The first major question raised by the invasion of Russia was, “Did Ukraine have nuclear weapons?” In 1994, when the Soviet Union collapsed, the newly independent Ukraine inherited a large arsenal of nuclear weapons, including 175 long-range missiles and more than 1,800 warheads. In exchange for Russian assurances, U.S. President Bill Clinton announced a breakthrough in the conflict, and Ukraine agreed to remove all its nuclear weapons from its territory.
The U.S. government persuaded Ukraine to surrender its nuclear weapons after signing the Budapest Memorandum with Russia and Great Britain. At the time, Ukraine had more than 1,800 nuclear weapons, including air-launched cruise missiles and short-range tactical bombers. Although U.S. credibility was at its highest in 1994, the country had little chance of removing its own arsenal. The situation was not a happy one, however, and in June 1996, the Ukrainian government announced that it would destroy all its existing arsenal.
In 1994, Ukraine signed the Lisbon Protocol, which aims to eliminate nuclear weapons. In the years that followed, Ukraine joined the NPT and became part of the nonproliferation regime. In 1993, Ukraine joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and was required to transfer all of its nuclear weapons to Russia. The transfer of nuclear material took a long time, but the United States did eventually decide to support its commitment to the NPT.
While Ukraine was reluctant to surrender its nuclear arsenal to Russia, the United States and Great Britain helped persuade Kiev to hand them over. During the post-Cold War era, the two nations made a deal in which Ukraine handed over its nuclear arsenal to Russia. By this agreement, Ukraine gave up 1,800 of its arsenal, which included air-launched cruise missiles and short-range tactical bombs.
Assuming that Ukraine had nuclear weapons, the question of whether it had them in its possession is a complicated one. The Ukrainian government did not keep them as a result of the lack of experience and capacity of its military to maintain a nuclear arsenal. Its stockpile, however, did not last long. It had no way to control its nuclear arsenal. It was a good idea to give up the arsenal.
Despite its nuclear arsenal, the Ukrainian government didn’t keep them. It had no operational control over the arsenal. It also lacked the experience and budget to run TU-160 bomber jets. It inherited an enormous military that was very powerful. Moreover, it didn’t have a traditional army or a General Staff, which meant that it was not equipped for the task. It also didn’t have a central command-and-control structure.
At the time of the signing of the Budapest Memorandum, Ukraine was the third-largest nuclear power. In fact, it inherited about 5,000 nuclear weapons from Russia, which were stored in underground silos on its military bases. Its long-range missiles were equipped with up to 10 thermonuclear warheads. Its nuclear arsenal was considered the biggest in Europe at the time, and its military commanded most of its neighbouring countries.
The U.S. successfully persuaded Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons. In 1994, the U.S., Great Britain, and Russia agreed to a landmark agreement. The two countries had been trying to persuade Ukraine to disarm. Eventually, the Ukrainians agreed to transfer their nuclear arsenal to the United States. It did so after the annexation of Crimea and the invasion of the eastern part of the country.
In 1994, the U.S. and Great Britain persuaded Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons. As a result, the U.S., Great Britain, and Russia negotiated a deal that allowed the Ukraine to withdraw from the NPT. In return, the U.S. granted Ukrainian leaders security guarantees in exchange for their disarmament. This led to the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union’s annexation of Crimea.
Did Ukraine have nuclear weapons? The Soviet Union disbanded in 1991 and, with it, its nuclear weapons remained in Russia. After the dissolution of the USSR, Ukraine agreed to give up its nuclear weapons to Russia. But did Ukraine have nuclear weapons? That is a question that has been on many minds for decades. In the end, it was the Russians who had the nuclear weaponry, and the rest of the world had no.