Return to Budapest format: a chance for peace in Ukraine, or the new utopia

Ukraine has again started talking about the “Budapest format.” According to experts, this is to sit at the negotiating table the United States. But the format of Budapest is minus Germany

After a visit to Berlin the foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba and head of the Office of the President Andriy Yermak will go to Paris. Date is not yet known, but it will happen before the meeting of foreign Ministers of “Norman Quartet”, which on 2 June in Berlin announced Kuleba and his German colleague Heiko Maas. Interestingly, on the eve of the visit of Ukrainian delegation to Berlin in the portal of the American analytical center Atlantic Council published an article Deputy Prime Minister and representative of Ukraine at the talks in Minsk Alexei Reznikov on the necessity of a return to “the Budapest format”. Experts believe that thus the Office of Vladimir Zelensky trying to return to the negotiations of the United States. But will Russia agree?

What is the “Budapest format”

All those who talk about “Budapest format” or the format “Budapest+” one way or another based on the Budapest Memorandum. The document was signed on 5 December 1994. In exchange for the surrender of Ukraine’s nuclear potential signatories of the Memorandum – Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States (who were later joined by France and China) – provided to your Kiev security guarantees. So it was believed until the spring of 2014.

After the annexation and occupation by Russia of Crimea and the outbreak of a direct military invasion of the Donbass was found that all six points of the Budapest Memorandum is absolutely not oblige its signatories to defend Ukraine from military attacks by other States. The only thing that accurately provides for Memorandum, is the convening of a consultation of its signatories. But legal mechanisms, as the signatories should act if we were attacked in Ukraine, in the document no.

In April 2014 Ukraine convened a consultation of the signatories of the Budapest Memorandum. Gathered at that time Minister of foreign Affairs of Ukraine Andriy Deshchytsia, U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry and Minister of foreign Affairs of great Britain William Hague. The Russian foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, refused to participate, stating that Russia has violated the Budapest Memorandum, because it does not threaten Ukraine with nuclear weapons.

In April 2014, Ukraine also managed to get on the Geneva format, which discussed the question of the Crimea. In Geneva on 17 April gathered Andriy Deshchytsia, Kerry, EU high representative Catherine Ashton and Sergei Lavrov. The parties also signed a statement of four points. However, according to the expert of the Center for global studies “Strategy XXI” Elena Snigir, Russia successfully managed to bring the Crimea in brackets.

“On Donbass have the Channel format, but in the Crimea there is nothing. The annexation and occupation of Crimea, Russia violated the postwar European order, under which she also signed. The Budapest Memorandum at the time, was including about it. Crimea is a vivid violation of the Budapest Memorandum. The goal of the Budapest format must be a design problem of de-occupation of Crimea to the international debate with clearly defined requirements for Russia. The format of the de-occupation of Crimea in consultations under the Budapest Memorandum – is a very good political move on the part of Ukraine. Western States have no argument against it, except that they are politically not ready. But tomorrow that could change. We do not expect that Russia will join the Budapest format. We can start talking about the actions of Russia and without Russia. We can talk including the pan-European security, since such a discussion, initiated by the Russian, already in full swing. Budapest is a good idea for Ukraine in the translation of the discussion about creating a new European bezopasnosti order is destroyed by Russia in a constructive direction. After all, without discussion of the problem of occupation of Crimea all the discussions and built a new defense system will be complete,” says the website, “Today,” Elena Snigir.

Budapest or Budapest+

In the six years of war with Russia, almost all Ukrainian politicians suggested to return to “the Budapest format” on the basis of the Budapest Memorandum. In 2016, as President, on the basis of the Budapest Memorandum, Poroshenko proposed to create the format of the “Geneva+” to return to the Crimea. According to experts, suggestions on the establishment of “Budapest” or format “Budapest+” was in the pre-election programs of the parties in the parliamentary elections in 2019. Talked about this in “the Servant of the people”. But never has such ideas, first, are not perceived in the West, and secondly, in Russia.

Why on “Budapest format” again? And most importantly, whether it will agree to Russia? In his article Alexei Reznikov writes that initially the talks in the “Budapest format” can be carried out without Russia. But what’s the point?

“I would be very careful trying to replace the “Normandy format” “Budapest”. Russia and Putin are personally involved, often not very productive, in the “Normandy format” of France, Germany and Ukraine. But in April 2014, when Ukraine convened a meeting of foreign Ministers on the basis of the Budapest Memorandum, came the foreign Ministers of the USA and the UK. The Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov did not. Will the participation of Russia in “Budapest format” today? I doubt it,” said the website, “Today,” Steven Pifer.

Besides, according to a member of the Board of the Council on foreign relations, “the Ukrainian prism” Anna Shelest, at the time, Washington was invited to formally join the negotiation format. Then Kurt Volker was a special envoy of the state Department on the Ukrainian question, and the United States responded that that is enough. However, after the departure of Volcker in his place continues to be empty, and the States and the President of the United States Donald trump was deeply immersed in its internal problems and the race.

“Why now in Ukraine believe that the situation has changed and US suddenly in an election year, will be ready to join? I don’t see what it is optimistic basis. Just to talk about the format? All that is in the Budapest Memorandum, is consultations that are convened. The British always say, the French… I’m even some politicians heard that the “Budapest format” they want more and China, because he is a signatory. For me Budapest is minus Germany. What then will give? Or do you want to do “Budapest format” + Germany? Plus, without Russia it would not make sense. Russia theoretically could agree. For her it will be even better. This is the erosion of negotiation formats, as it was in his time in Bosnia. When the fruit of the negotiation formats, it gives the aggressor the opportunity to manipulate,” – told “Today” Anna Shelest.

We will remind, following the results of negotiations in Berlin on 2 June, the Minister of foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba said that no direct talks in Kiev with Pro-Russian militants in the Donbas will not:

Dmitry Kuleba. Source: