Radu Burduja: Ukraine must draw conclusions after signing Budapest Memorandum

The ensuring of Moldova’s security depends largely on Ukraine’s capacity to resist on the battlefield and emerge victorious from this war. That is why Ukraine must continue to fight, director of the Euro-Atlantic Institute for Building Resilience Radu Burduja, former secretary of state of the Ministry of Defense, answered when asked about the next steps Ukraine should take now that it is urged by particular players to accept peace talks.

In a public debate hosted by IPN News Agency, the expert said that Ukraine must draw conclusions after signing the Budapest Memorandum referring to Ukraine’s nuclear disarmament and to assurances for its security and independence 30 years ago.

The former secretary of state stated that when the fact if Ukraine made a mistake when it signed the Budapest Memorandum or not is examined, there are two different opinions. One side says that Ukraine was wrong and this is seen in the annexation of Crimea, the lost territories and the current war in Ukraine. “There is another camp that says that Ukraine, in fact, had no choice but to give up those weapons because it is not known if Ukraine would have continued to exist as a state if it hadn’t yielded them up then, or, we see the pressure that is being put on all states that seek to have nuclear weapons, and the case of North Korea is relevant. In my opinion, since Ukraine lost these territories, I believe that Ukraine was wrong then, or at least it could have handled this situation differently. I refer to the need to strengthen the military capability of the state,” said Radu Burduja.

He also said that each state must have the necessary defense capacity to survive, to preserve its independence and sovereignty. Both Ukraine and Moldova must do their homework well. Ukraine learned these painful lessons and in 2014 began to significantly strengthen the defense capabilities, and this enormous effort it has made since 2014 helped it initially to resist this war and then to continue to resist with the help of the Western partners. The Republic of Moldova must not hesitate in this regard and must strengthen its defense capability. “We have seen the approved National Security Strategy that stipulates exactly where the threat comes from and what measures should be taken, and we see the augmentation of the defense budget, which is not enough, but it is an increase. There is one more topic that we must discuss in society. It is the subject of neutrality or the subject of how we can make this neutrality not an impediment to increasing the defense capability of the Republic of Moldova,” said the director of the Euro-Atlantic Institute for Building Resilience.

“It is essential to draw the necessary conclusions for us, for this region, how these treaties, these commitments should be treated at international level, because we understand that signing documents, commitments that are good at the moment can have long-term adverse consequences and this is exactly what we see now,” said Radu Burduja.

He noted that the text of the Budapest Memorandum did not include penalties, consequences for non-fulfillment of commitments because it was convenient to stipulate it exactly like that, for all parties, especially for Russia and the United States. “In my opinion, they intentionally tried to make this act ambiguous so as to give the possibility for the document to be signed, to be agreed by all parties as, if there had been legal consequences, penalties, the probability that this document would have never been signed is very high. The essence is that Ukraine has lost a large part of its territory, lost its sovereignty, is attacked and is destroyed systematically by the Russian Federation. The geopolitical conditions changed. The political situation in general in the region changed and, based on the new conditions, the Russian Federation in 2014 decided to attack and annex Crimea and to start a war against Ukraine in 2022,” stated the expert.

The ex-secretary of state of the Ministry of Defense said that Ukraine is currently unable to accept negotiations with the aggressor as long as it has not returned its territories. “Any negotiation at this moment will continue to undermine the world order because no one can guarantee that Russia will not take an operational break for a year or two to restore its military potential and renew its offensive for its goals, namely the restoration of the borders existing at the times of the Soviet Union.

The public debate entitled “Failure of the Budapest Memorandum” was the 27th installment of IPN’s project “Impact of the Past on Confidence and Peace Building Processes” which is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.

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