Ukraine without nuclear weapons, the regret of Bill Clinton

‘Russia would not have invaded if Kiev had nuclear weapons’

Former US President Bill Clinton said he “regrets convincing Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons in the 1990s”. In an interview with Irish broadcaster RTE, he said yesterday that “Russia would not have invaded Ukraine if Kiev still had nuclear weapons”.

In January 1994 Clinton signed a three-way agreement with then Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk which provided for the transfer of all nuclear weapons on the territory of Ukraine to Russia for decommissioning. In December 1994, Ukraine joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon state, and the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom provided security guarantees to Ukraine, and the START I Treaty entered into force.

“I knew President Putin did not support the agreement President Yeltsin made never to interfere with Ukraine’s territorial borders,” Clinton added. “An agreement he made because he wanted Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons. The president Putin broke it and took Crimea. And I feel terrible about that because Ukraine is a very important country. I think what Mr. Putin did was very wrong.”