"Security guarantees" from the European Union guarantee nothing: the main alternatives to protect Ukraine

Oleg MarukhovskyPolitics
European ''security guarantees'' for Ukraine as an attempt to remove NATO membership

The approaching NATO summit in Vilnius in July is causing an active discussion on the role and place of Ukraine in the relationship with the Alliance in the political corridors of Western countries. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: "After the NATO summit, we will discuss Ukraine's aspirations for NATO membership. And I am absolutely sure that the allies will send a very strong signal of support to Ukraine. This means that the issue of Ukraine's membership is postponed again indefinitely.

EU prepares "security guarantees" for Ukraine, but they are nothing new

The Western press reported that the European Union was preparing to offer Ukraine "future security commitments", within the framework of which an extension of the initiative for training of the Ukrainian military in Europe was possible. The possibility of sending EU military missions to Ukraine is also being considered, if the conditions are deemed acceptable and such a step is agreed by all EU members. In addition, European leaders promise to continue funding arms supplies to Ukraine through the European Peace Facility funded by EU member states.

Moreover, there is preliminary information that France may propose its own declaration, which should send a "very clear political signal" to Ukraine and Russia regarding security guarantees. As the Financial Times notes, EU countries are probably "ready to contribute, together with partners, to Ukraine's future security commitments, which will help Ukraine defend itself in the long term, deter acts of aggression and resist attempts at destabilization.

Neutral EU countries opposed "security guarantees"

However, even at the stage of discussing possible security guarantees for Ukraine there were obstacles in the form of a number of neutral EU countries that directly opposed their participation in this. For example, Austrian Chancellor Karl Negammer said at the EU summit on June 29 that Austria would refuse to give the necessary consent for such commitments. "It is clear to us as neutral states that we cannot give such security guarantees. Austria, Ireland, Malta and Cyprus have made it clear that they object," he told reporters in Brussels.

In fact, Austria, which next to Hungary has a reputation as one of the most corrupt countries by Russian finances, is now destroying the pan-European. security efforts of the region. Admittedly, it is not clear what these neutral countries are risking - the guarantees do not provide for military intervention anyway, they may be required to provide only small financial or organizational and technical assistance.

Guarantees from the EU - only to maintain the status quo in terms of assistance to Ukraine

In general, it can be stated that the future security guarantees are being developed by the European Union, not NATO, which fundamentally changes the situation not in favor of Ukraine. The EU is merely a political association of countries, not a military alliance with a powerful army. In this case, Ukraine is once again being offered a surrogate of "security guarantees," which are actually more like "guarantees of assistance," because we are talking about supplying weapons, training soldiers, financial and economic assistance, etc. In fact, the EU is simply proposing to consolidate the current order of things with military-economic assistance, passing it off as high-profile "security guarantees. It should be recalled that the infamous Budapest Memorandum (which also did not work) was spelled out much better, in particular in the clauses guaranteeing the territorial integrity of Ukraine. And even such ineffective proposals in the event of a new war are being actively sabotaged by neutral "friends of Putin" like Austria, Cyprus and, in the future, Hungary.

Western military bases in Ukraine are the only security guarantee other than NATO

Consequently, there is an obvious unpreparedness on the part of NATO to quickly accept Ukraine and an attempt to pay off in the form of EU "security guarantees," which merely mean the continuation of existing assistance. Therefore, under the circumstances, only two alternatives to security guarantees for Ukraine can be identified. The first of these is very unlikely - the return to Ukraine of the status of a nuclear weapon state, because the signatories of the Budapest Memorandum guaranteed but failed to ensure the territorial integrity of our state.

The second alternative is the deployment of troops, navy and aviation of individual guarantor countries on Ukrainian territory in the form of bases and joint air and sea patrols. The most active Western countries should be encouraged to do this. For example, Great Britain or the USA get a base on the Black Sea and several of their ships guarantee the inviolability of our maritime space. U.S. or British aircraft patrol the airspace of Ukraine, and units of the Polish army together with the AFU cover the Belarusian border. The Romanian army can control the border with Transnistria, and French and German brigades can cover the border with Russia. Of course, there can be any options here, but the essence remains the only one - only a strong military presence of the strongest Western countries can secure Ukraine and serve as a reliable guarantee against a new invasion by Russia. Although all this can be ensured by simply accepting Ukraine into NATO and guaranteeing the application of Article 5 of the Alliance Charter in case of danger.

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