Billionaire Branson once more calls on the world to support Ukraine

21 February 2022, 11:24 AM

The famous British billionaire and founder of the Virgin Group, Richard Branson, has urged the world to help Ukraine for the second time, in a new article entitled Defending the rule of law, published on the billionaire’s personal blog.

In his article, Branson notes that he recently had a conversation with Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Vadym Prystaiko, "about the role of the global business community and the need to stand up for peace."

"The ambassador raised the very pertinent issue of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum,” Branson wrote. “Then, Russia signed a commitment ‘to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.’ In turn, Ukraine joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and gave up its nuclear arsenal."

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Branson said the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 was the first major breach of the Budapest Memorandum, and a new wave of Russian invasion into Ukraine “would rip the memorandum apart, resulting in catastrophic consequences.” In turn, this would threaten the very structure of international agreements, as “without binding agreements and their implementation, there can never be peace.”

Branson also said the presence of nuclear weapons in Ukraine could have prevented the annexation of Crimea, and now that this has happened and the escalation continues to grow, it will be difficult to persuade other countries to abandon their weapons, harming the cause of nuclear non-proliferation.

"There is no doubt that Russia’s continued aggression against Ukraine will disincentivize those previously willing to reduce weapons stockpiles, as it suggests that any agreement can be unilaterally and arbitrarily ripped apart," Branson wrote.

The businessman added that ignoring international agreements also indicates a "true crisis of multilateralism."

"Multilateral institutions designed long ago to maintain peace and drive sustainable development no longer enjoy the same level of support and respect,” he said. “It’s a real threat to the rule of law that humanity hasn't seen since the dark days that led to World War II."

"This situation is not just bad news for Ukraine in this very moment of acute crisis; it is bad news for every nation, present and future, seeking to protect its sovereignty.”

Calling for greater global support for Ukraine, the Virgin Group founder urged the world “not abandon a country that voluntarily gave up its nuclear weapons in return for peace, and is now on the verge of being invaded by the very country that persuaded it to do so.”

Earlier, Richard Branson called on business leaders to unite and defend Ukraine's sovereignty in the face of escalating Russian aggression.

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