undermines the global nuclear non-proliferation regime
We point out to the international community and the signatory states of the “Treaty on
the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons” of July 1, 1968, that the use of force against the
territorial integrity and borders, the violation of the sovereignty and independence, the use of
economic coercion by a nuclear state, Russia, despite its commitments under the Budapest
Memorandum, against Ukraine, a state that voluntarily surrendered the third biggest nuclear
arsenal in the world (about 1900 nuclear warheads) and acceded to the Treaty as a non-nuclear
state, undermines the entire global nuclear non-proliferation regime, and prompts other
states vulnerable to outside threats and dangers to view nuclear weapons as a legitimate way
of deterrence against aggression.
The Budapest Memorandum’s core issue was nuclear non-proliferation, the single
most serious issue for the world’s collective security. How then can the Budapest
Memorandum not be taken seriously? Who will trust the US and its allies when they urge the
states seeking nuclear weapons to abandon this goal in exchange for guarantees?
Geopolitical And Security Issues Policy Paper 5
No level of irresponsibility, first and foremost by the world’s major super-powers, can be
tolerated on this issue.
In fact there are numerous international-law documents on respect of borders and
territorial integrity of the states (in particular the obligations Russia undertook on multinational,
trilateral and bilateral levels to respect the borders in general and to respect the borders and
territorial integrity of Ukraine in particular), but the Budapest Memorandum focuses
specifically on the non-proliferation issue, and contains specific commitments, given
specifically by the US and the UK in exchange for specific commitments by Ukraine.
If Washington and London do not stand firmly by the Budapest Memorandum now, it
will fully discredit the idea of security assurances in defusing nuclear proliferation cases.
SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA
1. Ukraine is grateful to the United States for an unambiguous response to Russian
military aggression and the crucial role the US played in imposing political and economic (both
personal and sectoral) sanctions against Russia that were joined by Europe and Canada.
2. However, despite the sanctions, Russia has not renounced aggression.
Sanctions definitely helped Ukraine limit the scale of the aggression, but they have not
forced Russia to fully abandon it. The aggression continues, and the international rule of law
and legal order are ruined.
According to both international law and Ukraine’s position – Russia’s aggression is
ongoing for as long as part of Donbas, as well as Crimea are under occupation.
3. We conclude that to restore international rule of law and our territorial integrity
it is necessary to strengthen sanctions.
There is no indication that Russia will adhere to international law and order, or even to
the severely limited "Minsk agreements."
Therefore, Ukraine would greatly appreciate if sanctions were expanded and
strengthened.
Such a decision would be in line not only with the vital national interests of Ukraine,
but also with the crucial long-term interests of the United States and the entire
democratic world.
Supporting Notes
1. Russia is a threat not only to Ukraine, but to the entire Western world as well.
With regard to Ukraine, Russia’s goal is complete annihilation of Ukraine as a sovereign
national unit, a subject of international law and a geopolitical reality.
Russia’s global goal is:
- destroying the unity of Europe and bringing about its fragmentation, and
- destroying the unity of the Euro-Atlantic world and isolating the US and Europe from each
other.
The conclusion that arises from analyzing the statements made by high-ranking Russian
officials and the media outlets they control: the USA is Russia’s enemy number one. Russian
society is being prepared for a cold (however not limited to cold) war against the US, similar to
the Soviet Union era.
Russia wants to impose its will on the world. And in order to do that – destroy the current
world order, and act from a position of strength.
Geopolitical And Security Issues Policy Paper 6
Therefore, the issue of sanctions should be considered in a wider context, rather
than simply as helping Ukraine.
Effectively ensuring regional and global security in the future would be facilitated if
the US could mobilize the world community to impose stronger sanctions in order to
prevent further acts of aggression by Russia.
We should jointly consider how to explain it to Europeans.
2. Ukraine is not calling for a war of the civilized world against Russia. We believe that
the US and the rest of the civilized world have sufficient resources and tools to force Russia to
respect international law and restore world order.
We certainly understand that imposing massive economic and political sanctions leads to
certain economic losses and causes inconveniences.
However, the Western world will pay significantly more, and not only in terms of the
economy, if Russia feels impunity and begins using armed forces against Western
countries – starting with the Baltic States and Poland.
This cannot be ruled out in view of Russia’s large-scale rearmament program, the tenets
of their new doctrine and the campaign of hate against the US and the Western world
systematically carried out by the government-controlled media.
