Espreso. Global

Budapest Memorandum wind is blowing through security agreement between Ukraine and UK— Ukrainian politician and diplomat Bezsmertnyi

29 January, 2024 Monday

Ukrainian politician Roman Bezsmertnyi emphasizes the financial viability of the agreement between UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy remains uncertain until it is ratified by both countries' parliaments

He said this in an interview with Anton Borkovskyi on Espreso TV.

The story of the Il-76 downing in the Belgorod region is extremely complex. How do you think the Russians will try to use it for their purposes now?

Obviously, this story is not played out to the end; its essence from the very beginning lies in the combination of several factors that will not allow the Russians to leave this matter outside of informational attention. The first and very important factor is the international component. It is rightly noted that this plane was flying a very interesting route Egypt - Syria - Russia. The fragmented information leaks that were present provide grounds to discuss quite serious matters in this regard. Moreover, it should be remembered that significant events were taking place in both Egypt and Syria at that time.

Secondly, the group of negotiators who did not board the plane is also a crucial fact. This speaks to the fact that

“Russia has significant problems in its communication system and in ensuring the security of these communications, not to mention the security system as a whole.”

The third thing is the progress of the exchange of war prisoners. This is another very important factor. Moscow, led by the leader, is seeking any way to undermine this situation and blame Ukraine for it.

And the fourth crucial thing is that

“there is no more critical fact in Russia's war against Ukraine today than information-psychological attacks.”

Every fact, especially one like this, Russia will use to accuse Ukraine of the most severe and oppressive crimes.

I encourage everyone interested in this segment to find materials available in both video and text formats regarding the briefing at the White House that took place approximately an hour after this information emerged. Pay special attention to the journalist's question to John Kirby (Coordinator of Strategic Communications for the U.S. National Security Council) during that briefing. The journalist implies that Ukraine might be violating humanitarian principles in conducting the war and asks what Kirby can say about it. It is evident that, for the Moscow leader, any fact in this war will be used as a kind of information attack.

In this regard, it is necessary to address Ukrainian journalists, especially those who cover this sphere, who write about it. For the sake of professional interest, I've monitored who wrote what, and there's a range of opinions. I just want to say to all these professionals:

“that the Ukrainian army adheres to the norms of international humanitarian law. Every soldier is instructed in this regard.”

Any officer making decisions in such a situation cannot order a shot unless they are convinced that the attack is directed at a military or war-related target. This is thoroughly studied in the relevant instructional discussions within the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Therefore, from the very beginning, considering that there was an order to shoot a non-military target is not permissible. There should be a principled position: if such a fact comes into your informational field, immediately reject it at the start because it can be referred to in popular literature as an excess, not a systematic command given in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

We immediately understand that the Kremlin is signaling that, supposedly, American weapons may be used in Ukraine. However, questions regarding the use of long-range systems, for example, on the territory of Russia, are still somewhat unregulated, and the Americans have not yet matured to address these issues.

I mentioned the story about the briefing at the White House not by accident. Confirmation of your words, including the recent statement by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that they are considering supplying Ukraine with long-range Taurus missiles, but have reservations that Ukraine may use them against Moscow. I want to emphasize a small nuance here that there was no direct language used. However, with all of this, this message, which is taken as direct language, is attached to the events with the Il-76 to draw attention and once again delay the issue of supplying Ukraine with medium and long-range missiles.

And the second ridiculous quote went around saying the chancellor did not know what the Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom proposed to exchange. He said that they were aware of this position and left it without any comment. Instead, in the media, it went around that he knew nothing about this fragment. In the first part, Scholz said that they have reservations about the possibility of strikes by the Ukrainian Armed Forces on Moscow. Here is a vivid example of how the Kremlin uses a whole series of facts to tie them to this anchor, pulling the information situation.

Currently, we are being provided with security guarantees, including from the G7, and our ties with the United Kingdom are strengthening. How do we properly utilize this opportunity, and how can we ensure that similar signed memoranda and agreements do not meet the fate of the so-called Budapest Memorandum?

This question is extremely important; I would even call it today's number one question in terms of international assistance and strengthening security guarantees. However, I immediately have to ask myself and all of us several very important questions. This is an international agreement that has a very broad impact on internal and external situations, but, as you can see, it is somehow not submitted for parliamentary ratification.

“However, the Constitution clearly stipulates that such acts are effective only after they receive the consent of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.”

I would like to remind everyone that the Budapest Memorandum was also not ratified, but at that time, the previous Constitution was in effect, allowing such things, including the provision of external guarantees by the Ministry of Finance, the conclusion of similar sectoral agreements, and so on. And an agreement on security and defense issues could be called that, it's also a stretch. Instead, this document cannot be unratified in terms of the provisions of the current Constitution. This is the first thing to remember, so the winds of the Budapest Memorandum are already blowing here.

Secondly, it is the implementation mechanism. I am convinced today that the Budapest Memorandum is a very serious document, but what is lacking there and cannot be in a document signed by Rishi Sunak (Prime Minister of the United Kingdom) and President Zelenskyy is the mechanism of its implementation. What do I mean? First, it's ratification, because then it becomes law, which means that an organizational structure will be established for it in Ukraine and, accordingly, in Great Britain. I would like to remind you that there is an analogue of such security guarantees, the act between the U.S. government and Taiwan, called the Taiwan Relations Act. This act was voted on by both the Congress and the Senate, and it was also voted on in the parliament of Taiwan. Thus, this is a document for both parties. I would recommend Ukrainian experts who deal with this topic to take this document and look at how it is structured.

“Next, if you read the signed agreement, it has a limited time frame; in fact, it is a document about two-year guarantees.”

