Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances


Three identical political agreements were signed at the 1994 Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) meeting in Budapest, Hungary, and are collectively referred to as the “Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances.”

About the memorandum
  • In exchange for Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine joining the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the memorandum’s signatories pledged to offer security assurances to those nations.
  • START I was the first strategic arms reduction treaty, and Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan became parties to it as a result of the Lisbon Protocol of 1992. It was a nuclear arms reduction pact that the US and the Soviet Union signed in 1991.
  • Between 1993 and 1996, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine gave up their nuclear weapons and became non-nuclear states as a result of the accords and the memorandum.
  • The third-largest nuclear arsenal in the world at the time was in Ukraine.
Signatories of Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances
  • Three nuclear nations—Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom—signed the memorandum at its inception.
  • Later, China and France, who joined the NPT in 1992, also signed on. They provided weaker individual guarantees in different documents, nevertheless.
Provisions of Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances

Russia, the US, and the UK agreed to the following:

  • Respect the independence and sovereignty of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine within their current borders.
  • Avoid threatening or using force against Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus.
  • Avoid putting political pressure on Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine through economic means.
  • Avoid using nuclear weapons against Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.
  • Assist Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine right away if they “should become a victim of an act of aggression or the target of an aggression threat in which nuclear weapons are used.”
  • Breaches
  • Belarus sanctions for 2013: Belarus complained in 2013 that the United States’ sanctions against it violated Article 3 of the Memorandum.
  • Russia’s annexation of Crimea: 2014 saw Russia take Crimea, which Ukraine vehemently opposed.
Why care about Ukraine and the Budapest Memorandum

The United States has given Ukraine $3 billion in military, reform, and loan guarantee aid since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine. American soldiers in western Ukraine educate their Ukrainian counterparts. Washington has taken action to politically isolate Moscow in coordination with the EU and slapped a number of visa and economic measures on Russia and Russian citizens.

The uproar over President Donald Trump’s sleazy attempt to blackmail the Ukrainian leader into looking into a potential rival for the 2020 presidential election begs the obvious question: Why should the US be so interested in Ukraine, which is located 5,000 miles away? U.S. officials informed the Ukrainians that they would be taken into consideration when negotiating the deal, which is a significant factor.

A nuclear-armed state breaks up

The United States, Russia, and Britain pledged “to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine” in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, as well as “to refrain from the threat or use of force” against the nation. With over 1,900 strategic nuclear weapons, the Ukrainian government in Kyiv was compelled to give up what amounted to the third-largest nuclear arsenal in the world as a result of those promises.

There were nuclear weapons strewn around the post-Soviet states after the USSR collapsed in late 1991. Making sure that this would not result in a rise in the number of nuclear weapons states was of utmost importance to the George H. W. Bush administration. Additionally, when it witnessed the tragic breakup of Yugoslavia, the Bush administration was concerned.


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