3. Imposing more stringent sanctions will lead to a temporary aggravation of relations
and may cause blackmail by Russia on the possibility of using nuclear weapons. But it won’t
happen, because today even the military potential of Russia, not to mention its economy, is
much weaker than that of the Western world.
Therefore, intensive and systematic use of harsh political and economic sanctions
could provide fast and effective results. Aggravation would not last long.
Western economic losses would be minimal, but the political gains of the West
would be enormous.
4. The West should not fear the collapse of Russia. The military risks due to such
sanctions, even in the case of Russia’s dissolution, would be minimal.
Of course, certain measures will be required against the potential proliferation of Russian
weapons of mass destruction.
The parallel here is the collapse of the USSR. Then too, the fear was that Soviet weapons
of mass destruction would fall into different unpredictable hands.
Just as then, it can be controlled and handled.
5. The most effective and most rapid effect could be achieved not by way of a
mechanical expansion of existing sanctions, but by the disconnection of Russian banks
from the SWIFT system and supplying energy resources from the US to Europe.
Or at least a declaration of intent by the US to disconnect Russia from the SWIFT
system.
6. Another equivalent of strengthened sanctions would be the US providing Ukraine with
significant military assistance.
We are not asking to fight for us, we can and we are doing it ourselves.
Providing Ukraine with lethal defensive weapons would help deter and contain the
aggressor and would accelerate a real diplomatic solution. In fact, a properly equipped
Ukrainian army will help achieve a diplomatic solution.
7. The US places the utmost importance on maintaining Euro-Atlantic unity, in particular
because the effectiveness of sanctions depends on it.
Geopolitical And Security Issues Policy Paper 7
In view of that, we would ask the US Administration to initiate North Atlantic Council
decisions on:
- coordinating the strengthening of sanctions against Russia by NATO member-states;
- providing assistance to Ukraine, in particular, selling lethal defensive weapons by
certain NATO members.
ASSISTING UKRAINE WITH DEFENSE WEAPONS
In the past two years there has been an extensive discussion in the US about assisting
Ukraine with defense weapons. In early 2015 a consensus was formed in the expert community
that this was high time for the US to do so.
This conclusion was confirmed in the 2015 report Preserving Ukraine’s Independence,
Resisting Russian Aggression: What the United States and NATO Must Do, released by three
leading US think-tanks and co-authored by eight respected senior US diplomatic and military
officials.
The same call had been repeatedly made by individual US lawmakers, culminating with
an appeal to President Obama by a bipartisan group of Senators urging him to provide defense
weapons to Ukraine in the face of ongoing Russian military aggression. As US lawmakers
stated in their appeal to President Obama: “a change in our response is also needed.”
The solid legal and moral ground for such measures is evident: the Budapest
Memorandum on Security Assurances in Connection with Ukraine's Accession to the Treaty on
the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
BUDAPEST MEMORANDUM AS THE GENUINE BASIS FOR ANY
INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS
1. There is no doubt that Ukraine has delivered on its commitments under the Budapest
Memorandum on its nuclear disarmament fully and in a good faith.
The technical and legal intricacies of the Memorandum’s language can be discussed ad
nauseam, but nothing can change its bottom-line: the three signatories – the US, the UK and
Russia – confirmed and reaffirmed “their commitment to Ukraine … to respect the
independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.”
Thus, the US, which spearheaded the effort to take the nuclear arsenal away from
Ukraine and transfer it to Russia, publicly undertook the responsibility for the territorial
integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.
The two guarantors, the US and the UK, are in a possession of overwhelming and
undeniable evidence of continuing violation by Russia of “sovereignty and the existing borders
of Ukraine,” first by occupying and annexing Crimea, and then by invading and waging war in
Eastern Ukraine.
Unfortunately, until now the Budapest Memorandum has been sidelined because the US
and the UK joined Germany and France in a general undertaking of diplomatic and economic
measures to end Russian aggression against Ukraine. These measures are obviously failing.
It is time for the US to honestly confront its responsibility and deliver on its
commitments under the Budapest Memorandum, and for the UK, as its co-signatory, to put
similar measures into action.
As to other European allies, such as Germany, the Budapest Memorandum gives them
flexibility to join or not to join these particular US measures, but it does not give them
flexibility to oppose them, or to prevent the US and the UK from fulfilling their legal and moral
commitments.
