"In the future, no matter how the situation is resolved in Crimea, we need a much stronger Ukraine," warned Pavlo Rizanenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, adding that "If you have nuclear weapons people don't invade you." It would seem tough for the West (and their START Treaty) to get behind a nation that, as USA Today reports, believes it may have to arm itself with nuclear weapons to enforce a security pact to reverse the Moscow-based takeover of Crimea. "We gave up nuclear weapons," (inherited from the Soviet Union) because of the 1991 agreement that The United States, Great Britain and Russia would "assure Ukraine's territorial integrity" but Rizanenko told his government today, "now there's a strong sentiment in Ukraine that we made a big mistake."
The United States, Great Britain and Russia agreed in a pact "to assure Ukraine's territorial integrity" in return for Ukraine giving up a nuclear arsenal it inherited from the Soviet Union after declaring independence in 1991, said Pavlo Rizanenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament.
"We gave up nuclear weapons because of this agreement," said Rizanenko, a member of the Udar Party headed by Vitali Klitschko, a candidate for president. "Now there's a strong sentiment in Ukraine that we made a big mistake."
Rizanenko and others in Ukraine say the pact it made with the United States under President Bill Clinton was supposed to prevent such Russian invasions.
The pact was made after the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991 and became Russia, leaving the newly independent nation of Ukraine as the world's third largest nuclear weapons power.
To reassure the Ukrainians, the United States and leaders of the United Kingdom and Russia signed in 1994 the "Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances" in which the signatories promised that none of them would threaten or use force to alter the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine.
They specifically pledged not to militarily occupy Ukraine. Although the pact was made binding according to international law, it said nothing that requires a nation to act against another that invades Ukraine.
The memorandum requires only that the signatories would "consult in the event a situation arises which raises a question concerning these commitments." Ukraine gave up thousands of nuclear warheads in return for the promise.
The U.S. and U.K. have said that the agreement remains binding and that they expect it to be treated "with utmost seriousness, and expect Russia to, as well."
"Everyone had this sentiment that for good or bad the United States would be the world police" and make sure that international order is maintained, Rizanenko said of the Budapest pact.
"Now that function is being abandoned by President Obama and because of that Russia invaded Crimea," he said.
"In the future, no matter how the situation is resolved in Crimea, we need a much stronger Ukraine," he said. "If you have nuclear weapons people don't invade you."
It would appear this is yet another line or "cost" that Obama will have to weigh but the rhetoric doesn't get much more aggressive than that...