There is a reality in Ukraine. We are ever-present moving closer to war. For Vladimir Putin this is simple. Ukraine is an emerging democracy that is turning westward. That is a threat to the Russian autocrat who wants to restore the world order before the fall of the Soviet Union.
He has told us this in speeches. His actions, ranging from the attack on South Ossetia in 2008 to the Crimean grab in 2014 prove his intent. Yes, he says all this comes from his fear that he is getting surrounded by NATO. It has been him who has engaged in these aggressive actions, with mostly just a bap on the nose.
Now, let me make this clear. Ukraine is an emerging democracy, with many issues. But it is still a threat to Putin. It also gave up its nukes in exchange for a western security guarantee. This matters, a lot. Ukraine disarmed in exchange for security guarantees:
Melnyk was referring to Ukraine’s decision in the early 1990s to relinquish the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal that it inherited from the Soviet Union. Its arsenal included 176 intercontinental ballistic missiles carrying 1,240 nuclear warheads, 44 strategic bombers with more than 700 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and upward of 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons. In 1994, Ukraine joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a non-nuclear weapon state, proceeded to transfer all nuclear warheads to Russia and dismantled all strategic delivery vehicles with U.S. technical assistance. By mid-1996, the last nuclear warhead left Ukraine’s territory, and by the end of 2001, the last missile silo was demolished.
Following the ambassador’s controversial comments, Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, later affirmed that Ukraine had no intention of violating its international obligations and that the comments were taken out of context. That might well be true. But it is also true that since 2014, Ukraine’s decision to disarm has come under increased domestic scrutiny. Many in Ukraine believe it was a blunder. After Crimea was illegally annexed by Russia, a group of centrist parliamentarians proposed that Ukraine withdraw from the NPT. In July 2014, a right-wing faction of the Ukrainian parliament introduced a bill on the renewal of Ukraine’s nuclear status, which presumably entailed withdrawal from the NPT and the launch of an indigenous nuclear…