Appendix C: Kuchma Issues Statement on Removal of Nuclear Weapons

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FBIS-SOV-96-107 3 June 1996

Ukraine: Kuchma Issues Statement on Removal of Nuclear Weapons

LD0106193596 Kiev UT-1 Television Network in Ukrainian 1800 GMT 1 Jun 96

[FBIS Translated Text] Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma today issued the following statement:

The withdrawal of strategic nuclear warheads from Ukraine was completed on 1 June 1996. By this, the Ukrainian state demonstrated to the world its commitment to the idea of global nuclear disarmament. The people of Ukraine once had to finance an exhausting nuclear arms race during the Cold War, at the expense of their own well-being and economic development. Having proclaimed itself the owner of nuclear weapons deployed in its territory and inherited from the former USSR, Ukraine regarded these weapons not as active military force but, above all, as an asset that could, at least partially, compensate for its losses. No nuclear threat to mankind ever emerged from an independent Ukraine.

Guided by the same principle, the Ukrainian Supreme Council announced in the Declaration on State Sovereignty in 1990 that Ukraine would abide by three non-nuclear principles: non-deployment, non-production, and non-acquisition of nuclear weapons. This decision was later confirmed in all of Ukraine's documents and practical steps in the sphere of nuclear disarmament. The removal of the last nuclear warhead from Ukraine is the logical conclusion of this process and convincing proof that our policy is consistent and predictable. This historic event marks the timely and complete fulfillment of our country's obligations according to the trilateral statement of the U.S., Ukrainian, and Russian presidents on 14 January 1994, and represents Ukraine's considerable contribution to the disarmament process.

The complete elimination of nuclear weapons deployed on Ukrainian territory provides a unique opportunity to implement the idea of a nuclear-free Central and Eastern Europe from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea. …