Oleksandr Turchynov, Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC), called Ukraine’s nuclear disarmament a historic error. He made a statement to this effect in an interview with the news outlet Gordon.
“We had tertiary nuclear potential. We gave it up in exchange for the guarantees of our security and territorial integrity that were offered to us by the leading nuclear powers: the USA, Britain and Russia. However, Russia, to whom we transferred our nuclear weaponry, is occupying part of our territory and has begun a war against us in the east, and the other guarantors merely express their concern,” Turchynov observed resentfully.
“Now, after all these developments, a conclusion can be drawn which many people will not like: nuclear disarmament was our historic error. The guarantees of security given to us aren’t worth the paper they were written on. In the modern world, each [country] must rely on its own strength,” the NSDC secretary emphasized.
Ukraine’s existing borders were guaranteed by the US, Britain and Russia according to the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances of 1994 which was signed in connection with Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
However, in 2014, one of the memorandum’s signatory countries annexed Crimea and sent troops into the Donbas. Nevertheless, Russia believes that it is complying with the Budapest Memorandum because it is not threatening Ukraine with nuclear weapons.
Assistance from the US and Britain in the defense of Ukraine’s territorial integrity has been limited. Notably, Ukraine has been denied lethal weaponry.