Experts confirm absence of nuclear weapons development in Ukraine

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In the context of Russia’s ongoing war of attrition with Ukraine and the interruption of allied supplies of weapons and ammunition, as well as bans on the use of Western weapons on Russian territory, there has been an increase in statements about the expediency of returning Ukraine’s nuclear status. Mostly, they are talking about the possible deployment of nuclear weapons of a NATO country on the territory of Ukraine. However, there are also opinions about the possibility of developing Ukraine’s own nuclear weapons.

Representatives of the Academy of Sciences of the Higher School of Ukraine conducted a study “Ukrainian expert debunking of Russian nuclear fakes” and found that real nuclear threats come from the Kremlin.

Українське експертне розвінчування російських ядерних фейкiв

Restoration of nuclear potential

For the first time in years of observation, the number of respondents who believe that Ukraine should restore its nuclear potential to ensure its sovereignty and territorial integrity has exceeded 50%. This is evidenced by the data of a survey presented to the Interfax-Ukraine agency, conducted by the Institute of Social and Political Psychology of the National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of Ukraine in cooperation with the Association of Political Psychologists of Ukraine on March 1-15, 2024.

According to the survey, about 15% disagree with the idea of restoring Ukraine’s nuclear status, and 31% are undecided. Residents of the South (almost 75% support the restoration of nuclear potential and 19% do not) and the West (62% and 6.8% respectively) are the most determined in this regard.

However, according to Pavlo Podvig, a senior researcher at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research and the Nuclear Weapons Project, if Ukraine decided to create its own nuclear program, everything would have to be created from scratch, starting with uranium enrichment or chemical fuel reprocessing technologies, which Ukraine does not currently have. After all, even the presence of nuclear reactors on the territory of the country does not contribute to the restoration of the nuclear arsenal.

“Ukraine has the scientific potential and experience in researching reactors, but there is no material clue. In addition, this will cause a strong reaction from the international community, and it will not treat this with understanding,” Pavlo Podvig believes.

The reaction and position of the world is another reason that makes it impossible for Ukraine to return its nuclear status. In addition, there is a nuclear nonproliferation treaty. There is a similar trend in Ukrainian public opinion.

Development is not possible

One of the authors of the study, Professor Maksym Strikha, confirms that no nuclear weapons development is underway in Ukraine, primarily due to lack of funds.

“I know very well how expensive the Manhattan Project was, which led to the creation of the American bomb, and how miserable the spending on science in Ukraine really was. That is, with those expenses, it was absolutely impossible to carry out anything even close to a successful nuclear project, even under the strict eye of the IAEA,” the physicist says.

He believes that such projects are easy to implement in totalitarian states like Iran or North Korea, where all the efforts of society can be directed to this end. Where all information channels can be shut down, where all dissenters can be destroyed.

“Ukraine did not have any of these components. That’s why talks about creating our own Ukrainian bomb, even though we have scientific and technical potential, even though we have brilliant scientists, we have excellent research physics institutions, but due to these factors, it is rather non-scientific fiction,” Strikha said.

But it is up to politicians to decide whether to deploy Western nuclear weapons. And this may happen, given the position of Russia, which has deployed nuclear weapons in Belarus and is constantly threatening to use them.

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