1994 Budapest Memorandum

1994 Budapest Memorandum
1994 Budapest Memorandum

Budapest Memorandum was signed by Ukraine, Great Britain, Russia and the USA on December 5, 1994. The document established security guarantees in connection with Ukraine's accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. In 1996, this accession took place.

Budapest memorandum


The text of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum provided for Ukraine's obligation to remove all nuclear weapons from its territory within the prescribed time frame. In turn, the Russian Federation, the United States and the United Kingdom committed to:

  • Respect the sovereignty, existing borders and independence of Ukraine in accordance with the OSCE Final Act.
  • Do not use any weapons against the political independence, territorial integrity of Ukraine, unless for the purposes of self-defense and in other cases in accordance with the UN Charter.
  • Restrain from economic coercion that aims to subordinate Ukraine's exercise of the rights inherent in its sovereignty to its own interests and thereby secure any advantages for itself.
  • Demand fromUN Security Council for immediate action if Ukraine, as a member of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, becomes the object of a threat or a victim of aggression using nuclear weapons.
  • Do not use nuclear weapons against Ukraine, except in cases of attacks by this country on states bound by the memorandum, their territories and their allies.
  • Conduct counseling should disputes arise regarding the above commitments.

China and France

At the time when the Budapest Memorandum was signed, two more nuclear powers, France and China, were full participants in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. However, they did not sign the text of the document, but spoke about guarantees by issuing relevant statements. Their difference was that there was no clause on mandatory counseling in ambiguous situations.

1994 Budapest Memorandum

Legal Status

Currently, disputes about whether the document is legally binding on the parties do not subside. As of 2014, the Budapest Memorandum has not been ratified. According to Vladimir Ryabtsev, First Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, who worked in this position in 1994-1995. and participated in the preparation of the document, when signing it, there was no talk of its ratification in the states that are parties. Then, in the opinion of Ryabtsev, there was an understanding that the Budapest Memorandum, the text of which was adopted by the participating countries, is mandatory for a steadyexecution.

Also, Ryabtsev expressed the opinion that back in 2003, when there was a conflict over Tuza Island, the Russian Federation showed the opposite position on the issue of the significance and binding nature of the document signed in Hungary. The former First Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stated that in 2010 he finally understood that the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 is not an international legally binding document, since the discussions held within the framework of the Review Conference clearly demonstrated the fact that only the treaty ratified by the state must be implemented. At the same time, Vladimir Ryabtsev does not agree with the currently prevailing classification of the Memorandum as a document expressing the obligations of the parties, but considers it an interstate agreement that clearly establishes the implementation of the prescribed provisions.

Budapest memorandum not ratified

Opinion of other political figures

Vladimir Gorbulin, ex-Secretary of the Security Council of Ukraine, and Alexander Litvinenko, Ph.D. Budapest Memorandum. It was proposed to involve the states that guaranteed the security of Ukraine in 1994, as well as other major geopolitical players, to participate in the conference.

Crimean crisis and observance of the Memorandum

Russian President Vladimir Putin against the backdrop of the events in Crimea on March 1, 2014received permission from the Federation Council to use the Russian Armed Forces on the territory of the Ukrainian state until the socio-political situation in this country is normalized. Such measures were due, according to Putin, to the extraordinary situation in Ukraine that threatens the lives of our compatriots, as well as the fact that, in accordance with an international treaty, personnel of the military contingent of the RF Armed Forces are deployed on the territory of the Ukrainian state. Officially, no one announced the introduction of troops, but there were numerous cases of people without identification marks seizing military facilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. According to the Ukrainian authorities, they were Russian servicemen.

budapest memorandum ukraine

Putin's statements

The Russian President initially denied that our soldiers were involved in the Crimean crisis. However, after Crimea became part of the Russian Federation, Putin confirmed that Russian military personnel supported the self-defense forces of the peninsula during the referendum. Such actions, according to the president, were taken in order to ensure conditions for the free expression of the will of the Crimeans and to maintain a peaceful situation in Crimea. Later, Vladimir Putin said that Russia never hid the fact that its troops were used to block Ukrainian military units.

The Budapest memorandum through the eyes of the Russian authorities

Our country officially denies all accusations of violating the 1994 agreements and, in general, their applicability to the situation in Crimea. RussianOn March 4, 2014, the president expressed the opinion that, since a revolution took place in Ukraine, it can be considered that a new state was formed on its territory, and Russia did not sign any binding documents with respect to it.

Budapest Memorandum 1994

The Foreign Ministry on April 1 issued a statement that the Russian Federation had never guaranteed that it would force part of Ukraine against the will of local residents to remain in its composition, and the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 on the circumstances that were the result of the socio-economic and domestic political factors, does not apply. The Russian Foreign Ministry referred to the events that took place in Crimea as such factors.

The position of the Russian Federation on the merits of the issue is as follows: the Budapest Memorandum in its concept has only an obligation not to threaten the use of nuclear weapons and not to use them against non-nuclear states, which is Ukraine. Russia fulfills this obligation in full, and it is not violated in any way.

The position of the Ukrainian authorities

The Ukrainian side believes that the actions of the Russian Federation in Crimea, including the entry of the peninsula into Russia, violate the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. On March 21, 2014, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the Declaration on the Struggle for the Liberation of Ukraine and in it stated that the Russian Federation not only violated the current legislation of the sovereign Ukrainian state, but also ignored the norms of international law, which are enshrined in the UN Charter.

budapest memorandum text

27On March 2014, Andriy Deshchytsia, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, during a speech at a meeting of the UN General Assembly said that an integral part of the Ukrainian state, after a two-week military occupation, was forcibly annexed by a country that had previously pledged to guarantee the sovereignty, independence and integrity of Ukraine in accordance with the Budapest memorandum. Deshchytsia asked the UN General Assembly to support a resolution on the territorial integrity of Ukraine, which would declare the referendum held in Crimea null and void.

In conclusion

December 5, 2014, on the twentieth anniversary of the Budapest Memorandum, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the Prime Minister of Ukraine, once again called on the parties to the treaty to take joint decisive action to force Russia to fulfill its obligations. In turn, Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, said that the Memorandum did not contain obligations to recognize the coup d'état that had taken place in Ukraine. And on December 6, 2014, members of the Crimean Initiative group stated that it was Ukraine that had violated the provisions of the Budapest Memorandum, because at the time of its signing, the sovereignty of this country did not extend to the Republic of Crimea, and in general, the peninsula was illegally part of the Ukrainian state for many years.

text of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum

As you can see, disputes over the status of the document signed on December 5, 1994 do not subside to this day. We can only follow the developments.

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