Nuclear weapons and Ukraine

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Background Information on Russia and Ukraine relationship[edit]

Ukraine was a member state of the Soviet Union from World War II to the end of the Cold War. When the Soviet Union ceased to exist Ukraine wanted their independence from Russia and to become a sovereign nation. In March 1991 Ukraine voted for their sovereignty and the votes were overwhelmingly in favor for their sovereignty from Russia. Even though there was a vote and the majority wanted their sovereignty Ukraine was still part of the Soviet Union. After the vote in Ukraine Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev realized that his goal of having a political pact with the Soviet republics was not going to happen. Some political leaders in Russia had a good attitude toward the vote in Ukraine, while other political leaders made only a passing nod.

Countries such as the United States and Canada said that they would provide “full diplomatic recognition” (http://articles.latimes.com/1991-12-03/news/mn-504_1_soviet-union) towards an independent Ukraine.[1] Eventually President Mikhail Gorbachev gave Ukraine their freedom because he knew that it would allow Russia to avoid using violence and still be friendly with Ukraine.,[2] but when they did give Ukraine freedom, Ukraine had about one third of Russia’s nuclear arsenal on their soil.[3]

Coming up with the solution[edit]

After getting their independence from Russia the Ukrainian people needed a leader of their new nation. One of the candidates was Leonid Kravchuk, he won the presidency with 60% of the votes. After winning the presidency his main focus was on the future of the nuclear arsenal that Ukraine possessed. He said “We will stand for the liquidation of nuclear weapons, tactical and strategic, and this should be done in a process of negotiations with all countries. The Ukraine only wants control over the weapons on its territory, but it doesn't want a button.”(http://articles.latimes.com/1991-12-03/news/mn-504_1_soviet-union) He assured the U.S., Canada and others that “We cannot allow several nuclear powers to form on the territory of the ex-Soviet Union."(http://articles.latimes.com/1991-12-03/news/mn-504_1_soviet-union)[4]

The Budapest Memorandums[edit]

On December 5, 1994 the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Britain and the United States signed a memorandum to remove nuclear weapons in Ukraine. They all signed six agreements for Ukraine, the agreements are:[5]

  1. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine;
  2. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations;
  3. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind;
  4. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of [6] an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used;
  5. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm, in the case of Ukraine, their commitment not to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclearweapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, except in the case of an attack on themselves, their territories or dependent territories, their armed forces, or their allies, by such a State in association or alliance with a nuclear-weapon State;
  6. Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America will consult in the event a situation arises that raises a question concerning these commitments.[7]

2014 Crimean crisis[edit]

Many Ukrainian and international leaders believe that if Ukraine hadn't removed its nuclear weapons that Russia would've been deterred from entering Ukraine. Certain Ukrainian leaders are angered by the west because Western Europe and America wanted them to rid their nuclear weapons.

After Yanukovych was ousted, a power vacuum opened and Russia [8] annexed Crimea. Russia intervened through nationalist and cultural rhetoric stating that they were protecting ethnic Russians from attacks in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. The memorandum was violated because the Russian military intervened in Ukraine.

Pavlo Rizanenko told USA Today that Ukraine may have to arm themselves with their own nuclear weapons if the USA and other world leaders don’t hold up their end of the agreement. He said “"We gave up nuclear weapons because of this agreement. Now there's a strong sentiment in Ukraine that we made a big mistake."(http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/03/10/ukraine-nuclear/6250815/) [9] He also said that "In the future, no matter how the situation is resolved in Crimea, we need a much stronger Ukraine. If you have nuclear weapons people don't invade you."(http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/the-ukraine-crisis-is-unsettling-decades-old-nuclear-weapons-agreements-20140312) [10]

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