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Ukraine And European Security - International Mechanisms
As Non-Military Options For National Security Of Ukraine.

Bohdan Lupiy
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GoChapter 4. "Evolutionary" Approach" - Ukraine And European International Establishments.
GoSection 2. Ukraine and OSCE

2.2. Helsinki Principles and Ukraine's Territorial Integrity

Ukraine's participation at the Conference has started from the discussion over traditional interpretation of the Principle 3 of the Helsinki Decalogue, raised by Ukrainian diplomates at the Opening Session of the CSCE 1992 Helsinki Follow Up Meeting.(238) Instead of the term "violability" of frontiers, Ukrainian delegation proposed to utilize the term of "untouchability", validating it as more definite and specific.

As scholars objectively argue, the interpreted use of CSCE terminology by Ukrainian diplomats was not accidental and reflected country's reluctance to recognize the Principle's 3 clause on 'peaceful change' of borders, coinciding chiefly with several previous declarations of the Russian Duma on the status of the Crimea.(239) Here, it is also sensible to add, that given discussion was prerequizited by one-sided approach to the Decalogue, or debate over only one separate principle, without taking into account others.

In general, in the lexicon of international relations, the difference between these two terms is not so large to cause serious discussion - while the use of "untouchability" excludes the change of borders at all and in comparison, the meaning of 'inviolability' is narrower, because its prohibits only forcible changes of borders and implies to the option of a peaceful change.(240) Thus, the understanding of practical application of Decalogue principles and functional vision of their inter-dependence by Ukrainian discussants were perhaps, more important.

Under the Helsinki Decalogue Guiding principles all principles are of primary significance, and all are to be equally applied, taking each other into account. For example, as stated in the Principle 1 on Sovereign Equality, the borders may be changed only in accordance with international law, by peaceful means, and by agreement. Following, in accordance with principle 5, the Participating States are committed to peacefully resolve their differences. In a meeting on Peaceful Settlement of Disputes, held in Valletta in 1991, the CSCE states elaborated on Principle 5, underscoring that violence is an unacceptable means to resolve a dispute, an explicit element of the commitment to "refrain the threat or use of force" (Principle 2) and reaffirm that the Participating States may select from a variety of methods - including treaty-based procedures established at the United Nations and the Council of Europe, etc. - to resolve their disputes, including border questions.(241)

The application of Principle 5 is here supplementary enhanced by Principle 6 on Non-Intervention in State Internal Affairs, which is understood to mean any kind of interference, -be it political, military or economic; as well as, by the other principles, including Principle 10 - the commitment to fulfil "in good faith of obligations under international law".(242)

Finally, as stated in Principle 4 on Territorial Integrity, the acquisition of territory through direct or indirect means of force, including military occupation, will not be recognized as legal by other participating states.(243)

It should also be said that overall approach of the CSCE/OSCE process is build upon raising and discussing Helsinki principles. In their essence, the OSCE commitments empower and legitimize the debate of a vary of issues in a multilateral context and those matters, which circle around bilateral relations.

Though, it was thought that the Principle 3' quota poses some dissimilarity for Ukraine's political circumstances, Ukrainian leaders have realised soon that current regional instability will continue to challenge the OSCE Guiding standards indicate that their obedience by all participating states is in Ukraine's national security interest. Ukrainian administration has unequivocally agreed to follow all OSCE commitments and has extensively kept this pledge; shortly after the Helsinki Follow Up Meeting, Ukrainian parliament declared that any reconsideration of territorial issues should be agreeable to the Helsinki Final Act and, in particular, to the principle of the "untouchability" of existing borders.(244)

The employment of the Decalogue principles is especially important given Ukraine's need to settle numerous questions with Russia, nonetheless a failure to fulfil these principles or neglectance of them are often a major cause of disputes and it has already been proved by recent inter-state controversies in the East European region, as well as in Ukrainian relations with some neighouring states.

This latter supposition also reflects, perhaps quite conceivably, Ukraine's previous inactiveness in employment of the CSCE/OSCE mechanisms for a solution of its disputes with other states, e.g with Russia and Romania.


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