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The Budapest Memorandum, signed on 05 December 1994 by Ukraine, the U.S., Russia, and Britain, resulted in Ukraine renouncing its status as the world’s third largest nuclear power. In return, the other signatories provided “security assurances” of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, independence, sovereignty and freedom from interference. The Budapest memorandum committed Washington, Moscow and London, among other things, to “respect the independence and sovereignty and existing borders of Ukraine” and to “refrain from the threat or use of force” against that country. The United Kingdom and United States continue to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Russo-Ukraine War - 2022

Elected in 2019, Volodymyr Zelenskiy came to power promising to end the war in Donbass; heal the linguistic, economic and political divisions in the country; tackle corruption; and advance the cause of democracy. But by 2022, the war in Donbass continues, and Zelensky appears not to have the slightest clue as to how to bring it to a close, refusing any compromise with the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR). The country is as divided as ever.

President Vladimir Putin believes that Russia and Ukraine are “essentially the same nation ... Everyone was Orthodox and everyone called themselves Russian. They didn’t want to be a part of the Catholic world where Poland was trying to pull them,” he said. NATO’s eastward expansion has been Moscow’s gravest concern and the top thorny issue in the bloc’s relations with Moscow. Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, believe that NATO informally promised Russia that it would not expand further to the east back in the 1990s.

On December 2021 Moscow issued an ultimatum to America and NATO in the form of two draft treaties, the terms of which were impossible for Washington to accept. The documents are made up of a list of security guarantees, including a demand that NATO won’t expand eastwards into states that were formerly a part of the USSR. If signed, it would also see troop movements near the Russian border become limited, end the alliance's military cooperation with countries such as Ukraine and Georgia, and would prevent missiles from being placed near the frontier. The proposal came amid the virtual collapse of Russia-NATO ties in recent months, and weeks of claims by the US and its European allies that Moscow may be 'preparing to invade' Ukraine.

The Kazakhstan crisis makes war in Ukraine less likely. If Russia were to insist on "taking back" Ukraine, it would "lose" Kazakhstan, Andrey Gurkov said 08 January 2021. There are two reasons for this. One is that a Russian military intervention could lead to domestic instability inside Russia similar to the unrest unfolding in Kazakhstan. The other stems from the fact that Russia must now dedicate much more attention to its southern neighbor, Kazakhstan. The idea of "taking back" Ukraine would burden the Russian military and populace with a "two-front campaign." But the resources devoted to Kazakhstan were minimal, and Putin needed to convince the world that he could walk and chew gum at the same time.

US and Russian officials held security talks on January 10 amid mounting tensions over Ukraine. Russia and NATO would hold separate talks on January 12, while Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which includes the United States and its European allies, would meet on January 13.

Anatol Lieven wrote 08 January 2022 "Demands from Kiev and Brussels to be involved in the talks themselves should however be firmly rejected by Washington. Due to its deep internal divisions, the Ukrainian political establishment is incapable of agreeing on any reasonable position vis a vis Russia; while the EU is incapable of agreeing on anything at all when it comes to external policy. Involving them in the negotiations will simply be a recipe for making the entire process hostage to elements opposed to any settlement at all: Ukrainian ultra-nationalists and historically embittered Swedes, Poles and Balts."

“For us, it’s absolutely mandatory to make sure that Ukraine never ever becomes a member of NATO,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said, and Moscow is insisting that the institution amend its policies to reflect this reality. “We are fed up with loose talk, half-promises, misinterpretations of what happened in different negotiations behind closed doors,” he said.

“It’s clear that we’ve offered him two paths forward,” Blinken said, speaking of Putin. “One is through diplomacy and dialogue; the other is through deterrence and massive consequences for Russia if it renews its aggression against Ukraine. And we’re about to test the proposition of which path President Putin wants to take this week.”

