USA and Ukraine Sign Charter on Strategic Partnership
Following up on the Ukraine-U.S. strategic partnership inked by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and President Joe Bidenon September 1, 2021, the heads of both countries’ foreign affairs departments this week enhanced that document with a Charter on Strategic Partnership that augments the previous manuscript while eliminating – or watering down – certain vital concepts.
While the earlier text was touted by both presidents as a U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Partnership, this one was given the official mandate to be designated as such and affirmed the commitments made to strengthen it.
The earlier statement, which covered many aspects of their bilateral relations, was signed on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence and emphasized that 30 years after restoring its independence, “the bonds between the United States and Ukraine are stronger than ever.”
This document, signed on November 10 by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba, was intended to reaffirm “the importance of our relationship as friends and strategic partners, based both on our shared values and common interests, including a commitment to a Europe that is whole, free, democratic, and at peace. Reiterate that the strategic partnership existing between our two nations is critical for the security of Ukraine and Europe as a whole.”
It also repeated both countries’ “unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, including Crimea and extending to its territorial waters in the face of ongoing Russian aggression, which threatens regional peace and stability and undermines the global rules-based order.”
Whether Kyiv’s enemies and other detractors of Ukraine’s accession to NATO want to admit, these words do passively at least confirm that if Ukraine’s independence is threatened more than it already is, Washington would be honor bound to resolutely defend Ukraine’s existence. The 90,000 fresh Russian troops and accompanying armor on Ukraine’s border certainly fall into the category of escalated danger. This danger not only threatens Ukraine but also the former captive nations of Russian subjugation and all of Europe.
The presidential document had underscored the point of Ukraine’s renewed independence while this one matter-of-factly accepted that Ukraine is a valuable independent, sovereign country that can contribute to the improvement of life in the region.
Both presidents had specifically pointed out that Ukraine is at war to safeguard its existence while this document notes that Ukraine is engaged in “direct and hybrid aggression” at the hands of Russia, which must be held accountable for including the seizing and attempting to annex Crimea and the Russia-led armed conflict in parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, as well as its continuing malign behavior. Moscow must also be held responsible for human rights violations on the territories occupied by its soldiers and mercenaries, the agreement states.
“Ukraine and the United States share a vital national interest in a strong, independent, and democratic Ukraine. Bolstering Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against threats to its territorial integrity and deepening Ukraine’s integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions are concurrent priorities,” the current document asserts.
Anticipating future lawbreaking by Moscow, the United States pledged “to support Ukraine’s efforts to counter armed aggression, economic and energy disruptions, and malicious cyber activity by Russia, including by maintaining sanctions against or related to Russia and applying other relevant measures until restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.”
Additionally, the document declares that the “United States does not and will never recognize Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea and reaffirms its full support for international efforts, including in the Normandy Format, aimed at negotiating a diplomatic resolution to the Russia-led armed conflict in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine on the basis of respect for international law, including the UN Charter.”
As did the previous text, this one also iterated that the foundation of both countries’ relations are “universal values that unite the free people of the world: respect for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Strengthening the rule of law, promoting reform of the legal system and of law enforcement structures, and combating corruption are crucial to the prosperity of Ukraine and its people.”
While this document did not mention Nord-Stream 2 or warn against Russian abuses of energy deliveries, the United States did note that it “is committed to the energy security of Ukraine.”
The full text of the Ukraine-U.S. Charter on Strategic Partnership can be found at this link: https://www.state.gov/u-s-ukraine-charter-on-strategic-partnership/