Statement by H.E. Mr. Andrii Deshchytsia, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine at the Hague Nuclear Security Summit
Today’s Summit has a highly specialized subject. I will address it from a wider and global perspective.
Twenty years ago, Ukraine got rid of its nuclear warheads in exchange for security, territorial integrity and sovereignty guaranteed by the signatories of the Budapest Memorandum, namely the UK, US and Russia.
Five years later, all Ukrainian nukes and infrastructure were either destroyed, or removed from the country.
All current peaceful nuclear activity in Ukraine is under a strict IAEA supervision.
Two years ago, we proposed to the Russian side to sign a bilateral agreement on security and confidence building measures.
Refused by saying that the idea of their attack on Ukraine is absurd.
Six months ago, we were preparing to have a trilateral meeting in the Hague between the leaders of Ukraine, the USA, and Russia to mark the 20th anniversary of Ukraine’s nuclear-free success story.
And the positive picture and our vision of global security have been crashed.
Crashed almost overnight.
Crashed by the Russian aggression against Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea.
Kyiv will never agree to that.
The debates in the UN Security Council have shown that the aggressor stands out in isolation. Russia has violated norms and principles of international law, fundamental United Nations and OSCE documents.
The Budsapest Memorandum has been brutally discarded by the country, which had pledged to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or sovereignty of Ukraine.
One other notable point is the potential threat to many nuclear facilities and other critical infrastructure on the territory of Ukraine, including in Crimea. At present, there is no immediate danger. However, if the situation aggravates Ukraine may be in need of international assistance to protect these facilities.
Under the current precarious circumstances there are two options for Ukraine and two options for the world how to react.
First, there are already political voices in Ukraine calling to resume production of nuclear weapons as the only means to protect ourselves from any outside aggression. From the Ukrainian government's standpoint, this option is not on the table. We remain committed to the NPT as a non-nuclear state.
The second option for Ukraine is to seek collective security. It is less expensive and more effective. We shall explore all possibilities in this regard, starting with our association with the European Union.
The first option for the world would be the policy of appeasement. We know very well how it ended in the 1930s or in 2008. The more you give in, the more will be taken from you.
The second option is coercion to peace. All diplomatic. Economic and, if need be, military means must be on the table. The maximum sanctions may not go away or be diminished until Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is fully restored.
To conclude, let me quote one Ukrainian proverb: “Moya hata z krayu” (“My house stands on the outskirts of the village”), which literally means: “I do not wish to meddle into something, which does not concern me.“
During the fight at the national Maidans against the former corrupt regime, the Ukrainians have come to realize that their house is not on the outskirts of the village.
During our current fight against the imperial-minded regime, we understand that Ukraine is not on the outskirts but in the heart of Europe.
We are fighting for our and your freedom.
I thank you for your understanding , support and international solidarity with Ukraine and people of Ukraine.