Zelensky calls for further sanctions at Munich Conference
President Volodymyr Zelensky called for new sanctions to be laid against Russia before Russia further attacks Ukraine. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 19, Zelensky also stated that unless Russia signed to a Conference statement guaranteeing adherence to the Budapest Memorandum, Ukraine would consider the memorandum void.
At the conference, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz rejected Zelensky’s assertion that sanctions were required now, and stated that the Kremlin should be “kept guessing” what sanctions would actually be applied if Russia were to further invade Ukraine.
German ambassador to Ukraine Anka Feldhusen claimed on Ukraine 24 TV on Feb. 20 that the Budapest Memorandum does not have any formal obligations under international law.
James Hydzik: While Zelensky did not directly state that Ukraine would begin launching a nuclear weapons program, the hint was strong enough to be covered by Russian media on Feb. 20. Zelensky’s speech was also highly regarded both at the conference and in Ukraine, though no official comment has been made about Ukraine’s considering the memorandum void.
Feldhusen’s point is one that has come up at times when the signatories’ behavior has come under question. Unfortunately, it’s hard to hear the German ambassador essentially sticking up for the Russian position on Ukrainian TV. Relations between Ukraine and Germany may have a sour tinge for some time to come.