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19 Feb, 2024 00:18

Ukraine needs ‘nuclear rockets’ – MP

The country must reclaim its atomic status to confront Russia, a lawmaker in Kiev has said
Ukraine needs ‘nuclear rockets’ – MP

Unless Ukraine receives full NATO membership, it will have no other choice but to develop or somehow obtain an arsenal of nuclear weapons, according to MP Aleksey Goncharenko.

The Ukrainian lawmaker pressed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the issue at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, asking what other options Ukraine has against Russia besides becoming a member of NATO, allying with a nuclear power, or “restoring our nuclear potential.” Blinken, however, dodged the question.

“Once again I will say directly and openly: I support the return of nuclear weapons to Ukraine. And I believe that this is our only option for survival,” Goncharenko wrote in a Telegram post on Sunday evening, noting that Blinken did not answer his question.

He went on to say that “if NATO does not want to accept us,” then “nuclear rockets must be made,” adding that Kiev would gladly endure any potential sanctions for the breach of the non-proliferation treaty.

“We don’t need a thousand. We need 20 [nuclear missiles],” he said, without elaborating on how he expects to obtain the nukes.

Ukraine has almost no chance of producing nuclear weapons on its own, the head of the country’s National Security and Defense Council, Aleksey Danilov, acknowledged last year – while hinting that Kiev may eventually host a Western-made arsenal.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine inherited around one-third of the country’s nuclear warheads, along with the accompanying infrastructure. In 1994, it voluntarily gave up the weapons in exchange for security guarantees from the US, Britain, and Russia under the Budapest Memorandum. However, Russian officials say that Western interference in Ukraine’s domestic affairs undermined the agreement.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky signaled that Kiev might try to reclaim its nuclear status, shortly before the start of Moscow’s military operation in 2022.

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukraine was in talks to acquire nuclear weapons before the start of the conflict, while former Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev has said Kiev’s threats to restart its nuclear program were among the main factors that prompted Russia to launch the military operation.