Real security guarantees should contain more than general assurances of friendship. Kyiv has more than enough arguments to insist on obligations to jointly defend European borders – Taran

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Real security guarantees should contain not only general assurances of friendship and the “right” to promptly consult with the guarantor in case of danger, but also very specific mechanisms of joint defense in the event of a new war, writes political scientist Serhiy Taran.

In the case of Ukraine and the West, this should definitely be insisted on, because it is about protecting the common European border from the russian invasion. Since the Armed Forces of Ukraine protect not only Ukraine, but also the EU, Kyiv has more than enough arguments to insist on the obligation to jointly, side by side, defend European borders in the event of a new war. The best way to cement such mutual obligations is to create a common infrastructure and a whole defense system in which both sides are interested. International agreements, in general, work only when it is equally beneficial to both parties who signed them.

This approach is not found in any variations of “security guarantees” [neither in German, or in British, nor in French]. However, this is more or less understandable, since during the war it would be difficult for Western leaders to commit to fighting side by side with Ukraine right in the midst of hostilities.

And therefore, the second effective guarantee mechanism should be maximum specificity in agreements. What exactly should be the joint and, most importantly, effective actions of the signatories in case of war? How much funds are reserved in the annual budgets of the “guarantors” for regular support of the security of Ukraine?… These specifics are absent from the British version. There is a reference to this in German – it is claimed that in 2024 Germany has decided to provide military aid of EUR 7.1bn. However, it is not clear whether this is a one-time aid from Berlin, or it will be provided annually since we are talking about long-term, 10 years, and not annual “guarantees!”

The situation with French “guarantees” is not clear at all. President Zelenskyy says that “not all details can be openly discussed today.” Therefore, it remains to be hoped that the closed part of the agreements contains maximum specifics. An example of such specifics can be, for example, the security agreement between the US and Israel, where Washington publicly committed to providing military aid to Israel in the amount of USD 38bn in the period from 2019 to 2028, and this is in case of “peace”, not war.

The unequivocal positive aspect of all agreements is that the parties see them as temporary – until the time of Ukraine’s accession to NATO. Because only NATO can be a real international guarantor of Ukrainian security. And this is exactly why Ukraine should obtain specific terms from the “guarantors” until full accession to NATO will finally be possible. It is especially important to hear this from the US and Germany.

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