Geopolitical And Security Issues Policy Paper 8
2. The Budapest Memorandum is a perfect legal and moral basis for the West and the
US to provide Ukraine with full-fledged large-scale military assistance, including
sophisticated lethal weapons, in particular because other mechanisms to a large extent have
been exhausted with no result.
The efforts by Germany and France to broker a peace deal may or may not be successful,
but if a peace deal is achieved, the US assistance with defense weapons will be part of the
solution and will safeguard any potential peace deal.
We hope that, guided by the desire for peace, Europe shall not impede the adoption by
the US Administration of the extremely important decision to supply modern defensive
weapons to Ukraine. All “Minsk Agreements” are worthless without a strong well-armed
Ukrainian army, since those agreements will not be upheld by the aggressor-state.
3. In addition, the US and UK could put into action other protection mechanisms
based on their commitments under the Budapest Memorandum:
1) systematically hold consultations, according to Article 6 of the Budapest
Memorandum until the cessation of Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine and violation of
Ukraine’s sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity;
2) find a way to use the mechanisms of the United Nations according to Article 4 of the
Budapest Memorandum, in particular the mechanisms of the United Nations General
Assembly, in order to provide aid to Ukraine that became a victim of an act of aggression by
Russia, including implementing international sanctions against the aggressor-state and
appealing to the UN International Court of Justice;
3) implement all possible international measures of political, economic and military
nature in order to ensure strict adherence to the security assurances and commitments of the
Budapest Memorandum by its signatory state - the Russian Federation, in particular:
- strengthening the existing and implementing new sectoral sanctions against Russia;
- supporting and accelerating Ukraine’s integration with NATO, including providing
Ukraine with a Membership Action Plan.
DEFEATING RUSSIA IN A SECOND COLD WAR
Statements by Russian top officials on a new cold war have to be considered seriously as
an open declaration by Russia of what it has been doing for the past two years. Moscow wages
a hybrid war in Ukraine, Syria and Europe against the entire Euro-Atlantic civilization;
occasionally a “hot” one, but in general a “cold” revanchist war.
In our view, Europe and the USA have no choice, but to defeat Russia once more in a
second Cold War. As it was once done 25 years ago.
OUR VISION OF THE WAY FORWARD
- It’s necessary to move away from the policy of appeasement of the aggressor to a policy
of full deterrence and containment of the aggressor;
- expanding and even strengthening sanctions to impose truly significant costs on Russia,
both for the armed aggression in the east, and the annexation of Crimea, in particular to
introduce new, tougher economic sanctions;
- providing Ukraine with full-fledged large-scale military assistance, including
sophisticated lethal weapons;
- reviving the “Geneva” format of international negotiations representing Ukraine, the
United States of America, the European Union and the Russian Federation, as well as
expanding it to include other relevant parties, in particular the signatory states of the Budapest
Memorandum (UK) and Ukraine’s neighboring states, e.g. Poland and Turkey;
Geopolitical And Security Issues Policy Paper 9
- adoption by the European Union and its member states of a strategic political decision
in favor of Ukraine as an integral part of the European civilization and allocation of the
necessary resources – political, financial, economic, military and humanitarian – for Ukraine’s
full-fledged European integration;
- finally, pacifying the revisionist, revanchist and military aggressive Russia, as well as
bringing it to respect international law and order, which in the long run will require defeating
Russia in a second Cold War as it was once done 25 years ago.
