Ukraine has all opportunities to build nuclear weapons
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has denied rumors of an impending project in the Interior Ministry to denounce the Non-Proliferation Treaty from 1968.
The Director of Information Policy of Ukraine's Foreign Ministry, Yevgeny Perebiynis confirmed that Ukraine would not resume its nuclear status.
Earlier in The Hague, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrei Deshchytsa said that Ukraine was not going to re-acquire nuclear weapons. However, he noted that Russia was a threat to nuclear facilities in the country.
On March 20, deputies of the Verkhovna Rada submitted a draft law on the denunciation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons from 1 July 1968. The Russian Foreign Ministry spoke strongly against the intention of the Ukrainian deputies, saying that the Treaty was under a threat.
Ukraine renounced nuclear weapons as part of the Budapest Treaty in 1994 in exchange for guarantees of the inviolability of its borders. The United Kingdom, the United States and Russia were supposed to provide such guarantees.
Nuclear physicist, expert of Bellona ecological association, Andrei Ozharovsky, shared his views said in an interview with Pravda.Ru about Ukraine's possible withdrawal from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
"The nuclear security summit in The Hague ended. Why wasn't Putin there, although there was an opportunity for him to meet with Obama and Merkel?"
"Let's not be confused here. What happened in The Hague was not a nuclear security summit. It was the summit on physical nuclear security - in fact, that's what the documents from the Russian Foreign Ministry said. It was about physical nuclear security, i.e. the protection of objects, accounting of nuclear materials, not to let terrorists gain access to them and to prevent the production of unauthorized nuclear explosive devices.
"Russia participated in the summit in full, and what you ask in your question happened on the sidelines of the summit. Participants could go drink some beer (in Holland, there is a very good tradition of alcohol consumption), and these seven people sat down talking to each other. To put it in a nutshell, Russia participated in the summit, but those seven people had a separate meeting."
"Ukraine has announced that it was pulling out from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Why?"
"I have not seen the document, it seems to me that there was a statement of intent. In Ukraine, there is every possibility to develop nuclear weapons, but I do not think that the country will now rush to build them. Ukraine owns a lot of nuclear materials, uranium and plutonium, from which it is indeed possible to build a nuclear bomb in a relatively short period of time.
"I think it goes about a diplomatic threat. When the USSR disintegrated, Soviet nuclear weapons found themselves on the territories of several new states, such as Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia. The question was who and how was going to be responsible for those weapons and whether those new countries would become nuclear powers.
Since everything was governed by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, efforts were made to ensure that only one country of the former USSR could remain a nuclear power - Russia. Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan gave their nuclear weapons to Russia. It was a decision of new independent states. Russia then promised to Ukraine to ensure its territorial integrity in return. From their point of view, what is happening now is unfair, and they point out to that. I believe that this is a diplomatic threat, but it can turn into a real one, because Ukraine has all opportunities for that.
"Ukraine claimed that Russia allegedly threatens the safety of nuclear facilities in Ukraine. What objects are they and is it really so?"
"We have complicated relations with Ukraine now, there is an information war, and in an information war, information is secondary. Anything can happen. As for those specific allegations, Dmitry Rogozin publicly questioned the ability of Ukraine to ensure physical defense, that is, protection against burglary and theft of nuclear materials.
"At one of the meetings with President, Rogozin said that one needed to attract public attention and the attention of the IAEA to the problem. One should ask the Ukrainians, the people, who live in Ukraine to find out if there is any threat at all.
In the Rivne region, which a radical militant has been recently killed, I was told that the local power plant (Rivne NPP) was under military guard. Since the beginning of Maidan riots, the facility has been kept under protection, and if someone had broken into the station, Ukraine would have been able to show an adequate resistance.
"Ukrainian officials did not like Rogozin's remarks. They thought that he meant that Ukraine failed as a state, or became an insolvent country, so Russia should take custody of Ukrainian nuclear facilities. That would have been a terrible threat indeed.
"It could be read between the lines, and it was said it was the USSR that had built four nuclear power plants in Ukraine, and Russia had absolutely nothing to do with that."
"Can Ukraine justify the return of the nuclear status, for example, in connection with the failure of the Russian Federation to execute the Budapest Memorandum from 1994 when the U.S., Britain and Russia guaranteed Ukraine's territorial integrity in exchange for abandoning nuclear weapons?"
"Of course, Ukraine can justify that. I have a feeling that the territorial integrity of the country had been violated legally. Legally, the Budapest Memorandum guaranteed integrity of the country at the time of its signing, and this is due to the fact that Ukraine had already delivered the nuclear weapons that it had at that moment.
"Today, Ukraine can not physically return the missiles and bombs that Russia took from the country. Any country may withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, just like from any other international treaty. One needs to notify other countries six or twelve months in advance. That would be a perfect scandal. The international community would take a pullout from the ТЗЕ as a global challenge, and I do not think that this could be a real step.
"Yet, it is possible legally, because each country takes voluntary commitments and comply with them voluntarily. Ukraine may lose political support of the international community, because one does not play games with such things."