Broken Promises to Ukrainian Brothers

As I consider dear friends making hard decisions about whether to stay or flee their independent, beautiful country, I wonder how we got here.

Some of those dearest to me have no intention of being outside of Ukraine when there are so many ways to help and be the hands and feet of the Messiah on the ground. Others are watching with horror from outside, now. One took all her children (all adopted and natural born, down to the baby in her arms) and walked the last 11km to the Polish border. Her husband, of course, has to stay since all men 18-60 are required to stay in case they will be called up to fight. The splitting of families is heartbreaking. The need for this is perplexing.

The Promises Made in the Budapest Memorandum

In 1994, soon after Ukraine won it’s independence from the Soviet Union, Ukraine took a significant step of trust. The United States, Great Britain, and Russia entered a treaty with them. They had to give up and disarm all of their nuclear weapons. At that time, they had the third largest arsenal in the world.

What would they get in return? The key promise was that the United States, Great Britain, and Russia promised security assurances. Firstly, each of those countries promised to “respect the independence and sovereignty and existing borders of Ukraine.” They promised to “refrain from the threat or use of force” against that country. The Ukrainian people put their trust in us and disarmed, believing we would follow through on our security assurances to assure security in the case of violation.

Betrayed in 2014

These promises were clearly broken in 2014, when Russia violated the borders of Ukraine, took part of the country and never left or stopped fighting for more. They were also broken by the other parties not stepping in to hold up the agreement and support militarily against the breach. While this agreement was not as strong as the ones the USA made to Japan or South Korea, the promise of protection for such a sacrifice of military strength was clearly there. This same kind of security assurance is what we were using to negotiate with North Korea to disarm. By not keeping our promises regarding security assurances, we send the message that we don’t follow through to protect.

Abandoned in 2022

Russia’s all out attempt to take over Ukraine is a complete violation of the Budapest Memorandum. It not only is it a complete disrespect for Ukraine’s borders, it’s also a violent attempt to overthrow of an independent government. As Ukraine’s leaders plead for air support, I watch the beautiful, resilient Ukrainian people, my dear friends, completely willing to lay down their lives to fight the ground war alone.

I’m thankful for sanctions, but see the politics of why they aren’t stronger. And then, the sanctions don’t even go into effect until March. This leaves plenty of time and warning for those affected to move money or do whatever they need to do to avoid the hit.

Watching the news the last two days has been gut wrenching to see countries that promised security assurances wash their hands of Ukraine to a large degree. In word we are for them, but in action we aren’t sending the much needed air support.

A friend from another country explained that nation’s our response is laughable. Their news headline declared, “Biden won’t allow this.” The subtitle on the broadcast said, Biden will allow this one more time.”

My heart is breaking over these broken promises.

I understand that many of my friends have loved ones in the military and that many people don’t want to enter another war, especially with an unstable leader with significant nuclear and biological weapons. I usually don’t comment on political matters. But this one cuts close to home as a watch a beautiful people I love in an independent country be attacked in such a way while those that promised to protect them step back to watch.

How To Help

  • Pray for our brothers and sisters of Ukraine
  • Send support through those who serve there. Comment below if you would like contacts for this.
  • Welcome refugees, serve, and donate to their needs.
  • Support organizations like Project Dynamo that are working to get refugees out of dangerous situations.
  • Be willing to help in any way possible and ask the Lord what that might mean for your family.

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Photo Credit: photo by Alex Lourie.

Copyright ©  2022 Angela Edmonds. All rights reserved.

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