The possibility of Urkaine’s nuclear weapons programs being revived has been discussed ever since it was claimed that Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons may have been moved into the Crimean Peninsula. Recently, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko answered questions on whether Kiev is willing to bring back their nuclear status in order to survive the confrontation with Vladimir Putin.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, the Russian nuclear navy is currently being modernized at a rapid pace, and it’s believed a suspected Russian submarine may have been lurking in the English Channel. The threat of Russian nuclear weapons also has the Pentagon considering deploying ground-based U.S. nuclear cruise missiles to Europe.
Earlier this year, Minister of Defense of Ukraine Valerii Heletei claimed that Russia was threatening Ukraine with tactical nuclear weapons.
“I am drawing attention to Russia’s threatening Ukraine with the use of tactical nuclear weapons,” Heletei noted. “If we fail to defend Ukraine today, if the world does not help us, we will have to get back to the creation of such weapons, which will defend us from Russia.”
This alleged threat led to the discussion of restoring Ukraine’s nuclear weapons program by Heletei, but only if “the world does not help us.” Recently, both the House and the Senate in the U.S. Congress passed legislation that promised lethal aid to Ukraine. According to the Kiev Post, when Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko spoke about Ukraine’s nuclear weapons programs, he declared that Kiev would not pursue that option.
“No. This would be absolutely irresponsible. Believe me that the strongest security in the modern world in the 21st century is supply, but not nuclear power. This is technology from the 20th Century. We can win [against] the aggressor only when we [are] united and when the whole world demonstrates exactly what we have now: solidarity with Ukraine.”
Ukraine’s nuclear weapon stockpile was the third largest in the world after the fall of the Soviet Union. In December of 1994, Ukraine, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom signed the Budapest Memorandum, which was a diplomatic document under which the involved countries made promises to each other, including Ukraine promising to remove all Soviet-era nuclear weapons and sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The Budapest Memorandum obligated the United States, England, and the newly formed Russian Federation to respect Ukraine’s border in return for Ukraine’s agreement to give up the Soviet nuclear weapons.
If any party were to violate Ukraine’s territory, or to provide “threat or use of force” or “economic coercion,” the Budapest Memorandum obligated each party to “seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine.” Ukraine kept those promises at the time, but after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, some Ukrainians believe the Budapest Memorandum was rendered null and void, even though it was not a formal treaty. The country has 15 nuclear power plants, uranium reserves, ICBM manufacturing plants, Soviet-era missile silos, and the scientific know-how necessary for reviving Ukraine’s WMD program, but experts estimate they could only produce a functioning nuclear weapon within two years at the cost of $3.4 billion.