______________________ ______________________
Viktor Halasiuk
Co-chair of U.S. Caucus,
Chair of the Committee on Industrial Policy and
Entrepreneurship
Parliament of Ukraine
Viktor Chumak
Co-chair of U.S. Caucus,
Deputy Chair of the Committee on Corruption
Prevention and Counteraction
Parliament of Ukraine

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Geopolitical and Security Issues Policy Paper

  • 1. Geopolitical And Security Issues Policy Paper 0 GEOPOLITICAL AND SECURITY ISSUES POLICY PAPER U.S. Caucus in the Parliament of Ukraine May 2016
  • 2. Geopolitical And Security Issues Policy Paper 1 BACKGROUND 1. Defusing Ukraine’s Nuclear Arsenal in the early 1990s When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the newly independent Ukraine inherited the world's third largest nuclear arsenal, including some 1,900 strategic nuclear warheads that had been designed to attack the United States. It is well-known that Ukraine was persuaded by the US (supported by the UK) to give up its nuclear arsenal, the single most solid guarantee of its security, territorial integrity and importance in global affairs, in exchange for guarantees of its sovereignty and borders. Working in a trilateral dialogue with Ukrainian and Russian negotiators, the United States diplomats brokered a deal - the January 1994 Trilateral Statement - under which Ukraine agreed to transfer all of the strategic nuclear warheads to Russia for elimination and to dismantle all of the strategic delivery systems on its territory. Making a great concession, in December 1994 Ukraine agreed to sign the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances in Connection with Ukraine’s Accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons along with the USA, UK and Russia (the latter three being the depositary states of the Non-Proliferation Treaty). Under the terms of the Memorandum, Ukraine agreed to join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a non-nuclear state. However, being aware of the existential Russian threat to its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity Ukraine only agreed to give up its nuclear weapons on the condition that the country received security guarantees or assurances from major nuclear powers - the USA, UK and Russia. These included commitments to respect Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and existing borders; to refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine's territorial integrity and independence; and to refrain from economic coercion against Ukraine. The memorandum bundled together a set of assurances that Ukraine already held from the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) Final Act, United Nations Charter and Non-Proliferation Treaty. Ukraine nevertheless found it extremely important to have these assurances in a Ukraine-specific document. A question at the time arose over whether to use the term "guarantees" or "assurances" in the memorandum. The United States provides guarantees to allies, such as NATO member states; the term implies a military commitment. In the early 1990s, neither the George Bush administration nor the Clinton administration was prepared to extend a military commitment to Ukraine and both felt that the Senate would not produce the needed two-thirds vote for ratification of such a treaty. The Russian actions against Ukraine in 2014-16 – military occupation and illegal annexation of Crimea, and war of aggression in Eastern Ukraine – have been in blatant violation of the Budapest Memorandum, as well as Russia's commitments under the CSCE Final Act and a 1997 bilateral Ukraine-Russia treaty. As a signatory, the United States has an obligation to respond, even if it is not obligated to respond with military force. 2. Failure of Ukraine’s Security Policies in 1991-2013 Russia’s war against Ukraine is a result of not only the policies of the Kremlin empire- minded chauvinists led by Vladimir Putin, but also of strategic miscalculations and the irresponsibility of Ukrainian political elites throughout the years of Ukraine’s independence. The Constitution and laws of Ukraine place national security in the scope of responsibility of, first and foremost, the President. However, none of the Ukrainian presidents have paid adequate attention to this issue. Moreover, each and every one of them contributed to the deterioration of the Ukrainian armed forces and their defense capabilities.
  • 3. Geopolitical And Security Issues Policy Paper 2 Under President Leonid Kuchma, the National Guard created in 1991 was abolished, even though it was a multifunctional battle-ready military formation that consisted of patriotic and experienced officers, a core of modern armed forces of Ukraine. Instead, Leonid Kuchma opted for the armed forces that were a cut-back version of the huge portion of the Soviet army left on Ukrainian territory after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Government was cutting military spending, thus ruling out its rearmament with modern weapons and equipment. Under President Viktor Yushchenko, underfunding of the Ukrainian armed forces grew to a large extent, despite obvious and open manifestation of hostility by Russia towards Ukraine. The peak of the destruction of the entire sector of Ukraine's national security occurred under President Viktor Yanukovych. Russian special services and agents infiltrated government structures at all levels and contributed to the deterioration and ruin of the Army and the Navy, foreign intelligence and counterintelligence, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the National Security and Defense Council. 3. Russia’s Strategy towards Ukraine For years, Ukraine's top political and military leadership pursued the illusion of a possible strategic partnership with Russia. Meanwhile, the Kremlin has been consistently implementing a policy aimed at destroying Ukraine. It essentially had two scenarios: Plan A - for the gradual and "peaceful" destruction of Ukraine, and Plan B - for a one-time conquest by force. The former plan was envisaged as a "humanitarian" aggression and the use of soft rather than hard, military power to destroy Ukrainian identity, a fundamental formative element of any national State. Russia has been conducting its "humanitarian" aggression in several directions simultaneously: by inspiring and waging informational, propagandistic, linguistic, cultural, historiosophic and religious wars. The Yanukovych regime was Russia’s best partner in its "humanitarian" aggression against Ukraine. Controlled by Russian special services, it pursued anti-Ukrainian "humanitarian" policies. In other words, it was a wide-scale consistent special operation to eliminate the constitutionally established fundamental elements of Ukraine's statehood, and to turn it into a denationalized and powerless part of a so called "Russian World." "Humanitarian" aggression could only be successful if Ukraine were fenced off from the West and remained in Russia’s orbit of power. Therefore, the Kremlin made sure that Yanukovych opted for the non-aligned status for Ukraine, and that he rejected the Association Agreement with the EU. The fall of the Yanukovych regime, the determination of the new Ukrainian government to resume its European integration policy, and the possibility of Ukraine joining the EU and NATO in the future, pushed Russia to Plan B. Moscow was obviously aware of the poor condition of the Ukrainian Army, yet it clearly underestimated the aspiration of Ukrainians for freedom, and their determination and ability to resist. Sadly, Ukraine’s political and military leaders failed to organize immediate resistance to Russia’s aggression shortly after it began in February 2014. As a result, Ukraine lost Crimea and control over parts of Ukraine-Russia border territories in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, through which Russian mercenaries, diversionists and regular Russian Army units infiltrated into Ukraine. Thanks to the heroic dedication of the Ukrainian armed forces, the National Guard, which was set up under the umbrella of the Interior Ministry, and the volunteer battalions, the aggressor was stopped and large parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts were liberated from the occupant.
