Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko Churchill | February 8, 2015

Budapest Protocol

With the Cold War’s end and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity quickly gravitated towards the export markets and became a cornerstone of the European order of things.

Europe was flooded with the commodities most prevalent in Ukraine and ready for export. Mainly Vodka, weapons, women, and potatoes. All these, were sent to Western Europe, and then spread throughout the world, along with a healthy dose of criminality.

These transactions were presided over by the numberless Capos, pimps, drug lords, and the occasional “standard of Kyiv” led by the ubiquitous exKGB moffos. All the “rats” who left the sinking ship called Soviet Union were not bad, but the exodus from Ukraine was monumental in it’s mix of ideologues and apparatchiks, turned rampant free market capitalists, placid bureaucrats turned vehement traitors, and military men turned weapons profiteers. And thus the “Ukrainian problem” was created along with the modern Ukrainian mafia. Now mind you these people were the most “entrepreneurial” elements of their society and for lack of decent opportunity in their homeland turned to Corruption. Their achievement is singular because they managed to disperse to the west and the east, to Arabia and Iran, to Pakistan and India, to China and Vietnam, … a complete country.

And of course they were all connected. They say that Ukraine invented the smart phone because what they call a smart phone is a phone answered by a procurator who can procure all things. Now this country’s collapse into corruption and “Everything Is For Sale” mentality, caused two significant things of geopolitical importance to the rest of the world — taking place.

First is that in the complete vacuum of power that was exacerbated inside and outside the country by the same interests at play, as those that played out the days just before the Second World War., we lost sight of the nation. As you might recall in the days leading to WWII, the Germans in agreement with the Russians dismembered Poland, in order to win their own spheres of Influence. Next thing You know, Hitler’s armies invaded from the West while Russian armies looked on from the East. Only Great Britain defended Poland then and declared war on the Germans. Now this is playing out in Ukraine and the strategic moves are taken from the same playbook. Sad foreboding dwells in my heart for what is coming down the pike…

Second was the prevailing idea that since everything in Ukraine is for sale — why don’t we sell the whole country as is with the people and all. The Capos decided and offered the Crimea to the Russians who wanted it, all along with the Eastern part of the country, and then they offered to sell all the rest of the country to Berlin. This way they reckon to expedite the wheels of History and to turn a tidy profit at the same time.

And as you see this is the way the game of Ukraine’s dismemberment is played out today…

And thus was born the “Ukrainian problem” that was exported to the rest of the world, same as the Chernobyl radiation was “exported” to the rest of the world. And same way the weapons, the drugs, and the hookers were exported to the rest of the world. Complimentary trades. Now other countries had to deal with it — whether they liked it or not.

And the inside of the country became a heaven for criminality because when all the best minds, all the scientists, and all the entrepreneurial elements left their country for greener pastures abroad — they were quickly replaced inside the country by the still powerful “old guard” masquerading themselves now as the New Oligarchy based on the Russian Economic Model of plundering the Public Assets from the Old Communist Regime and still maintaining the automatic and reflexive reliance to the old “Mother Russia” and Kremlin the seat of ALL POWER.

But since the old Communist leaders and Cappos, turned Oligarchs needed to Lord it over an extractive resource industry and Ukraine doesn’t have one — they started selling in the Black Market everything that wasn’t tied down, and some things that were. First and foremost they sold their loyalty, their state secrets, and their services to the first bidder from Washington and London. If they had a high rank this made some sense but the majority who betrayed their flag and country, looked East to Kremlin and to Berlin. They became traitors and once they had turned to Berlin and Moscow offering their services, their state secrets, and looking for paymasters — they were lost to Ukraine and Democracy.

Later all other ordinary citizens started selling themselves and anything they could lay hands onto, seeing what their leaders were doing and emulating their examples.

Ukrainian brides, Ak47s, and RPGs, were the easy sellers. You could buy both through the mail system same as it is today through the Internet. The term “Brides by Mail” was born right then and there…

But you could also buy a more sophisticated combination of cannon and women. Or you could buy all the modern war tanks along with howlitzers, and a bevy of blondes to operate these, with enough shells and rockets, to start your own war.

