Ambassador of Ukraine to Germany Andrey Melnik stated that Ukraine needs to return the status of a nuclear power if it cannot achieve NATO membership. This, according to the diplomat, is necessary to ensure their own security and protect themselves from Russia.
“Either we are part of an alliance like NATO and we are helping to make Europe stronger, or we have only one option: to arm ourselves, perhaps to think about nuclear status again. How else can we guarantee our protection? ” – said Melnik on the radio station Deutschlandfunk.
Later on Twitter, the ambassador added that Kiev needs military support from Germany, and an early entry into NATO will help it in its confrontation with Russia.
At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine possessed significant nuclear potential, but in 1994 it joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons by signing the Budapest Memorandum. The country’s nuclear-free status and its security are guaranteed by Russia, the United States and Great Britain. After 2014, Ukrainian politicians have repeatedly raised the topic of returning Ukraine’s nuclear status, but purely hypothetically.
Renowned military expert Konstantin Sivkov in the commentary to SP called this statement of the Ukrainian ambassador “blackmailing NATO,” because the alliance countries understand that if Ukraine acquires nuclear weapons, this, first of all, will endanger them. However, since Ukraine does not have the technical ability to create nuclear weapons, there is nothing behind these threats, and they are unlikely to be taken seriously in the North Atlantic Alliance.
However, as told “SP” engineer-physicist of the Russian Social and Ecological Union Andrey Ozharovsky, Ukraine will not have any technical problems in creating nuclear weapons if such a decision is actually made. Another question is whether this is possible for political reasons.
– Technically, Ukraine, like many other developed countries, is quite capable of creating nuclear explosive devices. There has been no secret in this for a long time, and we see that even such not the most advanced countries as North Korea have successfully implemented this task.
Ukraine has all the necessary components to create nuclear weapons. In Soviet times, Ukrainian scientists took part in both the nuclear project and the creation of launch vehicles. Now the country has operating nuclear power plants. With very small changes, they can be used to obtain the raw materials necessary to create a nuclear charge. You just need to take out the spent nuclear fuel from the reactor a little earlier, keeping it there not for 12-18, but for 4-5 months, and it will contain plutonium, which is quite acceptable for creating nuclear explosive devices.
Plutonium is necessarily produced in any nuclear reactor fueled by uranium. Power engineers usually do not take it out earlier for economic reasons, but there are no technical problems in order to start producing raw materials for an explosive device in power reactors.
The next step is to separate this plutonium from the spent nuclear fuel. This is a rather difficult and time-consuming task, but, according to the IAEA experts, expressed in the corresponding report, an advanced laboratory of the Department of Chemistry of a European University may well cope with this, because since the end of the 40s, various methods of separating plutonium have been actively developed. The implementation of these technologies, if we are talking not about thousands, but about units or dozens of ammunition, is quite possible.
Ukraine has no uranium enrichment capacity, so I’m talking about a plutonium-based nuclear explosive device. However, this is a full-fledged, “classic” nuclear weapon with flash and shock wave, not a “dirty” bomb.
Once the plutonium is separated, serious efforts will be required to sell the weapons themselves. Plutonium is only one of the components; special types of chemical explosives and certain complex designs are also required. But if such a task is set, it is quite possible to cope with it.
“SP”: – That is, purely technically, there is nothing impossible in obtaining an atomic bomb?
– Unfortunately, the modern world allows most countries on whose territory there are nuclear reactors, in a relatively short time, literally a year or two, to create a nuclear explosive device. It’s too bad that nuclear weapons are spreading around the world, including thanks to the president’s propaganda slogan Eisenhowersupported by and Igor Kurchatov, about a peaceful atom. In fact, the peaceful atom and the military are inextricably linked.
The nuclear nonproliferation regime arose in the 1950s not because there were technological secrets, but because political efforts were made to prohibit it. And this regime, by and large, did not work.
India and Pakistan have developed nuclear weapons in defiance of all prohibitions, much the same is happening in Iran. We have already mentioned the DPRK, and, as everyone knows, Israel has unconfirmed nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, there is a development trajectory within which each more or less developed country with nuclear power plants will acquire its own weapons.
Political scientist Vladimir Kornilov I am convinced that if technically Ukraine can obtain nuclear weapons, then its allies and NATO members, primarily the United States, will not allow it politically.
– These statements of the Ukrainian ambassador cannot be called anything other than nonsense. One gets the impression that Mr. Melnik has lost touch with reality and generates one provocative statement after another. He even managed to issue an ultimatum to the German authorities, to tell them whom to honor and what monuments to erect.
Now we have heard another delusional statement, after which Berlin can officially ask Kiev if it is coordinated with the state line of Ukraine. After all, the ambassador represents the country. If Melnyk generates such statements, knowing full well that no one is going to discuss them, this indicates the illness of the entire diplomatic system of Ukraine, which cannot force its ambassador to follow state policy.
“SP”: – And yet, is there a possibility that Ukraine will acquire nuclear weapons?
– The question of Ukraine’s nuclear status was raised from the very first day after it signed a commitment to eliminate its nuclear stockpiles. This discussion was heard from various politicians, at first the marginalized, and now many influential politicians.
They just need to be reminded that it was not Russia that forced Kiev to abandon nuclear weapons, but, first of all, the United States of America. They pressed very hard so that Ukraine would transfer all its nuclear reserves to Russian territory. If someone thinks that US policy has changed in this sense, he is deeply mistaken. Americans, and even more so Europeans, do not want a new nuclear power to appear, such a monkey with a grenade. It is clear that all the so-called partners and sponsors of Ukraine will oppose this.
“SP”: – What about Ukraine’s membership in NATO?
– Recently, we have heard much more encouraging statements for Ukraine about its membership in NATO or, at least, receiving the MAP plan. The position of Germany, where Melnik is located, has not changed yet. But Ukraine and, most importantly, the United States can work on this for a long time, convincing France and Germany to remove their objections at least on the way to the MAP. The pressure on Berlin in this sense will continue.