  • 4. Geopolitical And Security Issues Policy Paper 3 4. Russia’s Existential Threat to Ukraine and Threat to International Order Today, Ukraine's elites and society, along with members of the international community, must realize that Russia is waging a total (although hybrid in methods) war against Ukraine and, at the same time, is testing the readiness and ability of Western democracies to resist the Kremlin's revisionist, revanchist and expansionist plans. Russia's ultimate goal is neither to annex parts of Ukrainian territory nor to deprive Ukraine of the right to make its own civilization choice, but rather to destroy Ukrainian statehood as such. Therefore, the top priorities on the national security agenda for Ukraine must include: 1) revival of the entire national security sector, 2) formulation and implementation of a Ukrainocentric humanitarian policy as a tool of resistance to Russian "humanitarian" aggression, 3) implementation of programs for European and NATO integration with full-scale membership as the ultimate goal, and 4) development of a consolidated official legal position on resistance to the Russian aggression and overcoming of its consequences. The Russian aggression is violating international law and order, threatening global security and undermining the nuclear non-proliferation regime. It jeopardizes every member of the international community. In resisting Russian aggression, Ukraine is at the same time fighting for the West and its values. If the Western democracies care about their own security, they should stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine to resist the aggressor with the aim of defending common civilizational values, world peace and international law and order. KEY CHALLENGES 1. Western wishful thinking on Russia The West underestimates the danger Russia poses, both now and in the future, due to an incomplete understanding of Russia’s nature. Russians, on the other hand, understand the nature of the West far better, but do not perceive it as their own and consider the West their existential enemy. Western politicians engage in wishful thinking and self-deception, perceiving Russia as a normal state, and assuming that Russia will ever follow rules that work in the civilized world. Playing cards with Russia the Western world knows it’s up against a cheater, but for whatever reason, again and again, it naively believes Russia will play by the rules. 2. The policy of appeasement of the aggressor - the Russian Federation - is wrong As Europe’s historical experience shows, the policy of appeasement of the aggressor, which is unfortunately again widely supported in Europe, is extremely harmful. The proponents of this approach mostly belong to a limited cohort of obvious cynics - European politicians who are extremely sensitive to Russia’s whims and who due to their ideological narrow-mindedness or anti-Americanism, pettiness, greed or cowardice have chosen for themselves the role of the "fifth column" of the Kremlin in Europe. Meanwhile, there are many of those who seek peace at any price, and who are ready to yield to Putin for the economic benefits that it might bring to their countries. They cling to the erroneous policy of appeasement of the aggressor, and stubbornly continue their attempts to satisfy Putin’s appetites with small pieces of territory (Crimea) and political concessions on
  • 5. Geopolitical And Security Issues Policy Paper 4 Ukraine’s sovereignty, including the constitutional system of Ukraine (among them an autonomy of Donbas). However, attempts of appeasement do not work; they further provoke the aggressor and lead to incitement of war. Putin only understands force! We would like to point out to our international partners the necessity to remember and consider historic lessons on the consequences of the policy of appeasing Nazi Germany in the 1930s by the leaders of democratic Europe – France and the United Kingdom, which ultimately failed to secure peace and led to World War II. In pursuit of peace on the basis of appeasement of the aggressor Europeans may benefit in the short term, but strategically Europe and the West will lose. This policy only shows weakness and readiness to cede to intimidation, and therefore encourages the aggressor to further action and fuels the potential for a greater war in Europe. 2. Putin’s actual strategic aim – Yalta-2, a new division of the spheres of influence Make no mistake, in reality Putin does not need any peace process at Minsk-2 or elsewhere, he wants the division of the world at Yalta-2. In his dream Putin, like a new Stalin, hopes to strike a big deal with U.S. President Barack Obama (or the next president) and German chancellor Angela Merkel (or the next chancellor), instead of Roosevelt and Churchill, on a new division of the spheres of influence in Europe like at Yalta-1. This cannot be allowed to happen. 