6. Factors Influencing Ukraine's Ratification

By Popadiuk, Roman | McNair Papers, October 1996 | Go to article overview

6. Factors Influencing Ukraine's Ratification


Popadiuk, Roman, McNair Papers


Over the course of 1992 and 1993 a number of circumstances had changed, leading Ukraine to realize the importance of START ratification. In September 1992 Prime Minister Vitold Fokin resigned under pressure from democratic forces who believed he was not reforming the economy. In June 1993 the Donbass coal miner strike emphasized the political unhappiness that was marking the heavily Russified regions that had hoped for a better economic future in an independent Ukraine. In September of that year, then Prime Minister Kuchma had resigned, underscoring the ineffectiveness of the Ukrainian leadership and in particular emphasizing the lack of any coherent economic program. Economically and politically Ukraine was teetering. Russian nationalist Zhirinovsky's unexpected strong showing in the December 1993 Russian parliamentary elections drove home for Kiev the importance of finding a counter to possible Russian nationalism by cooperating with the United States. Growing unease about Crimea, where pro-Russian activism appeared to be increasing, also drove home for Ukraine the importance of a better relationship with the West. On a practical level, Ukraine had come to realize both the growing environmental threat if unserviced missiles began to leak as well as the political and economic costs of holding onto the missiles.

But there were a number of positive aspects that helped the Rada act. There was the trilateral agreement with Russia on the sharing of proceeds from the highly enriched uranium that was to be removed from the Ukrainian warheads. The congressional move in the summer of 1993 to provide $300 million in assistance to Ukraine, the United States statement of support of Ukraine's territorial integrity in the face of the July 1993 Russian parliament's claim to Sevastopol, the stated new policy of the administration toward Ukraine and agreement on security assurances, ",ill played a role.

Even before the November ratification, the Rada had signalled its more constructive approach. On October 19, the Rada approved the military doctrine, one year after it first took it up. The doctrine stated Ukraine's goal of becoming a non-nuclear state, but linked this to security assurances and compensation, something the November ratification also did. By this time Ukraine had finally resolved the issue of defining an enemy. The noted doctrine stated Ukraine would view any state as an enemy if its policy was a military threat to Ukraine. The failed doctrine of the previous year had stated that Ukraine did not view any state as an enemy.

THE ROLE OF U.S. PRESSURE

U.S. pressure, however, continued throughout this process. Despite having laid down the verbal foundation of a new policy and pursuing the process of de facto implementation of START, the Clinton administration continued to maintain diplomatic and economic pressure on Kiev. In an effort to stymie the belief that some European states favored Ukraine retaining its nuclear weapons, the United States urged various European capitals to discuss the issue with Kiev and to tell Kiev it could not expect to receive economic assistance until it moved on START and NPT.

On July 3, 1993, Kravchuk, apparently eager to test the pledge of a new relationship by the Clinton administration forwarded a letter--in which he made the transparent connection between START and financial assistance--to the President regarding the upcoming G-7 meeting in Tokyo. No doubt his effort may have been spurred by his June 12 phone conversation with the President in which the President emphasized the importance of Ukraine and expressed his willingness to extend food credits and grants. Of the G-7, Kravchuk requested a $I00 million fund for small business development, a $1 to 1.5 billion stabilization fund, an international disarmament fund, $300 million for a privatization fund and assistance to deal with the problems associated with Chernobyl. But the administration was not eager to assist the Ukrainian request.

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