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A real cannon fodder was soon to follow…

Anybody could see this.

You see Karma is a Bitch.

Because back then you literally could uy your own army.

You could really buy enough tanks to outfit and field whole mechanized division armies bigger, better, and far more lethal, that General Rommel or Marshal Molotov ever had…

You could buy warplanes, supersonic bombers, complex radar and high altitude reconnaissance airplanes, and even the first stealth warjets, along with the aerojel fuel to run them. You could buy them all for pennies on the dollar.

You could buy for a few hundred thousands all these along with transporters, and flying tankers, as well as the ubiquitous Kalasnikovs AK47s and the factories that make them.

In a short three year, all the old Soviet war armaments, were quickly sold along with enough munitions to start World War Three.

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Once the army depots started running empty and the military arsenals, and their base armouries were exhausted — the profiteers of the Ukrainian economic collapse, turned their sights to the Public Goods, and started selling the public infrastructure state assets.

You could buy everything that could be removed. From modular buildings, to airport hangars, and airplane shelters, to the vast silos, and the fixed fuel and water tanks of the civilian infrastructure. You could buy electricity generation factories rather cheap. Especially the nuclear generators…

From modular steel bridges and infrastructure elements like factories and assembly lines to military tanks, cannons, bridges, and warships — all wa for sale.

Foreigner flush with cash and promises, came and bought the sophisticated technology factories, and even the helicopter and airplane factories in total for a little money upfront and with abundant swiss and German LOCs. Deal were made at the whorehouses late at night or early in the morning depending on how you count time.

The automobile and tire factories were the first to go. You could see these vast manufacturing works, being quickly dismantled, packaged, and making their way to China and the Far East, in a space of days — not even weeks. This was causing a boom of activity and production of all such industrial things with new names but with the old stamp of manufacture from Ukraine, and with the sophisticated engineering talent from Ukraine that knew how to run them in the first place.

This came to be known as the “Complete Asset Purchase” because the factories were all sold along with the people who operated them and their families. So, the engineers, and technicians, along with those who were traded and trafficed or “force migrated” to China and Pakistan, like the boobsy blonde Godesses found in the heartland industrial centres of China today, like Chengdu and Jiangtsu where there is a thriving community of Ukrainian technologists, whores, and Nuclear Engineers, along with sophisticated nuclear scientists, aerospace and weapons engineers.

Higher value assets like top Physicists and Nuclear Scientists gravitated to the same places and even Teheran and Islamabad but the top echelon moved to the US and Western Europe under special visa agreements like the 300 top physics scientists and PHDs admitted to Washington State overnight. The same provision came from many other states in the US ready to attract top Nuclear talent from Russia and Ukraine at the time of the Soviet Union collapse.

But the middle level scientists were spread out East, and elsewhere where with enough stolen plutonium and an understanding regime — they could start a new Nuclear Bomb making program. The Arab world is still smattered with those nascent programs, but we only hear about Teheran’s race to built nuclear reactors, although Turkey’s and Saudi Arabia’s programs are far more advanced.

And that was the time that with so much nuclear capacity and “materiel” from Ukraine flooding the export markets of the World — we came to be concerned. For God’s sake it was like an open air bazaar. You could buy a ‘Field theatre nuclear warhead” in the semi legal open air “Arms bazaar” taking place every weekend on the muddy outskirts of Kiyv, where you could buy and take home such a nuclear weapon for the folding money that you had in your pockets.

One could buy any number of nuclear armed warheads, and even the “nuclear stuffing” alone.  You could buy raw uranium, and enriched plutonium. You could even buy spent fuel rods from Ukraine’s nuclear factories for a few quid.

The nuclear stuff being exported in the World’s Black Markets from Ukraine was so cheap and plentiful that it came to supplant the Ukrainian “Brides” markets in twofers. “Twofer” being a two for one offer so you could have our plutonium cake and eat it too. Or have a blonde carry it for You to the next destination. Maybe that contributed to a whole new funny industry about the Ukrainian damn blondes being luminous and in radiating good health.

