Ukraine’s foreign minister said Tuesday evening that his country may have made a mistake in giving up the nuclear weapons it inherited upon the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union.
Dmytro Kuleba said in an interview on Fox News that Ukraine had given up in 1994 the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal, under the terms of the Budapest Memorandum that exchanged those weapons for financial aid and security guarantees, including protection of Ukraine‘s territorial integrity, from the United States, Russia and Britain.
When asked by host Bret Baier whether that was a mistake, Mr. Kuleba initially parried the question, saying “I don’t want to speculate about the past. What’s done cannot be undone.”
But then he said the move was, in retrospect, not smart, and he laid some of the blame at America’s door.
“At that time, a smarter decision could have been found if the United States, together with Russia, hadn’t taken a joint position to deprive Ukraine of its nuclear weapons,” he said.
Mr. Kuleba also hinted that Ukraine’s giving up nuclear weapons was made to placate America, noting that his country’s forswearing was “in the interest of the U.S. in 1994.”
He said that the act of trust that Ukraine had made in 1994 means that Russia’s violations of his country’s territorial integrity pose a threat to the United States.
“America always keeps its word,” he said, warning that other actors around the world — he named no names — could be emboldened by U.S. inaction.