Ukraine gave up its protection against Russian invasion — its nukes — because of false U.S. guarantees

Ukraine gave up its protection against Russian invasion — its nukes — because of false U.S. guarantees
Map credit BBC

Russia has invaded Ukraine. It would never have invaded Ukraine if Ukraine had nuclear weapons. That would be too risky.

But Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons in 1994, because the U.S. assured it that America and Europe would protect it from invasion. As a result it gave up its nukes, during the Clinton Administration. But the Clinton administration should have anticipated that the U.S. would not have the will to live up to those assurances. After all, the U.S. didn’t stop Russia from invading neighboring countries during the Cold War, such as Hungary in 1954. Maybe the Clinton administration knew that the U.S. would never risk going to war with Russia to protect Ukraine, in which case, the assurances were basically a lie by the Clinton administration.

NPR reports:

Three decades ago, the newly independent country of Ukraine was briefly the third-largest nuclear power in the world.

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Thousands of nuclear arms had been left on Ukrainian soil by Moscow after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. But in the years that followed, Ukraine made the decision to completely denuclearize.

In exchange, the U.S., the U.K. and Russia would guarantee Ukraine’s security in a 1994 agreement known as the Budapest Memorandum…. they were told at the time that the United States and Western powers — so certainly at least the United States and Great Britain — take their political commitments really seriously. This is a document signed at the highest level by the heads of state. So the implication was Ukraine would not be left to stand alone and face a threat should it come under one…..there was even a certain sense of complacency on the Ukrainian part after signing this agreement to say, “Look, we have these guarantees that were signed,” because incidentally, into Ukrainian and Russian, this was translated as a guarantee, not as an assurance.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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