After suffering through world wars and forced starvations, Ukrainians voted overwhelmingly to declare independence from Russia's kleptocrats in 1994.
There was only one problem: Ukraine controlled nearly one-third of Russia's nuclear arsenal.
The solution was a formal set of publicly-affirmed, mutually-reinforcing commitments codified in the Budapest Memorandum. In exchange for Ukraine's voluntary commitment to give up its nuclear weapons, Russia (plus US and UK) pledged:
... to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine ... and to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine.
Deal with the Devil
Ukraine voluntarily gave up the one thing — nuclear weapons — that guaranteed its noble, brave, and defiant people would never be subjected to the violent conquest of foreign armies.
Now, less than thirty years ago, an ungodly evil — Moscow's surrender-or-die war — is being brought down on innocent Ukrainian men, women, and children.
Glory to Ukraine. Shame on us.