Moscow’s refusal to resolve through diplomacy the crisis caused by Russian troops on the Ukrainian border (FT View, January 17) bears a strong resemblance to Hitler and the Munich crisis of 1938.
As everyone knows, Ukraine has never threatened Russian security in any way. Yet Russia continues to clearly violate its existing obligations under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances whereby, in exchange for Ukraine giving up the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal, Russia guaranteed not to violate the territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea and Donbass.
Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, ignores Russia’s obligations when he asks “ironclad.” . . legally binding. . . guarantees” that NATO will refuse Ukraine’s membership and return to the lines of 1997.
Russia’s acceptance of Ukraine’s borders builds on the 1991 Ukrainian referendum which saw all parts of Ukraine vote overwhelmingly for independence, both in the east, including the Crimea and Donbass, than in the west, and in predominantly Russian-speaking regions and Ukrainian-majority regions (most Ukrainians speak both).
The result was not surprising given Ukraine’s history, including the Holodomor famine and Chernobyl.
Ukraine and Europe should not need another security agreement with Russia to protect Ukrainian territory.
Bate C Toms
President, Anglo-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce, Kyiv, Ukraine