3. Putin’s tactical and strategic objectives at Minsk The tactical goal of Putin at Minsk both in September 2014 and in February 2015 was to stop the expansion of the Western sanctions against Russia. Putin’s strategic goal at Minsk is to form a “cancer tumor” in Ukraine through the special status of Donbas under the control of the Kremlin that would “metastasize” to other regions. This “spread of cancer” should weaken and poison Ukraine’s healthy organism, and keep the nation from moving towards a civilized life as an anchor. Putin wants to have a veto power over Ukraine’s geopolitical choice and the implementation of its European course. If we give in now, he will increase military pressure and blackmail until he gets what he wants. In a similar situation, in 1952 German chancellor Konrad Adenauer rejected Stalin’s conditions for a reunification of Germany which was achieved only almost 40 years later after the collapse of communism in the USSR. 4. Russia’s aggression undermines the global nuclear non-proliferation regime We point out to the international community and the signatory states of the “Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons” of July 1, 1968, that the use of force against the territorial integrity and borders, the violation of the sovereignty and independence, the use of economic coercion by a nuclear state, Russia, despite its commitments under the Budapest Memorandum, against Ukraine, a state that voluntarily surrendered the third biggest nuclear arsenal in the world (about 1900 nuclear warheads) and acceded to the Treaty as a non-nuclear state, undermines the entire global nuclear non-proliferation regime, and prompts other states vulnerable to outside threats and dangers to view nuclear weapons as a legitimate way of deterrence against aggression. The Budapest Memorandum’s core issue was nuclear non-proliferation, the single most serious issue for the world’s collective security. How then can the Budapest Memorandum not be taken seriously? Who will trust the US and its allies when they urge the states seeking nuclear weapons to abandon this goal in exchange for guarantees?
  • 6. Geopolitical And Security Issues Policy Paper 5 No level of irresponsibility, first and foremost by the world’s major super-powers, can be tolerated on this issue. In fact there are numerous international-law documents on respect of borders and territorial integrity of the states (in particular the obligations Russia undertook on multinational, trilateral and bilateral levels to respect the borders in general and to respect the borders and territorial integrity of Ukraine in particular), but the Budapest Memorandum focuses specifically on the non-proliferation issue, and contains specific commitments, given specifically by the US and the UK in exchange for specific commitments by Ukraine. If Washington and London do not stand firmly by the Budapest Memorandum now, it will fully discredit the idea of security assurances in defusing nuclear proliferation cases. SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA 1. Ukraine is grateful to the United States for an unambiguous response to Russian military aggression and the crucial role the US played in imposing political and economic (both personal and sectoral) sanctions against Russia that were joined by Europe and Canada. 2. However, despite the sanctions, Russia has not renounced aggression. Sanctions definitely helped Ukraine limit the scale of the aggression, but they have not forced Russia to fully abandon it. The aggression continues, and the international rule of law and legal order are ruined. According to both international law and Ukraine’s position – Russia’s aggression is ongoing for as long as part of Donbas, as well as Crimea are under occupation. 3. We conclude that to restore international rule of law and our territorial integrity it is necessary to strengthen sanctions. There is no indication that Russia will adhere to international law and order, or even to the severely limited "Minsk agreements." Therefore, Ukraine would greatly appreciate if sanctions were expanded and strengthened. Such a decision would be in line not only with the vital national interests of Ukraine, but also with the crucial long-term interests of the United States and the entire democratic world. Supporting Notes 1. Russia is a threat not only to Ukraine, but to the entire Western world as well. With regard to Ukraine, Russia’s goal is complete annihilation of Ukraine as a sovereign national unit, a subject of international law and a geopolitical reality. Russia’s global goal is: - destroying the unity of Europe and bringing about its fragmentation, and - destroying the unity of the Euro-Atlantic world and isolating the US and Europe from each other. The conclusion that arises from analyzing the statements made by high-ranking Russian officials and the media outlets they control: the USA is Russia’s enemy number one. Russian society is being prepared for a cold (however not limited to cold) war against the US, similar to the Soviet Union era. Russia wants to impose its will on the world. And in order to do that – destroy the current world order, and act from a position of strength.
