Kiev should “insist” that NATO pays out $200 billion for Ukraine’s decision to abandon nuclear weapons more than a quarter of a century ago, a former Ukrainian lawmaker said, arguing that the move saved the alliance a fortune.
Back in the mid-1990s Ukraine ditched the nuclear arsenal that it inherited from the Soviet Union in exchange for security guarantees provided by the US, the UK and Russia as part of the so-called Budapest Memorandum. Now, the time has come for Kiev’s “Western partners” to pay up – in cash – Andrey Senchenko, a former Verkhovna Rada deputy and interim deputy head of ex-President Petro Poroshenko’s administration, believes.
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The alliance would have had to drastically increase its defense expenditures over the past two decades had the Soviet nuclear missiles stayed in Kiev’s hands, Senchenko explained. “The missiles would, of course, not be a threat to New York, Paris or Berlin but would create a danger of nuclear and missile technologies proliferation around the world, which is a very serious danger,” he said, de facto admitting that Ukraine would have been barely able to properly control its nuclear arsenal and associated technologies in the first place.
It is true that, back in the 1990s, Ukraine possessed a significant nuclear arsenal. The number of nuclear warheads deployed on its territory by the USSR was only behind those possessed by Russia and the US.
Now, the ex-MP believes that the Western nations should very much appreciate the fact that Ukraine did not fancy becoming a nuclear power back in the 1990s – an idea that some politicians in Kiev have floated two decades later. “Their direct benefit amounted to at least $1 trillion,” Senchenko said without revealing the data behind such calculations.
He further said that Ukraine “has a right on some 20 percent of this economic benefit,” which amounts to $200 billion. “That is what we should discuss with our Western partners,” Senchenko said. “Ukraine should insist on that.”
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The issue still appears to be less about settling old scores and more about dealing with Ukraine’s modern economic difficulties.