Zelensky made a speech-event at the Munich conference, which raises the stakes and intercepts the “security guarantees” agenda from the Kremlin.
At the same time, if Putin's demand for guarantees sounds only like an absurd ultimatum (no one threatens the existence of one of the world's leading nuclear powers), then such a proposal from Ukraine sounds absolutely organic.
A few key points:
1. The main and substantive, self-sufficient part of the speech is the initiative to convene consultations within the framework of the Budapest Memorandum with the consequences indicated by Ze on nuclear weapons.
This is an unexpectedly courageous proactive move, made at the right time in the right place, in a very narrow window of opportunity (early the day before yesterday, tomorrow it may be too late). Turchynov could have dared to do this in 2014, but at that time, objectively, the world's leading players were not so well informed about the Kremlin's aggression against Ukraine. Politicians and society, even in Western countries, still have a very vague idea of this, but over the past few months, the clarity of their optics has grown significantly - they began to distinguish at least the aggressor and the victim.
Judging by the lack of reaction so far, Ze's proposal seems to have come as a surprise to both the Kremlin and Washington.
2. A proposal in the coming weeks to convene a meeting of the countries - permanent members of the UN Security Council with the participation of Ukraine, Germany and Turkey, to respond to security challenges in Europe (moreover, Ze began his speech with the thesis that the European security architecture does not work, it's time to create a new one).
3. The long-awaited answer for me to Putin’s statement about Ukraine’s plans to seize Crimea by military means (it is used as an argument why Ukraine cannot be accepted into NATO - because then the war between the Alliance and the Russian Federation is inevitable): the return of Crimea and Donbas will be realized only by peaceful means, and NATO in general - defensive alliance, support for the offensive actions of a member of the Alliance is not intended by the North Atlantic Treaty.
4. A call to NATO to set a clear time frame for Ukraine's entry, along with a mention of the upcoming Madrid summit.
5. In contrast to the actions of Ukraine within the framework of Minsk, the enumeration of systematic violations of the Minsk agreements, however, is not clear by whom - by some “other side”. Although in response to one of their questions, the territories were called temporarily occupied (not "uncontrolled").
6. Willingness to negotiate in any format, as long as Ukraine and Russia are there.
Whatever the details of the Ze-team's vision of these security guarantees (and the devil is in the details, as you know!), this speech is a very strong signal of the will to subjectivity on the world stage.
P.S. Even before Zelensky’s speech, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in the same place: “Let me reiterate that the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of any country should be respected and safeguarded because this is a basic norm of international relations. It is consistent with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and is the consistent position of the Chinese government. Ukraine is no exception." And he called on "all parties" (by context, including the United States) to come together at the same negotiating table and develop a roadmap with deadlines for implementation. This idea echoes the idea voiced by Zelensky, who even expands the format to include China and Turkey.