I can see how the Adverts on the Internet could play out if the medium was developed back then:  “Do You want some leggy blondes to go with that warhead you just purchased? Come to Kiyv… for an exotic holiday in Black Market heaven”

Still that was the popular advert of the 1990s in the high level finance and random profit economy of the 1990s.  And all manner of fortune seeking people flocked and drank vodka and made deals, and fucked, and bought all manner of shit from Ukraine… as they still do today.

People came and did business. And that was a new thing for Ukrainians after 50 years of state owned economy. But since the fall of communism, the local leaders did business like crazy and cowboys and entrepreneurial guys came from all over the world, armed with bodyguards. They came to buy “shit.” They ranged from shady characters, to gifted businessmen, and from Mafia types, to Arab potentates and Chinese prince, and middlemen. They all came to Kiev seeking a bargain. Spies and pimps, mixing it up with financiers, and Swiss bankers along with a smattering of German industrialists, came and had a very big party together. They all came to Kiyv and bought machinery, factories, drugs and bridges, whores and nuclear submarines, complex missiles armed with nuclear ICBMs and even nuclear reactors. The Germans also bought vast tracts of arable land and the agricultural machinery that runs these agrobusinesses along with the “Kolhoz” villages of people to work this land. They bought the pharmaceutical factories and whisked them to China overnight. They bought all the munitions factories they could lay their hands on to. They acquired all manner of warships and even modern class frigates and destroyers. They bought the latest military supersonic warplanes and the factories that built them. And they bought them to advance their weapons making export industry and to sell their output product on the World Markets as German made…

Just to give you a taste of the liquidity of this market: You could buy the latest Mig jet plane back then, armed with weapons, for less than a hundred thousand pound sterling. You could buy biological agents and bioweapon for a few hundred dollars. You could procur scientists with their whole families for the price of their airplane ticket and an exit Visa to a “strong” and safe country.

If it was something that fights, flies, floats, or fucks — you could buy it in Ukraine cheaper than anywhere else. And people bought it all looking for an upside. Not a bad market if you can have it…

And all these thing happened in the pace of a few short year, before the world recognized this as a threat and tried to reconstitute a sense of order in the weapons markets of Ukraine and the old Soviet Union through bailing out Russia but not Ukraine. Much later they came to recognize the error of this but it was far too late for Ukraine to be economically salvaged. And we reap the fruits of this vast oversight and diplomatic negligence today. Who can assemble back the winds into the sack once they have been released?

Can you close Pandora’s box once it has opened?

Yet, all these events happened but the way to sort them is not going to be necessarily in that same order a they were unsorted… because the historical collapse of the Soviet Union, created the largest vacuum of power in Europe, since the ending of World War Two, and the thing that mattered most back then, was to save the world from the leakage of nuclear technology and assets. But nobody could stem the tide of fissionable materiel coming out of the collapse of Ukraine and of the Soviet military system as a whole.

Yet when you started tracing plutonium and radiation in all the flights leaving Kiev, and in the European capital airports — people got alarmed. All major governments started installing Geiger counters in the airports and in their entry points throughout Europe far from those bordering the East. And they got plenty of nuclear stuff and plutonium to make them really concerned.

The time that the nasty and dangerous game was up and had gotten discovered by the World’s relevant authorities — came when people getting radiation sickness all over.  Normally sleepy folks in governments got wakened and became seriously concerned when the main bank vaults in Switzerland’s banks started leaking radiation inside the bank basements and inside their buildings. They looked and found that it all came from the Ukrainian nuclear material stored in their vaults, under secret numbered Swiss accounts.

Try to figure this one out now.

People and especially Germans started thinking…

Where is my gold hiding?

Is it safe?

Is it going to kill me once I start fingering it again?

The banker-wankers became alarmed.

Asking the Physicists they quickly found out that the half life of Plutonium is 7,000 long years — they figured they should hold out that long too…

But for mere mortals, we all know that when radiation leaks and starts polluting the gold bar reserves and other valuables laying in these vaults, irradiating them with long lasting nuclear radiation — this devalues the wealth of whole countries…

Now this becomes a serious issue.

