Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Ukraine Building a Nuclear Bomb? Dangerous Nonsense.

| Mar. 09, 2022

The Kremlin is claiming that Ukraine is developing nuclear weapons. Like most of Russia’s other pretexts for invading Ukraine, this is dangerous nonsense.

In his February 21 war speech, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Ukraine possesses delivery systems and nuclear technologies inherited from the Soviet Union and that, with foreign support, “it is only a matter of time” before Ukraine creates nuclear weapons. Echoing this concern, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in his address to the Conference on Disarmament on March 1, alleged that Ukraine “started dangerous games related to plans to acquire their own nuclear weapons.”

It is true that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, in his February 19 speech at the Munich Security Conference, questioned whether Ukraine was obligated to retain its non-nuclear status. He argued that Russia had grossly violated its security promises to Ukraine in the so-called Budapest Memorandum that set the terms for Ukraine eliminating the nuclear weapons it inherited from the collapsed Soviet Union. As a result, Zelensky argued, the whole “package of decisions” in that deal, including Ukraine’s non-nuclear status, were “in doubt.”

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Budjeryn, Mariana and Matthew Bunn.“Ukraine Building a Nuclear Bomb? Dangerous Nonsense..” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March 9, 2022.

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