Ukrainian ‘threats’ to resume nuclear program main reason for ‘special military operation’: Ex-Russian leader

Ukrainians perceived relinquishing of nuclear arsenal as forced step decided under US pressure, says Dmitry Medvedev.

Ukrainian ‘threats’ to resume nuclear program main reason for ‘special military operation’: Ex-Russian leader

Ukraine’s “threats” to resume its nuclear program were largely the reason for Moscow’s “special military operation,” Russia’s former president said on Monday.

One of the reasons for conducting the “special military operation” were the “threats” by Ukrainian leaders that hinted resumption of the nuclear program, which Kyiv relinquished under the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, Dmitry Medvedev, who currently serves as the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, wrote in a message on the country’s VK social network.

“What do we see in contrast next to our own borders? Poor puppets from an inferior state, now weeping bitterly about the decision taken under the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 to withdraw the nuclear arsenal located on their territory and inherited from the USSR,” Medvedev said, following statements describing South Africa’s accession process to the Nonproliferation Treaty.

Later, Medvedev said that Ukrainians always perceived Kyiv’s accession to the international treaty as a forced step decided “under harsh pressure from Washington,” adding that this was the case even though Ukraine “did not have the means to support the ‘might’ (nuclear weapons) that had fallen to it by chance.”

He further said Ukrainian leaders, from former President Leonid Kravchuk to current President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, have expressed that “they would be happy to use it (nuclear weapons) against us (Russia) and their own citizens (Ukrainians).”

The Budapest Memorandum was signed by Ukraine, Russia, the UK, and the US on Dec. 3, 1994 to provide Ukraine with security assurances in connection with its accession to the Nonproliferation Treaty.

The memorandum has been under question by Zelenskyy, who said Ukraine tried three times to convene consultations with guarantor states under the format, with him also conducting a fourth attempt during a speech at the annual Munich Security Conference on Feb. 19.

“I am initiating consultations in the framework of the Budapest Memorandum. The Minister of Foreign Affairs was commissioned to convene them. If they do not happen again or their results do not guarantee security for our country, Ukraine will have every right to believe that the Budapest Memorandum is not working and all the package decisions of 1994 are in doubt,” Zelenskyy said during the speech, according to a transcript by The Kyiv Independent.