Ukraine is seeking security guarantees from the US, European countries and Moscow as part of a possible settlement following Russia’s invasion, a government adviser has said.
Kyiv accepted that its long-term aim to join the Nato military alliance was distant because of the Kremlin’s opposition, and was instead seeking a separate security agreement in the near term, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday.
Mykhailo Podolyak’s comments followed failed peace talks between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers in the southern Turkish city of Antalya.
Thursday’s meeting was their first since Russia invaded its neighbour on February 24 but it yielded little, with sticking points including Moscow’s territorial claims on parts of Ukraine.
Nato “is still not ready to accept Ukraine as an unconditional partner”, Podolyak told the Financial Times. “This uncertainty, as we understand it, will last for a long time.”
He added that Ukraine was discussing “new formats of European security” with Russia and the west that could give Ukraine “guarantees comparable” to Article 5 of the Nato Treaty.
Podolyak made clear Ukraine would not accept another agreement with weak assurances, such as the 1994 Budapest Memorandum signed by Kyiv, Moscow, the US and UK.
The agreement meant Ukraine surrendered its Soviet-era nuclear arsenal, which was the third-largest in the world at the time, to Russia in return for security assurances from the other signatories.
“The main problem of the Budapest Memorandum is the lack of clear legal obligations for the guarantor parties in the event of aggression,” Podolyak said.
“Now, when we talk about security guarantees for Ukraine, we are talking only about clear legal obligations,” he added. “Specific logistical actions. So that in the event of any aggression against Ukraine, specific states are legally obliged to take specific actions to protect Ukraine,” he added.