Monday, March 28, 2022

Who will be held responsible for the mess in Ukraine?

 The recent headline is (via the BBC):

"Ukraine’s Zelensky to offer neutrality declaration to Russia for peace ‘without delay’"

This could have happened years ago, without a war. I am recycling some previously posted material on this blog (some of the links in my article from 2014 are now defunct). The draft Association Agreement with the European Union that Ukraine wanted to sign back in 2013 had a military component, including
Article 7: The Parties shall intensify their dialogue and cooperation and promote gradual convergence in the area of foreign and security policy, including the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)...
Article 10: The Parties shall enhance practical cooperation in conflict prevention and crisis management, in particular with a view to increasing the participation of Ukraine in EU-led civilian and military crisis management operations as well as relevant exercises and training activities, including those carried out in the framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).....The Parties shall explore the potential of military - technological cooperation. Ukraine and the European Defence Agency (EDA) shall establish close contacts to discuss military capability improvement, including technological issues.
Russia objected back then. 

 November 21, 2013, The Kyiv Post reported that "Russia is willing to take part in tripartite negotiations with Ukraine and the EU, but only if they are held before Ukraine signs an association agreement with the EU, Russian President Vladimir Putin said." 

 November 29, 2013, another Ukrainian source reported that "The EU-Ukraine association agreement cannot be elaborated in the EU-Ukraine-Russia tripartite format, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said at a press conference after the Eastern Partnership Vilnius summit. He rejected as unacceptable the tripartite negotiations and the interference of a third country in the bilateral agreement and said there could not be a tripartite format in the elaboration of the bilateral agreement between the EU and Ukraine." 

 What Russia wanted back then is that Ukraine remain neutral. The way to ensure that would have been a Russian veto over the military clauses in the association agreement, in effect, a Russian seat at the negotiations. This was and remains into current times, a no-no to the European Union, the USA and NATO, because of Ukraine's sovereign rights and all. 

 As I wrote back in my old post, and I write now, nothing justifies the actions Putin subsequently took. But the Zelensky offer for Ukraine to be neutral is a concession after hugely damaging events the very thing that could have been conceded without wars, invasions, huge loss of life, and untold civilian suffering, not to mention global economic disruption, years and years ago. 

 Who is going to be held accountable for this? Obviously, nobody.