In December 1994 the "Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances" was signed by Ukraine, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
"It is not a formal treaty, but rather, a diplomatic document under which signatories made promises to each other as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Under the memorandum, Ukraine promised to remove all Soviet-era nuclear weapons from its territory, send them to disarmament facilities in Russia, and sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Ukraine kept these promises.
In return, Russia and the Western signatory countries essentially consecrated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine as an independent state."
The violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity this year by Russian forces and their proxies has caused the greatest crisis between Russia and the West since the fall of the Berlin wall.
It has caused much disquiet in the United Kingdom too, not least because of the obligation the UK has to Ukraine with regard to undertakings given in the Budapest Memorandum.
Several days ago, on December 11, a Backbench Business debate took place in the UK parliament - Ukraine and the UK's relations with Russia. The full transcript of the debate can be read here.
Below I've clipped portions of what was said by the MP's that contributed to the debate:
"The alarm bells are ringing here. Of all the international hot spots at the moment, this is probably the most dangerous and possibly the one that threatens the UK the most....
It is difficult to believe that it was only a year ago that we saw the start of what has become known as the revolution of dignity. On 21 November 2013, after many months of negotiation on Ukraine signing the European Union association agreement, it was announced that it would not actually happen. That is what proved to be the catalyst for the protests, which became known as Euromaidan. The protests may have been sparked by that announcement, but they were not actually about the EU as such; they were, I think, much more about the overwhelming feeling of the people that they could no longer tolerate a corrupt and discredited Government who had sent a clear signal that, instead of moving closer to western values and the freedoms we uphold, they were turning in the opposite direction and moving closer to Russia.....
the situation in Crimea has got worse. We know that large-scale violations of human rights are taking place there. Both pro-Ukrainian activists and particularly Crimean Tatar activists have been persecuted, and a large number of them have disappeared. At the same time, there has been a large increase in the Russian military presence. We understand that some 50,000 Russian troops have moved into Crimea, with Iskander tactical missiles that can carry nuclear warheads and can reach Romania and Hungary......
the worst thing we in the UK could do would be to use that argument, or say, “Well, we’ve provoked Russia by talking about expanding the EU, and we have taken NATO up to its borders”? That would in some way excuse Russia’s actions and promote the myth—which emanates from the Kremlin—that the situation is somehow our fault rather than squarely down to Russia’s completely unacceptable aggression.....
Russia might seek to move beyond eastern Ukraine and establish the land link between eastern Ukraine and Crimea, and at the same time acquire a seaport at Mariupol. There have been suggestions that that is in the Russian mind, and there is heavy troop build-up that might support the idea, but whether it happens we must wait to see. We must make it clear, however, that were it to take place, there would be severe consequences...."
Meanwhile, "Five Ukrainian servicemen seriously wounded in fighting with pro-Russian separatists will be treated in a British hospital, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond announced Sunday."
p.s. Please listen to this BBC 'From Our Own Correspondent' Podcast about the fantasist crazies from Russia who are now fighting in Ukraine: "for God, Tsar and Nation'. That's the motto of some of those fighting with the pro-Russia separatists..." BBC's Tim Whewell talks to them about their dreams of a new Orthodox autocratic state..."