  • 7. Geopolitical And Security Issues Policy Paper 6 Therefore, the issue of sanctions should be considered in a wider context, rather than simply as helping Ukraine. Effectively ensuring regional and global security in the future would be facilitated if the US could mobilize the world community to impose stronger sanctions in order to prevent further acts of aggression by Russia. We should jointly consider how to explain it to Europeans. 2. Ukraine is not calling for a war of the civilized world against Russia. We believe that the US and the rest of the civilized world have sufficient resources and tools to force Russia to respect international law and restore world order. We certainly understand that imposing massive economic and political sanctions leads to certain economic losses and causes inconveniences. However, the Western world will pay significantly more, and not only in terms of the economy, if Russia feels impunity and begins using armed forces against Western countries – starting with the Baltic States and Poland. This cannot be ruled out in view of Russia’s large-scale rearmament program, the tenets of their new doctrine and the campaign of hate against the US and the Western world systematically carried out by the government-controlled media. 3. Imposing more stringent sanctions will lead to a temporary aggravation of relations and may cause blackmail by Russia on the possibility of using nuclear weapons. But it won’t happen, because today even the military potential of Russia, not to mention its economy, is much weaker than that of the Western world. Therefore, intensive and systematic use of harsh political and economic sanctions could provide fast and effective results. Aggravation would not last long. Western economic losses would be minimal, but the political gains of the West would be enormous. 4. The West should not fear the collapse of Russia. The military risks due to such sanctions, even in the case of Russia’s dissolution, would be minimal. Of course, certain measures will be required against the potential proliferation of Russian weapons of mass destruction. The parallel here is the collapse of the USSR. Then too, the fear was that Soviet weapons of mass destruction would fall into different unpredictable hands. Just as then, it can be controlled and handled. 5. The most effective and most rapid effect could be achieved not by way of a mechanical expansion of existing sanctions, but by the disconnection of Russian banks from the SWIFT system and supplying energy resources from the US to Europe. Or at least a declaration of intent by the US to disconnect Russia from the SWIFT system. 6. Another equivalent of strengthened sanctions would be the US providing Ukraine with significant military assistance. We are not asking to fight for us, we can and we are doing it ourselves. Providing Ukraine with lethal defensive weapons would help deter and contain the aggressor and would accelerate a real diplomatic solution. In fact, a properly equipped Ukrainian army will help achieve a diplomatic solution. 7. The US places the utmost importance on maintaining Euro-Atlantic unity, in particular because the effectiveness of sanctions depends on it.
  • 8. Geopolitical And Security Issues Policy Paper 7 In view of that, we would ask the US Administration to initiate North Atlantic Council decisions on: - coordinating the strengthening of sanctions against Russia by NATO member-states; - providing assistance to Ukraine, in particular, selling lethal defensive weapons by certain NATO members. ASSISTING UKRAINE WITH DEFENSE WEAPONS In the past two years there has been an extensive discussion in the US about assisting Ukraine with defense weapons. In early 2015 a consensus was formed in the expert community that this was high time for the US to do so. This conclusion was confirmed in the 2015 report Preserving Ukraine’s Independence, Resisting Russian Aggression: What the United States and NATO Must Do, released by three leading US think-tanks and co-authored by eight respected senior US diplomatic and military officials. The same call had been repeatedly made by individual US lawmakers, culminating with an appeal to President Obama by a bipartisan group of Senators urging him to provide defense weapons to Ukraine in the face of ongoing Russian military aggression. As US lawmakers stated in their appeal to President Obama: “a change in our response is also needed.” The solid legal and moral ground for such measures is evident: the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances in Connection with Ukraine's Accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. BUDAPEST MEMORANDUM AS THE GENUINE BASIS FOR ANY INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS 1. There is no doubt that Ukraine has delivered on its commitments under the Budapest Memorandum on its nuclear disarmament fully and in a good faith. The technical and legal intricacies of the Memorandum’s language can be discussed ad nauseam, but nothing can change its bottom-line: the three signatories – the US, the UK and Russia – confirmed and reaffirmed “their commitment to Ukraine … to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.” Thus, the US, which spearheaded the effort to take the nuclear arsenal away from Ukraine and transfer it to Russia, publicly undertook the responsibility for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. The two guarantors, the US and the UK, are in a possession of overwhelming and undeniable evidence of continuing violation by Russia of “sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine,” first by occupying and annexing Crimea, and then by invading and waging war in Eastern Ukraine. Unfortunately, until now the Budapest Memorandum has been sidelined because the US and the UK joined Germany and France in a general undertaking of diplomatic and economic measures to end Russian aggression against Ukraine. These measures are obviously failing. It is time for the US to honestly confront its responsibility and deliver on its commitments under the Budapest Memorandum, and for the UK, as its co-signatory, to put similar measures into action. As to other European allies, such as Germany, the Budapest Memorandum gives them flexibility to join or not to join these particular US measures, but it does not give them flexibility to oppose them, or to prevent the US and the UK from fulfilling their legal and moral commitments.
