The Budapest Memorandum: Brother, Can You Spare a Security Assurance?

Euromaidan PR

sshot-2 US President Clinton, Russian President Yeltsin and Ukrainian President Kravchuk after signing the Trilateral Statement in Moscow in January 1994 that became the basis for the Budapest Memorandum

As Russia invades Crimea and looks poised for more, politicians have dusted off the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and called on Russia to respect the security assurances it gave Ukraine in exchange for the latter’s denuclearization.  Yet what exactly are these security assurances worth and what mechanisms are available for their enactment?

In 1991, Ukraine inherited world’s third largest nuclear arsenal, consisting of 176 intercontinental ballistic missiles armed with over 1800 warheads as well as some 2600 tactical nuclear weapons, more than the UK and France had combined. Although operational control over these weapons remained in Moscow, Ukraine repeatedly laid claim to ownership of the nuclear weapons dislocated on it territory demanding compensation and security guarantees in exchange for surrendering them. At the…

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