15 years to settle issue of Crimea, and 'iron-clad' security guarantees – preliminary results of Turkey talks

29 March, 06:56 PM
Member of the Ukrainian delegation Mykhailo Podoliak talks to journalists in Istanbul (Photo:REUTERS/Kemal Aslan)

Member of the Ukrainian delegation Mykhailo Podoliak talks to journalists in Istanbul (Photo:REUTERS/Kemal Aslan)

Ukraine and Russia have concluded what looks like to be the most productive so far round of bilateral talks in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 29.

Members of the Ukrainian delegation at the March 29 peace talks in Turkey – Mikhailo Podolyak and David Arakhamia – have outlined the provisional results of negotiations with Moscow.

Based on their announcement, NV has sketched out what a future international treaty could look like. It’s important to note that none of these agreements are final, and we can only speculate how events will unfold.

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What would the potential security guarantees for Ukraine look like?

The corresponding treaty would include provisions, similar to NATO’s Article 5. But the procedure to invoke them would be even more robust, according to Arakhamia: While NATO can deliberate for quite some time as to how to respond to an attack, countries that have agreed to guarantee Ukraine’s security would be obliged to provide military support within three days.

How exactly would these guarantees be structured?

If Ukraine is attacked, guarantors will be obliged to the following:

  • Send troops to Ukraine;
  • Supply weapons;
  • Establish a no-fly zone over the country.

Would these be triggered by a flare-up in the contested parts of Ukraine’s territory?

The international security guarantees would not apply to the temporarily occupied areas of Donbas and Crimea. According to Arakhamia, this exemption will be temporary, though no timeframe for that is clear yet.

What’s the deal with Crimea and Donbas, then?

Ukraine and Russia would have 15 years to conduct bilateral talks on the status of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. During this period, both sides are to refrain from trying to resolve “the Crimea question” by force. Ukraine suggested this agreement to be spelled out in a separate paragraph of the potential treaty.

It remains unclear as of yet, how this mechanism would actually work. According to Podolyak, both sides “displayed willingness” to engage in this manner.

The status of the parts of Donbas under Moscow’s control will be discussed by Russian and Ukrainian presidents.

Which countries could guarantee Ukraine’s security?

There is no definite list of such countries, but Ukraine would like to see members of the UN Security Council among them:

  • The United Kingdom;
  • China;
  • The United States;
  • France;
  • Turkey;
  • Germany;
  • Canada;
  • Italy;
  • Poland;
  • Israel.

This was mentioned as the minimum, and the final list could be expanded. Ukraine suggests the treaty remains open to additional countries to enter, should they become willing to do so.

Are any of these countries interested at this point?

That’s unclear. Apparently, Ukraine is already engaged in official talks with “many” potential guarantors, and observes “real interest.” Some have already agreed, provisionally. Official confirmations are expected soon.

When would the treaty come into force?

It looks like it’s going to take a while. The treaty would have to be approved by the Ukrainian people at a referendum, after which it will face ratification in the Ukrainian parliament, as well as parliaments of other parties.

Referenda in Ukraine cannot be held while martial law is in place, making any forecasting for when all the necessary steps could take place impossible.

The treaty would also oblige the guarantors to support Ukraine’s accession to the European Union.

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