Russian expert dismisses Ukrainian nuclear plans
Kiev has recently hinted that it may try to get its own nuclear weapons amid tensions with Russia. However, not even Ukraine’s allies in the West would support this move, Ilya Kramnik, a researcher at the Moscow-based Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), told RT on Sunday. Ukraine can be considered a nuclear threshold state, however, meaning it has the potential to build its own nuclear weapons, he said.
“Ukraine has the industry that, in theory, can create infrastructure [for nuclear weapons], and the people with necessary knowledge,” Kramnik said. He noted that Kiev still operates several nuclear power plants built in Soviet times.
“However, I don’t think that any nuclear-weapon state will help Ukraine on this path.”
Nobody wants problems that will arise as soon as it will be known that Ukraine is developing nuclear weapons.
The researcher said the world already has too many countries that want to acquire nuclear arms or have the technology to do so. Ukraine joining the nuclear club could lead to further proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, he said.
Asked if Kiev’s allies in the West would back a move for Ukraine to acquire its own arsenal, Kramnik replied: “Absolutely not.”
“It’s a Pandora’s box, the opening of which will hit everyone. The first question that will follow: What about Iran, which can get nuclear weapons tomorrow without any outside help? Who is ready to pay such a price?”
Under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, Ukraine agreed to relinquish all nuclear weapons left over from the Soviet Union in exchange for security guarantees from the US, Britain, and Russia. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky argued that Kiev has “every right” to believe that the 1994 arrangement is void unless security guarantees are fulfilled.
Zelensky’s warning came during a flare-up between the Ukrainian Army and the two breakaway regions in the country’s east, as well as claims by NATO members that Russia is planning to invade Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly denied plans to attack its neighbor, accusing the West of fearmongering.