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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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March 5th, 2014
11:55 AM ET

Failing to protect Ukraine could set dangerous international precedent

(CNN) – World leaders meet in Paris Thursday for talks that were intended to focus on Lebanon. Instead, Ukraine will likely dominate the agenda. A statement from the meeting brings up the 1994 Budapest agreement, which, among other things, convinced Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for the promise that its territorial sovereignty would be respected.

If that agreement is not upheld, and if the world does not show that it is serious about ensuring the promises made to Ukraine are kept, it could set a dangerous precedent as the U.S. and other countries try to convince countries like Iran and North Korea to give up their nuclear weapons.

"This is not just an issue or a problem locally within Europe, but it's the rest of the world is watching this," says Brigadier General Kevin Ryan (U.S. Army retired), director of Harvard's defense and intelligence projects.

The agreement does not technically require the U.S. or other countries to send troops in, or provide immediate aid to Ukraine.

"But the implication was clear, and obvious to everyone who signed that agreement, and everyone who would read it today, that the West and the United States in particular has a responsibility to the Ukrainian people and to their country, to help protect them against what appears to be a very brazen aggression from Russia," said Ryan.

For more analysis from Brigadier General Kevin Ryan, check out the video above.

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