Zelensky calls for ‘global document’ guaranteeing Ukraine’s security
The US, Russia, and other major powers should sign an agreement which would contain “three-four-five clauses” about Ukraine’s security, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has suggested in an interview with the RBC Ukraine outlet on Thursday.
Saying that NATO now is “the only one of the existing security alliances which Ukraine could join,” Zelensky admitted that this process would take a long time, “especially if there is escalation.” Therefore, the Ukrainian leader argued, Ukraine “must get a system of guarantees,” which, “at least, theoretically,” should not be inferior to the system which NATO members enjoy.
Describing the anticipated system, Zelensky said that Ukraine now could rely only on itself, with an army of just 200,000 “armed professional people.”
“We can increase the army by two or three times, but then, for example, we will not be able to build roads. For us, this is a problem,” he explained before calling on the partners to listen to Ukraine’s needs.
“If you, our partners, say that these are our common values, then let's spend it together. And no, this is not altruism, it’s about the fact that tomorrow you will be attacked as well,” Zelensky said.
Arguing that the world’s major powers “should bear responsibility,” he explained that by “responsibility” he means, first of all, providing financial support for the Ukrainian army and energy security for the whole of Ukraine.
“We immediately admit that we do not need military people with foreign flags on our territory. We don’t ask for it. Otherwise, destabilization will be all around the world. We do not want to give the Russian Federation another reason to say that we have bases here and that they need to ‘defend’ themselves. But we want everything else,” Zelensky said.
Besides these “pragmatic” things, Ukraine, according to Zelensky, needs a “global document.”
We will not get off with the Normandy format team and no one will get off. The major powers of this world, including the US and Russia, will sit down and sign that there is such a way. But there should be three-four-five points about the security of our country. Then it will be a conversation.
Commenting on the already existing Minsk agreements, which represent a roadmap for a peace process in eastern Ukraine and which Kiev signed in 2014 and 2015, Zelensky said that these documents were related neither to the Crimea issue, nor to “Russia’s troops on the border,” and, in general, have been “poorly written.”
Current tensions between Russia and Ukraine are centered on the Minsk agreements, with sides accusing each other of multiple violations of the documents’ terms. Kiev’s Western supporters over the last few months have been accusing Russia of an alleged plan to invade its neighbor – something that Moscow has repeatedly denied. On Wednesday, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that military drills near the Ukrainian border had been completed, and therefore troops had begun to return to their bases.
In light of the tensions, Moscow has also raised a question about security guarantees. In December last year it published its demands for NATO, including a ban on the alliance’s enlargement eastward and a limit to the deployment of troops and weapons to the bloc’s eastern flank. However, both these requests have been immediately turned down by the West.