But those are the vagaries of stolen wealth, stolen nuclear war materiel, and of history…

On December 1, 1991 Ukraine, the second most powerful republic in the USSR, voted overwhelmingly for independence, which ended any realistic chance of the Soviet Union staying together even on a limited scale. More than 90% of the electorate expressed their support for the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine, and they elected the chairman of the parliament, Leonid Kravchuk to serve as the first president of the country. At the meetings in Brest, in Belarus on December 8th, followed by the Alma Ata meetings on December 21st, the leaders of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine formally dissolved the Soviet Union and formed the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

After the dissolution of the USSR, about one third of the Soviet nuclear arsenal, as well as significant means of its design, manufacture, and production, remained within the sovereign Ukrainian territory, and that was a huge threat to the nuclear security of the world.

To turn these nuclear weapons away and make Ukraine a Non Nuclear State, it took a bit of arm twisting on behalf of the big bully, the Russians and by the Americans and the Brits. Gradually the Ukrainians came to see the light. And they agreed under strong guarantees to give up their nuclear arsenal. Thus the THREE POWERS agreed to the Budapest protocol where the same three countries guaranteed the territorial integrity of Ukraine, at the same borders designated at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Guess who these countries are…

At the time they were in a terrible bind because they all desperately wanted Ukraine to return the incredible loads of nuclear weapons stationed at the territory of Ukraine by the former Soviet Union. And thus they coaxed Ukrainian leaders to return all these weapons to Russia in exchange for a guarantee of her territorial integrity by the United States of America, by Russia, and by the United Kingdom.

On December 5, 1994 the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Britain and the United States signed a memorandum to provide Ukraine with security assurances in connection with its accession to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state. The four parties signed the memorandum, containing a preamble and six paragraphs. The memorandum reads as follows:

The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,

Welcoming the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as non-nuclear-weapon State,

Taking into account the commitment of Ukraine to eliminate all nuclear weapons from its territory within a specified period of time,

Noting the changes in the world-wide security situation, including the end of the Cold War, which have brought about conditions for deep reductions in nuclear forces.

Confirm the following:

1. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.

2. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

3. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind.

4. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used.

5. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm, in the case of Ukraine, their commitment not to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclearweapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, except in the case of an attack on themselves, their territories or dependent territories, their armed forces, or their allies, by such a State in association or alliance with a nuclear-weapon State.

6. Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America will consult in the event a situation arises that raises a question concerning these commitments.

This Memorandum became applicable upon signature. Signed in four copies having equal validity in the English, Russian, and Ukrainian languages is forever binding the signatory nations…

And what of the remaining two members of the security Council of the United Nations?

France and China, also provided Ukraine with assurances similar to the Budapest Memorandum, but with some significant differences. For instance, France’s pledge does not contain the promises laid out in paragraphs 4 and 6 above, to refer any aggression to the UN Security Council, nor to consult in the event of a question regarding the commitments.

China’s pledge takes a different form entirely, dating from 4 December, and reading as follows:

  • The Chinese Government welcomes the decision of Ukraine to destroy all nuclear weapons on its territory, and commends the approval by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 16 November of Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a non-nuclear-weapon State. China fully understands the desire of Ukraine for security assurance. The Chinese Government has always maintained that under no circumstances will China use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States or nuclear-weapon-free zones. This principled position also applies to Ukraine. The Chinese Government urges all other nuclear-weapon States to undertake the same commitment, so as to enhance the security of all non-nuclear-weapon States, including Ukraine.
  • The Chinese Government has constantly opposed the practice of exerting political, economic or other pressure in international relations. It maintains that disputes and differences should be settled peacefully through consultations on an equal footing. Abiding by the spirit of the Sino-Ukrainian joint communiqué of 4 January 1992 on the establishment of diplomatic relations, the Sino-Ukrainian joint communiqué of 31 October 1992 and the Sino-Ukrainian joint statement of 6 September 1994, China recognizes and respects the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and stands ready to further develop friendly and cooperative Sino-Ukraine relations on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.

