What Is The Budapest Memorandum?

The Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances refers to three identical political agreements signed at the OSCE Conference in Budapest, Hungary on 5 December 1994 to provide security assurances to its signatories in connection with the accession of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. – Nonproliferation Treaty. On December 5, at the OSCE conference in Budapest, Ukraine, the United States of America, the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland signed a Memorandum of Security Assurances regarding Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Budapest Memorandum). Russia, the UK and the US gave Ukraine security guarantees in December 1994 in an agreement known as the Budapest Memorandum. The security guarantee package has not kept Ukraine safe, and some observers have criticized the UK and US for their restraint almost as much as Russia for annexing Crimea.)

The Russian Federation violated its obligations with the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and aggression in eastern Ukraine, taking new control over the meaning and value of the security guarantee promised in the so-called Budapest Memorandum. Unfortunately, Russia has violated practically all the obligations assumed by Russia in this document. The agreement is cited in light of Russia’s clear threat of violating it again — already violating it with the annexation of Crimea to Crimea in 2014 — but also when it comes to the US obligation to defend Ukraine against the same aggression. The deal was recently launched in response to some on the right, including Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson and some congressional Republicans arguing that the US really has nothing to do with Ukraine and Russia.


The memorandum combines several assurances Ukraine has already obtained from the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the UN Charter and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons These warranties provided in the documentation are invaluable. Elsewhere, however, U.S. officials said Ukraine would indeed benefit from safeguards already provided to other countries, including those under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The Budapest Memorandum on Ukraine confirms the commitment to respect Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and existing borders (according to the 1975 Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, the OSCE, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Helsinki Final Act of the OSCE); Threats or use of force against territorial integrity or political independence, and the use of any weapon against Ukraine, except for self-defense or other purposes specified in the UN Charter; refraining from economic coercion against Ukraine, according to the OSCE Final Document. In the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom pledged to “respect Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and existing borders” and “refrain from threats or use of force” against Ukraine.

At the same time, the United States of America, Great Britain and the Russian Federation pressured Ukraine to get rid of its powerful nuclear arsenal and pledged to “respect the independence and sovereignty and existing borders of Ukraine.” specific commitments to sign the Budapest Memorandum and fulfill the obligations assumed. The US, UK and Russia welcomed the Kiev regime’s decision to accede to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and pledged, among other things, to respect Ukraine’s independence and “existing borders”. However, until August, Ukraine continued to unsuccessfully request negotiations with signatory states based on the agreement. The signatures of US President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister John Mayo to this multilateral agreement were intended to enable Ukraine to turn to the United States of America and the United Kingdom and count on effective support to prevent any violation of the Budapest Memorandum by the Russian Federation.

They did this by applying the principles of territorial integrity and non-intervention in the 1975 Helsinki Final Act — a Cold War treaty signed by 35 states, including the Soviet Union — to independent post-Soviet Ukraine. In the Budapest Memorandum, Russia, Britain and the United States pledged that none of them would ever threaten or use force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine. While Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine became parties to the START treaty as successor states of the USSR, under the 1992 Lisbon Protocol, Belarus committed itself to joining the so-called Budapest Memorandum as non-nuclear-weapon states, rather than trying to become successor to the collapse of the nuclear power of the Soviet Union. The US acknowledged that the US should have offered security guarantees to Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine in order to convince Belarus to transfer Soviet-made nuclear weapons to Russia on its territory and join the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states. Having guaranteed Ukraine’s security for decades, Ukraine, a nuclear power at the time, voluntarily gave up Ukrainian nuclear weapons in exchange for security guarantees.


Although the letter of the so-called Budapest Memorandum did not specify the consequences of violating it and did not oblige the United States or Britain to intervene in defense of Ukraine, at the conference both Ukrainian and American negotiators of the memorandum Boris Tarasyuk and Steven Pifer agreed that the spirit of the memorandum obliges the United States to take a strong interest in the security of Ukraine. The situation in Ukraine also continues to evolve; moreover, the Memorandum is just one of several international documents that claim to support the political and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

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