  • 9. Geopolitical And Security Issues Policy Paper 8 2. The Budapest Memorandum is a perfect legal and moral basis for the West and the US to provide Ukraine with full-fledged large-scale military assistance, including sophisticated lethal weapons, in particular because other mechanisms to a large extent have been exhausted with no result. The efforts by Germany and France to broker a peace deal may or may not be successful, but if a peace deal is achieved, the US assistance with defense weapons will be part of the solution and will safeguard any potential peace deal. We hope that, guided by the desire for peace, Europe shall not impede the adoption by the US Administration of the extremely important decision to supply modern defensive weapons to Ukraine. All “Minsk Agreements” are worthless without a strong well-armed Ukrainian army, since those agreements will not be upheld by the aggressor-state. 3. In addition, the US and UK could put into action other protection mechanisms based on their commitments under the Budapest Memorandum: 1) systematically hold consultations, according to Article 6 of the Budapest Memorandum until the cessation of Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine and violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity; 2) find a way to use the mechanisms of the United Nations according to Article 4 of the Budapest Memorandum, in particular the mechanisms of the United Nations General Assembly, in order to provide aid to Ukraine that became a victim of an act of aggression by Russia, including implementing international sanctions against the aggressor-state and appealing to the UN International Court of Justice; 3) implement all possible international measures of political, economic and military nature in order to ensure strict adherence to the security assurances and commitments of the Budapest Memorandum by its signatory state - the Russian Federation, in particular: - strengthening the existing and implementing new sectoral sanctions against Russia; - supporting and accelerating Ukraine’s integration with NATO, including providing Ukraine with a Membership Action Plan. DEFEATING RUSSIA IN A SECOND COLD WAR Statements by Russian top officials on a new cold war have to be considered seriously as an open declaration by Russia of what it has been doing for the past two years. Moscow wages a hybrid war in Ukraine, Syria and Europe against the entire Euro-Atlantic civilization; occasionally a “hot” one, but in general a “cold” revanchist war. In our view, Europe and the USA have no choice, but to defeat Russia once more in a second Cold War. As it was once done 25 years ago. OUR VISION OF THE WAY FORWARD - It’s necessary to move away from the policy of appeasement of the aggressor to a policy of full deterrence and containment of the aggressor; - expanding and even strengthening sanctions to impose truly significant costs on Russia, both for the armed aggression in the east, and the annexation of Crimea, in particular to introduce new, tougher economic sanctions; - providing Ukraine with full-fledged large-scale military assistance, including sophisticated lethal weapons; - reviving the “Geneva” format of international negotiations representing Ukraine, the United States of America, the European Union and the Russian Federation, as well as expanding it to include other relevant parties, in particular the signatory states of the Budapest Memorandum (UK) and Ukraine’s neighboring states, e.g. Poland and Turkey;
  • 10. Geopolitical And Security Issues Policy Paper 9 - adoption by the European Union and its member states of a strategic political decision in favor of Ukraine as an integral part of the European civilization and allocation of the necessary resources – political, financial, economic, military and humanitarian – for Ukraine’s full-fledged European integration; - finally, pacifying the revisionist, revanchist and military aggressive Russia, as well as bringing it to respect international law and order, which in the long run will require defeating Russia in a second Cold War as it was once done 25 years ago. ______________________ ______________________ Viktor Halasiuk Co-chair of U.S. Caucus, Chair of the Committee on Industrial Policy and Entrepreneurship Parliament of Ukraine Viktor Chumak Co-chair of U.S. Caucus, Deputy Chair of the Committee on Corruption Prevention and Counteraction Parliament of Ukraine