Thus, China’s pledge, similar to France’s, does not pledge to involve UN or consultative mechanisms in case of crisis. However, it does pledge to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Yet when Russia annexed Crimea as is now causing the fighting in the East of the country, in order to annex also the vastly important Eastern part of Ukraine — everybody kept quiet.

Nobody raised the issue at the Security Council of the UN. And therefore no UN action was ever taken to protect Ukraine…

So, who is protecting the Ukrainian national sovereignty as they promised to do, and who is honouring their agreement?

Where is the Power of the Trilateral guarantee of the United Nation Security Council members that secured the borders of the sovereign nation of Ukraine?

That whole thing is a significant failure of Foreign Policy and of the UN and it’s Security Council because it is a strategic fact now, when it is evident more than ever before, that WAR is afoot in the heart of Europe.

War is ravaging Europe’s centre. Not her East, because in terms of geography — Ukraine and Kiev are right smack in the middle of Europe. When you measure the European continent from the Atlantic to the Ural mountains, you see the veracity of this.

Can You see World War Three?

Today’s Ukraine is a total victim of the Russian military aggression, and, like it or not, its fate will essentially determine that of Europe’s, because the current crisis will define the rules and principles that Europeans live by in the twenty-first century.

It will define whether we have war or not in total. It will define whether Europe will be governed by the principles of freedom, democracy, the rule of law, and the inviolability of national borders, or will be governed through fear and through the sheer might of jackbooted thugs with machine guns killing civilians all over the place, all over again.

Will Europe get to be governed based on the willingness to use force? And will the mean spirited triumph?

Will a coerced democracy and totalitarian spheres of influence trump the right of countries, large or small, to determine their own future?

Today’s democratic Ukraine is fighting not only for her ground and her people but is also fighting for Europe’s future too.

Despite Russia’s claimed annexation of Crimea, the Government of Ukraine has reaffirmed its decision in 1994 to accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon state. Nonetheless, some Ukrainians and foreign policy commentators argue that if Ukraine had not removed its nuclear weapons, Russia would have been deterred from aggression against Ukraine. Certain Ukrainian leaders are angered by Western Europe and the United States, who advised and pressured them to remove their nuclear arsenal under the guise of the worthless guarantees they received.

After Yanukovych fled and was replaced, a power vacuum opened and Russia annexed Crimea. Russia intervened through nationalist and cultural rhetoric stating that they were protecting ethnic Russians from attacks in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. Therefore the Budapest Protocol Memorandum was violated fully by one of it’s signatories, because the Russian military intervened in Ukraine.

Now Ukraine may have to arm themselves with their own nuclear weapons if the US and the other Guarantor world leading nations of the UN Security Council, do not hold up their end of the agreement. The Ukrainian Prime Minister said “We gave up nuclear weapons because of this agreement. Now, there’s a strong sentiment in Ukraine that we made a big mistake.” He also said that, “In the future, no matter how the situation is resolved in Crimea, we need a much stronger Ukraine. If you have nuclear weapons, people don’t invade you.”

On 13 December 2014 the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stated that he did not want Ukraine to become a nuclear power again, but circumstances might demand it…

Russian President Vladimir Putin is a retrograde Communist still living in the last century and now wants to restore a useless international order based on exclusive spheres of influence controlled by major powers who are willing to kill and smote every Democratic wish of the People of this world. Putin wants to turn back the clock and bring back an old school military “machine” and the system that prevailed in Europe’s war-torn eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

A daft idea on anybody’s book. And yet the only thing standing on his way is a European Ukraine and the European Union that together stand in the way of his goal. That is why current Russian policy seeks to destabilize Ukraine permanently, especially territorially, militarily, and financially.

And since the three Signatories of the Budapest Protocol cannot honour their obligations to Ukraine — Europe must step into the breach.

Because it is in Europe’s selfish interest, gain, and profit, that Ukraine must be maintained as a strong independent and vociferous barrier between the progressive Democracies of Europe and the dark Russian bear getting increasingly unhinged…

Yes, fighting against Russia via a proxy war in Ukraine and is fighting in Russia’s own best interests. This, is Europe’s current nightmare. A plausible scenario that is only liked by the war profiteers and by the oil & gas oligarchs, like Putin and his comrades, the fossil fuel companies… They like it because the price of oil will hit the roof and because they are the only ones who are going to benefit majorly from an expanded war in Europe today.

