Sir, – Many commentators and contributors to the Letters page seem to ignore Russia’s treaty obligations to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, focusing instead on the transfer of control from Crimea to Kiev to the ‘occasion of the 300th anniversary of Russian-Ukrainian unification in 1954 by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, a change of limited significance as both states were members of the USSR, but seen by some as a justification for annexation of Crimea by Russia as a simple return to the status quo.

In fact, post-Soviet Russia has signed several treaties and agreements guaranteeing the territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea.

When Kiev gained independence from Moscow in 1991, it briefly became the third nuclear power in the world. In order to prevent nuclear proliferation, the United States and Britain have reached an agreement with Russia and Ukraine to eliminate the latter’s stockpiles of atomic weapons.

Under the Budapest memorandum of 1994, Ukraine agreed to transfer all of its nuclear weapons to Russia.

In return, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom reaffirmed “their obligation to refrain from resorting to the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of the United States. Ukraine ”.

Three years later, in order to ease tensions over the Black Sea Fleet, Moscow and Kiev signed in 1997 the bilateral treaty of friendship, cooperation and partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. territorial integrity, and confirm the inviolability of the borders existing between them ”.

Thus, the argument that Crimea (and perhaps also the Donets basin) rightly belongs to Russia by the historical legacy of the Soviet Union is completely without merit.

However, realpolitik suggests that the West should be cautious about Ukraine’s full NATO membership. The United States could not accept Soviet missiles in Cuba, so it is simply unrealistic to expect Russia to accept NATO military bases in Ukraine. Some sort of limited associate member, with no troops or armaments on the ground, might be a wiser option. – yours, etc.,

DONAL McGRATH,

gray stones,

Co Wicklow.