(NOT) Security Guarantees?

The Office of the President of Ukraine proposed the concept of a system of international security guarantees for Ukraine. Recommendations on security guarantees for Ukraine were developed on behalf of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and were presented by Head of the Office of the President Andriy Yermak and 12th NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The Head of the Office of the President stressed that the Ukrainians thwarted the plans of the aggressor and defended their state, and the occupied lands would definitely be returned. At the same time, care must be taken to ensure that the security of Ukraine is fully ensured in the future.

The draft Concept of Security Guarantees reasonably states that the main task of security guarantees is to create conditions under which Ukraine can protect itself. It is strategically correct and beautiful, but it also means that Ukraine does NOT claim external foreign military security guarantees. And most likely this is not the choice of Ukraine and the OP, but the insistent request of the “Western partners”, who are not ready to do more with Ukraine today.

The project on security guarantees proposes to consider the European Union, the USA, Great Britain, Canada, Poland, Italy, Germany, France, Australia, Turkey, the countries of Northern, Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the Baltic states as guarantors. It is noted that this document can unite the main group of allied states and Ukraine.

A broad group of international partners, including Japan and South Korea, should also support a set of non-military guarantees based on sanctions to confiscate the aggressor's property, its sovereign funds and reserves, and the assets of its citizens and entities on the sanctions list. The collected funds should be used to restore the damage caused to Ukraine by the war.

Head of the Office of the President Oleksandr Yermak stressed that the agreement on security guarantees for Ukraine is not a substitute for joining NATO - it is a means of ensuring security until this entry takes place.

Given Ukraine's unique geopolitical position, the most effective guarantee of security is its ability to defend itself - to prevent aggression.

Security assurances must be affirmative and clearly articulated; they will define a number of commitments made by the group of guarantors together with Ukraine. They should be binding on the basis of bilateral agreements, but combined in a joint strategic partnership document called the Kyiv Security Treaty.

The package of guarantees contains both preventive measures and measures that must be taken without delay in the event of a new encroachment on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

The agreement will consist of a joint document on strategic partnership signed by the guarantor states and Ukraine (as well as bilateral agreements between Ukraine and the guarantor states).


If Ukraine has become the object of aggression, then at its request, the guarantors will have to meet for collective consultations within a very short time (for example, 24 hours) and decide on the activation of extended guarantees as part of a coalition of countries ready to join (for example, within 72 hours ).

As a result of the consultations, decisions can be made:

Provide Ukraine with financial assistance to support its defense budget, as well as provide financial assistance (including non-repayable) to restore Ukraine's infrastructure that was destroyed or damaged by hostilities.

Allocate funds for restoration, including non-refundable financial assistance, to support and develop a new military-industrial base of Ukraine.

Ensure technology transfer and arms exports.

Will closely coordinate the supply of resources, military equipment, ammunition and services.

Conduct regular exercises of the Ukrainian armed forces.

Launch a cooperation program on cyber defense and security and counter cyber threats.

Modern defense systems, including providing Ukraine with integrated defense systems to protect key population centers and borders through the deployment of air and sea missile defense, cyber capabilities, and advanced radar systems. These systems - so-called A2/AD - may include a combination of national and foreign systems. In the event of a threat of force or aggression, they can be quickly supplemented by weapons systems that provide key assurances.

Access to EU funding programs for the development of the military-industrial sector of Ukraine according to EU/NATO standards and the development, together with EU member states, of new defense capabilities.

As a candidate for EU membership, Ukraine can have privileged access to EU funding, mainly the European Defense Fund and the European Peace Fund.

Following the model of countries with compulsory military conscription, Ukraine should maintain a sufficiently large territorial defense force, including reservist services, which can be called up for military service. Territorial Defense Forces, including all civilians over the age of 18.

Ensure enhanced cooperation in the field of intelligence, including the constant exchange of intelligence data and the beginning of regular cooperation between the intelligence services of Ukraine and the guarantor states.

Guarantees should not force Ukraine to limit the size or power of its armed forces. They also should not be an element of exchange for a certain status, such as neutrality, or impose other obligations or restrictions on Ukraine.


It is noteworthy that the Russian Federation is not among the potential signatories of the project, security guarantees, as discussed earlier, which is expected to cause a negative reaction in Moscow.

The proposed security guarantees do not include automatic mechanisms for providing troops or military assistance to Ukraine in the event of aggression. Obviously, Western partners are not yet ready to give Ukraine such guarantees.

Although, for example, the United States provided military security guarantees to Japan, South Korea and the Philippines at the time.

The structure of the agreement provides for a full-fledged sanctions package against the aggressor country, and may also contain additional components, for example, agreements on the provision of modern air defense / missile defense systems, regional agreements on security in the Black Sea, etc.

Ukraine needs resources to maintain a powerful Armed Forces of Ukraine capable of resisting the armed forces and other paramilitary formations of the Russian Federation.

Long-term stable investments in Ukraine's defense industrial base, transfer of weapons and intelligence support from allies, intensive training missions and joint exercises under the auspices of the EU and NATO.

The security guarantees should define a set of commitments made by the group of guarantors together with Ukraine. Guarantees must be politically and legally binding.

Security guarantees do not replace Ukraine's desire to join NATO.

If the proposals worked out in Kyiv on security guarantees are supported by partners, primarily Western countries, we will talk about the militarization of Ukraine and its in-depth cooperation with NATO without abandoning future entry into the Alliance.

It should be noted that the Ukrainian Institute of Politics (UIP) in July 2022. sent to the Office of the President of Ukraine his proposals regarding security guarantees.

In particular, the Security Project of the Office of the President, as well as the proposed version of the OIP, noted that security guarantees should be politically and legally binding; in addition to military assistance, the treaty must contain mechanisms for financial and humanitarian assistance and their scope; sanctions policy against the aggressor; the parties should hold preventive consultations: regular intergovernmental forums/meetings; the treaty must contain a clear response not only to armed aggression, but also to hybrid intervention, cyber attacks, etc.;

At the same time, unlike our version, the proposed document of the Office of the President does not say that the attack on Ukraine should be interpreted as an attack on the countries-guarantors of security, sovereignty and territorial integrity and an automatic declaration of war on them. The proposed security guarantees do not include automatic mechanisms for providing troops or military assistance to Ukraine in the event of aggression, nothing is said about the nuclear security regime (“umbrellas”) in the event of the use of such weapons against Ukraine or a threat to nuclear facilities on the territory of Ukraine.

Obviously, it is necessary to continue working on security guarantees for Ukraine and demand more from Western partners. After all, without effective (primarily military) security guarantees for Ukraine, a stable peace in Europe is hardly possible.


Ruslan Bortnik, Oksana Krasovskaya