Scott Ritter suggested "A strategic air campaign designed to nullify specific aspects of a nations’ capability, whether it be economic, political, military, or all the above, coupled with a focused ground campaign designed to destroy an enemy’s army as opposed to occupy its territory, is the likely course of action. ... the Ukrainian military is neither equipped nor trained to engage in large-scale ground combat. It would be destroyed piecemeal, and the Russians would more than likely spend more time processing Ukrainian prisoners of war than killing Ukrainian defenders. For any Russian military campaign against Ukraine to be effective in a larger conflict with NATO, however, two things must occur—Ukraine must cease to exist as a modern nation state, and the defeat of the Ukrainian military must be massively one-sided and quick. ... Russia can survive being blocked from SWIFT transactions longer than Europe can survive without Russian energy.... Russia will guarantee that the Ukrainian treatment will be applied to the Baltics, Poland, and even Finland, should it be foolish enough to pursue NATO membership.... Russia does not need to occupy the territory of NATO for any lengthy period — just enough to destroy whatever military power has been accumulated by NATO near its borders. And — here’s the kicker — short of employing nuclear weapons, there’s nothing NATO can do to prevent this outcome." These observations ignore NATO airpower.

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman led the U.S. delegation’s participation in an extraordinary session of the U.S.-Russia bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue (SSD) 10 January 2022. "One country cannot change the borders of another by force, or dictate the terms of another country’s foreign policy, or forbid another country from choosing its own alliances. These are basic tenets of the international system, and they are principles that Russia has previously agreed to many times over the years."

On 19 January 2022, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov underscored that a moratorium on NATO expansion for a limited time span would be unacceptable for Russia. He said, “No, this scenario is unacceptable. We need legally binding guarantees of NATO’s non-expansion in a form of treaties: a bilateral agreement with the US and a multilateral agreement with NATO.” Ryabkov explained why Moscow needs “bulletproof, 100-percent guarantees of NATO’s non-expansion.” He said, “We’ve experienced it many times in the past, when such formulas, lucrative on the outside, were quickly forgotten, turned inside out and transformed into their opposite… We cannot be satisfied with yet another trick.”

In Berlin, Ministry of Economy disclosed that as of January 11, Germany only has “a theoretical working gas availability of 17.7 days.” Russian gas supplies had stopped since December 21 and Gazprom has not booked any capacity to pump gas to Europe through the Yamal pipeline through February. Overall, European storage facilities were 49.33% full as of January 12.

“As has been repeatedly emphasized from the Russian side, the issue is urgent. We are not ready to wait endlessly, and we are not willing to immerse ourselves in the usual diplomatic, bureaucratic nonsense about which formats are optimal for this. We need a direct and clear answer, and in writing,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov explained 19 January 2022. “What we need, above all else, is a legal guarantee of NATO’s non-expansion… and a reliable solution to the issue of non-deployment of strike weapons along our borders.” Ryabkov rejected a suggestion that Moscow could agree to a temporary moratorium on NATO expansion, such as for 10 or 20 years.

Maatthew Karnitschnig wrote 20 January 2022 : "Germany’s allies hoped Olaf Scholz’s coalition, which includes the Russia-critical Greens, would back away from the accommodative policies toward Moscow that marked the Angela Merkel era. Recent days have shown such optimism to be misplaced.... Under the influence of a potent cocktail of energy and commercial interests, and a political culture laced with good old-fashioned anti-Americanism, Germany has strayed from the Western fold."

On 23 January 2022 the US told the families of its diplomats in Kyiv to leave Ukraine amid concerns about a potential Russian invasion. Germany said it would also help its citizens leave if they wish. US officials advised against traveling to Ukraine due to "increased threats of Russian military action" and COVID-19. The US State Department said that there were reports Russia is planning significant military action against Ukraine.

On 24 January 2022 the UK said that it is also withdrawing some embassy staff and their relatives from Ukraine due to the "growing threat from Russia." Australia quickly followed suit, with Canberra telling the country's citizens to "leave now" and withdrawing family members.

Russia had made significant diplomatic gains, according to Thomas Kunze, head of the Moscow Office at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the German political foundation associated with the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU). "They have achieved that they are negotiating with the Americans on an equal footing," he told DW. "They have achieved that the NATO-Russia Council, which NATO had suspended, is working again. And the Russians have achieved that spheres of influence are being talked about."

Despite increased fears over a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, there is no indication that Moscow is planning to launch an offensive in the near future, the defense minister in Kiev said on 24 January 2022. Speaking to Ukrainian TV channel ICTV, owned by billionaire businessman Victor Pinchuk, Aleksey Reznikov dismissed the possibility of an impending Russian offensive. “As of today, the Russian Armed Forces have not formed a strike force that would suggest that they will go on an offensive tomorrow,” he told the news channel, also rejecting suggestions that Moscow will invade on February 20, the day the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics end, calling the chances “not high.”

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Page last modified: 26-01-2022 17:57:30 ZULU