So who is going to stop this?

Maybe the Democratic leaders of Europe must act now in order to not allow this policy drift to prevail. War is diplomacy by other means and as such is a Policy invention too. But we must resist this drift toward chaos, and persist to stop this insanity…

We need to do a few thing quickly: But first things first.

First, we need to foster more Democracy in Ukraine. More Liberty and Democracy — not less. We want more Democracy in Kiev, because despite the war in eastern Ukraine, the country has managed to take important steps toward democracy since the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych last February.

Indeed, since the “Euromaidan” uprising began in Kiev in November 2013, a new Ukraine has emerged. Free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections have brought to power leaders who, by implementing radical reforms, are determined to realize voters’ demands for a modern economy and an end to corruption.

Nonetheless, the goal of domestic political stabilization is far from reached. Apart from tensions within the Ukrainian government, the main reason is the country’s dire financial situation.

The United States, the European Commission, and the EU’s main member states all agree, at least in principle, that Ukraine needs quick and substantial financial help in order to be able to resist Russian aggression. Likewise, they agree to support the deep social and economic reforms that Ukraine must carry out.

And that is good business, because we will either pay some money now or a whole lot more money later, along with blood, sweat, and tears over the fallen youth coming home in cardboard boxes and plastic coffins when this war escalates and gets to be a Pan-European conflict that grows form the conflagration in the Eastern front…

Yet so far, no economic support package from the European Union to the Ukraine, has been put together, which is deeply troublesome. It is also dangerously late to act, because the IMF is authorized to release the money it pledged only if Ukraine’s financial stability is guaranteed for at least 12 months. The country is facing a severe shortage of money, which could lead to a serious financial crisis, in addition to the ongoing and dramatic military conflict.

The EU’s difficulty in devising a concrete financial commitment stems from its dearth of financial means. A major weakness of EU foreign policy is its lack of versatile instruments for allocating financial aid to neighboring countries. It would be absurd if Ukraine were to slide into a financial crisis because the EU could not agree on how to raise the funds to prevent it.

The way to avoid that outcome is to adjust one of the EU’s two instruments for non-eurozone members to meet Ukraine’s needs: The Macro-Financial Assistance scheme, a versatile instrument that can combine loans and direct subsidies; or the balance-of-payments assistance facility, which could complement an IMF program to EU countries. Both instruments could be subject to conditions designed to ensure that the funds do not sustain rampant corruption, but flow instead to where they are needed most. Moreover, the commitments should be made in the context of a donor agreement that bars the aid from being used to make direct payments to Russia.

Today, it is more important to give adequate financial support to Ukraine than to impose new sanctions on Russia. That is why Russia may also be interested in a donor conference and fresh money from Europe for Ukraine. Indeed, economic sanctions not only exacerbate the crisis in Russia; they also negatively affect other European countries. By contrast, financial aid to Ukraine would clearly signal that the EU will not tolerate the country’s destabilization, while providing economic stimulus in Ukraine and the entire region.

Equally important, if the West’s response to Russian aggression toward Ukraine is effectively limited to economic sanctions, Putin will more easily be able to blame the West and its alleged hostility toward Russia for the collapse in ordinary Russians’ living standards, thus enabling him to double down on aggressive nationalism.

And you know where that leads…

You do know eh?

Right?

Yours,

Pano

PS:
Today, the only thing needed to convert EU funds into financial aid for Ukraine is political will. The most immediate step should be an initiative by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to get the funds flowing with a minimum of bureaucratic delay. Even if doing so takes some time, initiating the process would send a powerful political signal of the EU’s determination to support Ukraine. The announcement alone would help Ukraine in its acute financial plight.

Many of Europe’s leaders will meet this week at the Munich Security Conference. They should seize this opportunity to start the proceedings needed to repurpose one of the EU’s two available funds. A financial crisis, in addition to the military and political crisis, would be devastating for Ukraine, and there is no good reason why it cannot be avoided.


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