Why Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union gave its nuclear weapons to Russia

History 17/02/20 Why Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union gave its nuclear weapons to Russia

One of the most painful issues after the collapse of the USSR was the section of military property of the former Soviet army. Particularly acute was the problem of supplies enormous nuclear Arsenal. The export of deadly weapons to the territory of Russia has passed in General without much interference. However, one of the former republics have difficulties.

Nuclear dimension

the Number of Soviet nuclear Arsenal at the end of 1990, according to the American organization Arms Control Association, was more than 10 200 nuclear warheads. After the collapse of the USSR the number of nuclear powers in the CIS formally increased to four, because in addition to Russia’s strategic forces remain in the territory of the newly independent republics of Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

In the hands of Kiev was 1,240 warheads of individual guidance. Alma-ATA went to Arsenal a bit smaller, but still impressive – 1040 nuclear warheads. It was more than the nuclear arsenals of France, China and the UK combined.

Russia’s Position

Initially, the Russian Federation did not intend to personally control all the strategic weapons of the disintegrating Soviet Union. Thus, on 21 December 1991, the four States signed in Alma-ATA agreement on joint measures on nuclear arms control. Nine days later in Minsk the countries-members of the CIS signed an agreement on the necessity of creating a unified command of strategic forces of the former USSR. However, in the interval between the signing of these two treaties, 25 December 1991, Russian President Boris Yeltsin has received from Mikhail Gorbachev’s so-called nuclear suitcase. The Russian leader became the sole holder of the symbolic key to the strategic Arsenal of the Soviet Union. The fourth paragraph of the agreements concluded in Minsk, said that the decision to use nuclear weapons should PRto animatica President of Russia, but subject to mandatory consultation with the heads of Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, as well as consultation with other members of the CIS.

however, among members of the Commonwealth, and in Western countries grew confident that none of the former Soviet republics will not be able to ensure proper storage and security of nuclear warheads, but Russia. The question of the lack of unified management of the strategic weapons of the former USSR caused serious concern in the United States and Europe.

the Powers of Moscow

In the end the real unified command of strategic forces have not been established. The first half of 1992 was a time of tough confrontation between the Minister of defence of Russia Pavel Grachev with the last Soviet defense Minister Yevgeny Shaposhnikov, who held the largely formal post of chief of the Combined armed forces of the CIS. Soon the body was pushed to the sidelines, the defense Ministry took the strategic weapons of the former USSR under its control. And by the end of 1992, the management of strategic nuclear forces in reality are carried out exclusively by Moscow, without the participation of Kiev, Minsk and Alma-ATA.

In June 1992, the member States of the CIS has supported Russia’s intention to sign the Treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT). In addition, they expressed the desire to join the agreement, and as non-nuclear States. Thus, Kiev, Minsk and Alma-ATA reaffirmed their willingness to voluntarily give up their inherited strategic arsenals. Moscow took several years to completely remove the nuclear weapons to Russia. By 1996, the strategic arsenals in Belarus and Kazakhstan left. More complicated was the case with Ukraine.

a nuclear-free Ukraine

In the newly independent 50-million-strong Republic is a strong sentiment in favor of turning Ukraine into a powerful state, possessing a blue-water Navy and strategic nuclear forces. Former Minister of justice Sergey Square HeadsAttiyah then said that nuclear weapons are necessary to Kiev for “containment of Russia”. In turn, the then President of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk expressed doubt that Russia has sufficient capacity for destruction passed her nuclear weapons. Still, under the mediation of Washington, Kyiv managed to convince of the need for transfer of the strategic arsenals of Moscow. In January 1994, the Trilateral statement by the leaders of the United States, Russia and Kyiv, Ukraine reaffirmed its non-nuclear status.

the Refusal of the Square of nuclear weapons was assigned to the Budapest Memorandum of 5 December 1994. In accordance with the document, Ukraine along with Belarus joined the Treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and took the commitment to promote the export of all strategic weapons from its territory. In turn, the United States, Britain and Russia promised not to put economic pressure on Ukraine, and to achieve immediate action by the UN security Council if Ukraine becomes the victim of armed aggression. Thus, Russia is quiet and without loss, though with difficulty, became the sole owner of the strategic nuclear Arsenal of the former USSR.

Ivan Proshkin

© Russian Seven

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