Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 16.01.2018
Russia may declare war on Ukraine. The Russian parliament may renounce the part of the 1997 Russian-Ukrainian Friendship Treaty where Russia agrees to respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine. This was announced on January 15 by Konstantin Zatulin, a deputy in the Russian Duma and member of the United Russia party.
Russia is already violating the territorial integrity of Ukraine by invading Crimea and Donbas since 2014. Russia has been waging undeclared war against Ukraine for almost four years. Were Russia to revoke recognition of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, by renouncing part of the Russian-Ukrainian Friendship Treaty, this would amount to a formal declaration of war.
In remarks to RIA Novosti, Zatulin admits that by the Russian-Ukrainian Friendship Treaty “Russia confirmed that it considers Crimea and Sevastopol to be part of Ukraine’s territory.” By force of arms Russia now occupies Crimea and Sevastopol. Russia has violated the Russian-Ukrainian Friendship Treaty. Rational policy would suggest Russia remove the violation of the treaty, have Russian troops leave Crimea and Sevastopol (and Donbas), and choose the path of peace. Instead, Zatulin is the harbinger of Putin’s plan to renounce the treaty, continue the occupation, and choose the path of war.
Russia has never realized the reciprocal nature of treaties, and does not know the danger it is in by effectively renouncing the Russian-Ukrainian Friendship Treaty. If Ukraine’s territorial integrity is no longer respected by Russia, then Ukraine is under no obligation to respect Russia’s territorial integrity. Ukraine would have a claim to Ukrainian territory that was ceded after the Bolshevik Russian invasion and occupation of 1918-1920: the Kuban region, Rostov-on-Don, Voronezh, Belgorod, etc.. Finland is under no obligation to respect the terms of the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947. Finland should have renounced the Paris Peace Treaty when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, and it certainly should renounce it if Russia breaks the Russian-Ukrainian Friendship Treaty. Finland can reclaim the Rybachy peninsula (Kalastajasaarento), Salla, and Karelia including the city of Viipuri. The status of Germany’s Königsberg would be called into question (since occupying it from the time of World War II, the Russians have named Königsberg “Kaliningrad” after Mikhail Kalinin, a Bolshevik and builder of the Soviet regime of state terror under Stalin). China would no longer have good reason to respect treaties going back to the nineteenth century, and can justifiably assert a claim to vast swathes of territory in what is now the Russian Far East.
Russia destroyed the post-Second World War settlement in Europe by invading Ukraine. Russia would be declaring war on Ukraine by renouncing the Russian-Ukrainian Friendship Treaty. By doing so, Russia would not be able to wage its war of aggression against Europeans in Ukraine any better than it has for the past nearly four years. But it would call into question every territorial gain Russia has gained by treaty or by conquest. When Putin’s War ends, only rump Muscovy will be left.