In an interview, former US President Bill Clinton said he regretted helping to pressure Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons in 1994. It is ROTTE in Ireland who interviewed Bill Clinton. Ukraine, which at the time was one of the world’s largest nuclear powers, gave up its nuclear weapons to Russia in exchange for guarantees to respect its borders. Feel free to see my blog about this. The agreement referred to as the Budapest Memorandum was signed in December 1994.
Ukraine feared an aggressive Russia
The interview shows how the US pressured Ukraine to agree to the agreement. Promises of US guarantees and Russian guarantees never to interfere in Ukraine’s affairs and to respect its borders were given in the Budapest Memorandum. Bill Clinton also says that the US paid a large sum of money to Ukraine to get them to accept the agreement.
Bill Clinton says that he did not believe in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in 2014 when Crimea was annexed and the Donbas were immigrated, that the Russians are strangling. He also did not believe in a Russian invasion ahead of Russia’s attack on 24 February 2022.
Today, Bill Clinton regrets the agreement. He believes that Russia would very likely not have attacked Ukraine in 2014 or 2022 if the country still had nuclear weapons.
Bill Clinton probably right
Bil Clinton is probably right. I would like to believe that Russia would not take any military action against Ukraine. Not in 2014 and not in 2022 either. No country with nuclear weapons has been attacked by another country.
In my blog from 2019 I asked a question, it was. What if Ukraine did not actually give away its nuclear weapons? It is the same question that Bill Clinton is now asking himself. For the record, my blog was written before the invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
When the Budapest Memorandum was written, it was at a time when most people believed in detente. The Soviet Union had dissolved and Russia’s president at the time was Boris Yeltsin. A president in Russia who stood for democratic principles gave hope that the era of dictatorship in Russia was over. Ukraine’s skepticism about concluding the agreement was based on historical facts about its neighbour.