In a stark reminder of the Budapest Memorandum, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called out the United States for abandoning Ukraine as the Russia-Ukraine war continues to rage on.
As Russia continues to press its military advantage and Ukraine continues to suffer, Zelensky is adamant that the US is obligated to fulfill the terms of the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, which promised Ukraine territorial integrity in exchange for the return of nuclear weapons to Moscow.
The Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances comprises three substantially identical political agreements signed at the OSCE conference in Budapest, Hungary, on December 5, 1994, to provide security assurances by its signatories relating to the accession of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
The three memoranda were originally signed by three nuclear powers: the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States.
If we talk about the Russian side of the issue, Moscow has maintained that the nuclear arsenal wasn’t Ukraine’s to begin with but belonged to the Soviet Union, of which Russia was recognized as the sole heir.
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The story of the betrayal of the United States began in 1994 when Ukraine agreed to return its nuclear weapons to Russia in exchange for guarantees of territorial integrity.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s top adviser, Mikhail Podoliak, has been vocal about the US leaving Ukraine midway. Podoliak has stated that the US promised to protect Ukraine’s territorial integrity in exchange for the return of nuclear weapons, but that it has instead chosen to abandon Ukraine and accept Russia’s victory.
The US, with its allies, has tried everything in its power to protect Ukraine from the Russian invasion, but they have now realized that they are flogging a dead horse.
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In terms of financial contributions, the US is Ukraine’s biggest supporter. In just 2022, the US Congress appropriated more than $112 billion (£92.47 billion). However, a year after Russia’s invasion, some Americans are questioning where the funding goes and whether the assistance is worthwhile.
According to Politico, which cited numerous unnamed individuals, the administration of US President Joe Biden is “quietly preparing for the possibility” that Ukraine’s much-anticipated fight might not result in the “total victory” Kyiv and its allies desired.
And there are also news reports that President Joe Biden’s administration and the White House have sent Ukraine the same warning they did to the US-backed government in Afghanistan in 2021, as Politico reported on April 24, 2023.
Initially, the US and other Western countries had offered support, but now they are slowly withdrawing from the war-torn nation, leaving Ukraine with no other option but to invoke the Budapest Memorandum, signed by the US in 1994 to protect the country’s sovereignty. Yet, the US appears to be abandoning Ukraine, leaving them alone in the face of their worsening crisis.
Ukraine is now reminding its only saviour of the Budapest Memorandum because it has realized that the US is about to leave the country in the lurch.
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