Newspapers in Britain claim that the US and UK could go to war based on the 1994 agreement related to removal of Soviet nuclear weapons from Ukraine. Here is a short excerpt from one article:
A treaty signed in 1994 by the US and Britain could pull both countries into a war to protect Ukraine if President Putin's troops cross into the country.
Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine - agreed to the The Budapest Memorandum as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Technically it means that if Russia has invaded Ukraine then it would be difficult for the US and Britain to avoid going to war.
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A careful review of the Budapest Memorandum seems to show otherwise. For the full text see:http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ukrain...ity_Assurances
1. The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the CSCE Final Act, to respect the Independence and Sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.
This section seems to be saying that the US agrees not to attack Ukraine, but there is no commitment to defend Ukraine from attack. Clearly a Russian attack or annexation of parts of Ukraine would violate the agreement, but I see no requirement that the US do anything in response.
One article does seem to oblige action in defense of Ukraine:
4. The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used.
The only obligation is to go to the security council if there is a nuclear attack against Ukraine. It is highly unlikely that Russia would use nuclear weapons against Ukraine, but even if they did Russia has a veto on any action of the security council.
A final issue is that I have found no evidence of Senate ratification of this memorandum as a treaty. If that is true, my understanding is that the US government is under no legal obligation to follow the agreement.
Russia appears to be violating the 1994 memorandum. What should the US do in response?
Do you believe that the US is legally or morally obliged to protect Ukraine?