Also, if you look at international norms, understanding that without ratification and without realizing that such an act does not entail an organizational support system, it can be interpreted simply as an agreement between Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

There is one more thing that is very important. The issue here is competency. If you look at this document, it contains elements related to the powers of the Ministry of Defense, the Cabinet of Ministers, and the President. Matters are falling within the competence of the President in the field of defense policy. There are specific figures related to money and objects, which fall under the purview of the Ministry of Defense, or at least the Cabinet of Ministers. This all indicates that to obtain guarantees, it is evident that, despite the enormous volume of these things discussed, the key element is missing – it is not a law for both sides. This is crucial.

Secondly, parliaments have not ratified it. Therefore, it should be read absolutely clearly that its financial provision will be under a big question mark. However, from the standpoint of political rhetoric, this is a colossal step forward because it shows that the United Kingdom, but here comes a comma, as a country not belonging to the European Union, bear in mind this also as a country of the Anglo-Saxon bloc, as it is read, moreover as a country belonging to the so-called Copenhagen Format, which is included in Ramstein, is ready to provide assistance. But at the same time, there is a deficiency here, the essence of which may be that it is only during the premiership of Rishi Sunak. Because if it is not a law but just a certain agreement between two individuals, it can be interpreted precisely as such. And I do not exclude that after some time, when the Conservatives step down from power, it will be said that the Conservatives signed it, so let them adhere to it. Because, I repeat, this is not a law. It must be understood from the standpoint of the norms of international law.

You will tell me that there are things in international law that speak about oral agreements. That's true. There are oral agreements, but they do not extend to security guarantee issues. Moreover, these two words "security guarantees" imply that this document must comply with the International Convention on Agreements and Treaties, which envisages mandatory compliance with national constitutional norms in terms of ratification.

I have said this more than once, and I hope that in the future, and perhaps in the case of Great Britain, at least the Ukrainian political leadership will return to this issue and send this document for ratification to the parliament.

“I cannot understand the reasons for the absence of ratification of such a document because, from the standpoint of informational drive and political resonance, it is a fantastic step.”

Another matter is why the legal basis for such a document was not established. When we now talk about the Budapest Memorandum, saying that the wrong word or translation caused issues, regarding this document, they will tell us that it was not ratified. On what basis will certain resources from the budgets of one state, another state, and so on, be allocated for its implementation?

What should we expect from those states and blocs that we consider our allies, but are now our friends, partners, and associates?

The agreement that has already been signed and the agreements that will be signed in the future indicate that the idea that we can only work with NATO as a whole and not with individual NATO countries does not correspond to the truth. This means that it is very important for all of us today to realize the issues of regional, continental, and global security, which consist of many components. In this system, there can be, as it is already evident, bilateral agreements, regional agreements, continental agreements, global agreements – all of which can form a single entity.

This is something that we talked about over a year ago, and it stems from that New Year's message from the British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in her speech at the London City Hall, when she said that the time is coming for a labile security system, a soft security system. And in fact, if you look at these bilateral agreements, they should be aimed at ensuring the security of Ukraine, ensuring the security of Central Europe, ensuring the security of the countries of the European continent, then ensuring the security of the North Atlantic bloc, ensuring the security of the countries of the Euro-Asian bloc, and global security - these components should not create a conflict with each other. And the Ramstein format is the most suitable for absorbing and systematizing all this, of course. It is very important to start a conversation on this topic in this format today.

The first thing we talked about is that this looks like some kind of bilateral sectoral agreement, because that's how it will be read. What does it have to do with Central European security? Absolutely nothing. How will this affect relations within the NATO system? And if we add to this the fact that Europe is always talking about its own security. Moreover, the current exercises conducted by NATO, what do they show? The fact that the United States of America is at least one of the invited participants, and the United States today provides 90% of the security provided by NATO. The current exercises show that they have chosen a model and a legend that is 90% European. There are literally a few US destroyers with almost 90,000 personnel participating in this exercise. So this is a shot at the model that could be drawn up after candidate Trump's statements that we could withdraw from NATO. Although this is not the answer, and obviously it will not happen. But it is clear that preparations are underway.

“It should be understood that the bilateral relations that Ukraine will establish with NATO countries in the area of security should be implemented in the form of concrete steps.”

In other words, they will say that they are training on how NATO will interact with countries that want to join NATO, including Ukraine. Next, how they will interact with those who have already formed a separate defense alliance, such as the Pacific bloc, which exists separately, although in some countries it overlaps. So, obviously, we cannot do without formalizing the role played by the contact group. I am very angry about this because I went through the contact group in Minsk. When I heard that Ramstein was called the contact group for assistance in the defense of Ukraine, but as the Ukrainian classics say, to contact is not to solve.

Today, those who are drawing up the plan and those who are sitting on the button of European, regional, continental, and global security do not quite understand how all these will interact with each other, because holding additional meetings, even online meetings, does not solve the issue of providing urgent supplies of ammunition, armored vehicles, maintenance of everything, and so on.

And so I can say that the path that Ukraine has started to follow, signing bilateral security guarantees, does not even include a transition to regional security. Moreover, I don't see that this problem is understood. Because when you listen to people like Orban (Hungarian Prime Minister) or Fico (Slovak Prime Minister), they think that they will sit under NATO, and you can try there. But they are wrong to think so. I'll remind them of Suvorov's campaign in the Alps, it's not clear what he was doing there, but keep in mind that Suvorov's monuments are still standing all over Russia, and no one has taken them down. Therefore, only the Moscow Fuhrer knows where the boot of a Russian soldier can go, and this must be understood very well.

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