Ukraine wants to see 11 countries as security guarantors: their reactions

31 March, 02:41 PM
Ukrainian delegation at the talks in Istanbul, March 29 (Photo:Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)

Ukrainian delegation at the talks in Istanbul, March 29 (Photo:Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)

Following peace negotiations with Russia in Istanbul in Turkey on March 29, the Ukrainian delegation unveiled the idea of a new system of security guarantees for Ukraine.

Ukraine's offers

The head of the negotiating group, David Arakhamia, said that Kyiv wants to see the countries of the UN Security Council, including the United Kingdom, China, the United States, France, Turkey, Germany, Poland and Israel, as guarantors. Other countries will be able to give security guarantees at will.

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According to him, Ukraine wants to receive security guarantees from the signatory countries that will be tougher than NATO's Article 5.

"We mean that consultations should be held within three days, whether it is an aggression, a hybrid war, (or) a disguised war under any format,” Arakhamia said.

“After that, the guarantor countries must provide us with military assistance with armed forces, weapons, and closed skies."

The security guarantees will not apply to the occupied Donbas and Crimea at this stage, Arakhamia said.

Two more negotiators, namely advisor to the chief-of-staff of the Office of the President of Ukraine Mykhailo Podolyak and head of the legal group of the Ukrainian delegation Oleksandr Chalyi, in turn named Russia as being among the possible guarantor countries of Ukraine's security.

"(Among the guarantor countries of Ukraine's security) Russia will be on a par with everyone else. No matter how it sounds... it will be (just) another country," Chalyi said.

"From an international law point of view, in the legal essence of the agreement on security guarantees for Ukraine, (Russia) will be one of the guarantor countries. The most important thing that we managed to achieve is that Russia, when implementing an article that allows other guarantor countries to use and provide armed forces to protect our security, had agreed that it would not have the right to veto this."

Podolyak added that, "the presence of Russia, along with the United States, the UK, Turkey, Germany and other countries, as a signatory to a multilateral treaty, imposes many additional burdens on the Russians and allows us not to use a complicated bilateral format. We can only avoid the traditional Russian non-binding legal contract (through using) the framework of a multilateral treaty."

Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak also named Canada and Italy as being among the possible guarantors of Ukraine's security.

UK: "We would be happy to play this role"

UK Permanent Representative to the UN Barbara Woodward has already announced that her country is ready to become one of the guarantors of Ukraine's security if Kyiv requests this.

"We would be happy to play a role in this if the government of Ukraine asks us to do so – yes," she said at a briefing on March 29.

Woodward said the United Kingdom wants to help end the war in any way, as well as ensuring the withdrawal of Russian troops.

She reiterated that the UK was providing significant humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine. In particular, over GBP 400 million has already been allocated for humanitarian aid.

In addition, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky talk by phone almost every day.

Germany: Scholz signals "general willingness"

German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit said that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had said that Germany was ready to act as a security guarantor for Ukraine.

At the same time, Hebestreit said he did not want to speculate about whether the security guarantor role would also include a military component.

United States: We are in constant discussion with Ukraine, but there's nothing specific yet

"We are in constant discussion with Ukrainians about ways that we can help ensure that they are sovereign and secure. But there's nothing specific about a security guarantee that I can speak to at this time," White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said at a press briefing on March 30.

Russia: "We cannot say there have been any breakthroughs"

Russia did not comment on the possibility of becoming a guarantor of Ukraine's security. In general, the Kremlin was unenthusiastic about the results of the talks in Istanbul.

"Let's just say, we cannot state anything very promising, (about) any breakthroughs. There is a lot of work ahead," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said after the talks.

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