Europeans assess scope of security guarantees for Ukraine


WASHINGTON — European governments are expected to discuss their role in any security guarantees that may be promised to Ukraine as part of a possible peace deal in the wake of Russia’s increasingly brutal attack on the country, according to a senior European Union official.

The comments come as talks between Ukrainian and Russian negotiators last week touched on the issue of alternative assurances – apart from NATO’s Article 5 mutual assistance clause – that the West is ready to provide. subscribe after Moscow ceased its assault.

“As soon as the war is over – or perhaps, as part of the cessation of hostilities – we have to think about what kind of guarantees will be offered to Ukraine,” said Charles Fries, Assistant Secretary General for common security and defence. and crisis response at the European External Action Service. He was speaking on April 4 at an event in Washington organized by the think tank Atlantic Council.

Fries described the sweet spot of security guarantees as “something between more than Budapest, but, of course, less than Article 5”, referring to the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, a now obsolete treaty designed to guarantee the Ukraine’s security after kyiv renounced its nuclear weapons under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“So that’s a question for the next few weeks, which needs to be addressed,” Fries said.

“It’s a key issue, but the EU as such is not directly involved,” he said. On the contrary, some nations could take action individually, Fries added, noting that he had not seen a list of those who could come forward.

Early signatories to the Budapest Memorandum include the US and UK on the Western side, as well as Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

Last week, Olha Stefanishyna, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, said her government was considering a regime of security guarantees endorsed by signatories to the Budapest memorandum as well as the UN Security Council. United Nations.

“We have already confirmed the agreement of Britain, Germany and Turkey on this,” Stefanishyna said during a March 31 online event sponsored by the German Marshall Fund of the think tank. American. She was talking about kyiv.

Sean Monaghan, an analyst at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the legal format of whatever security guarantees the West can muster for Ukraine will ultimately be secondary. More important, and more difficult, he told Defense News, will be the willingness of European populations to support them with military force.

“NATO’s power and commitment to Article 5 has had time to grow for over 70 years,” Monaghan said. “With Ukraine, it should happen overnight.”

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government has drawn a red line around the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty in all post-war negotiations, Stefanishyna said. kyiv would also not support a deal to whitewash Russian war crimes during the invasion, she added.

As Ukrainian officials accept NATO’s benefits being pushed aside, they are stepping up their efforts for the European Union and an eventual accelerated membership plan.

Stefanishyna hopes that by the end of the year the European Commission will publish its assessment of Ukraine’s eligibility, according to the so-called Copenhagen criteria. These criteria prescribe examining the state of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the monetary and economic fitness of candidates for membership.

Sebastian Sprenger is Europe Editor for Defense News, reporting on the state of the defense market in the region, as well as US-EU cooperation and multinational investments in defense and global security. He previously served as editor of Defense News.


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