It’s been twenty-five years since the signing of the Trilateral Statement and Annex, an agreement between the United States, Russia, and Ukraine, which effectively led to the denuclearization of Ukraine. This, along with the Budapest Memorandum, exchanged Ukraine’s post-Soviet Union nuclear stock with an acknowledgment of sovereignty and a promise to “refrain from the threat” of military force. The agreement was violated when Russia seized the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, and the remaining signatories have not done enough in Ukraine to remedy the worsening situation.
Impact: Russia’s actions seriously undermine the use of security assurances as a bargaining tool in denuclearization negotiations in a critical time. Failure from the United States and European powers to intervene or crack down on Moscow encourages, or at least permits, this behavior, and gives states such as North Korea and Iran little reason to accept security assurances as a legitimate reason not to arm.