Speaking at a conference on Wednesday, the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Ruslan Stefanchuk, remarked that “as of 1991, Ukraine had the third largest nuclear capability in the world,” referring to its inherited arsenal of warheads from the collapse of the Soviet Union.
He noted that Kiev “voluntarily gave this up to become a non-nuclear state” just a few years later. However, the politician alleged that Russia, which “was the guarantor of such disarmament, hints that if we continue our democratic development, it may even launch a nuclear strike against us.”
The remarks from Stefanchuk come in the foreground of concerns from Western leaders and Kiev’s intelligence service that Moscow is planning to launch a full-blown offensive against Ukraine. However, the Kremlin has repeatedly denied allegations that Russia is massing its troops along the shared demarcation line in preparation for an invasion.
Instead, Moscow has accused members of the US-led military bloc of shuttling a concerning amount of weapons toward Russia’s borders and said that Western states are encouraging Kiev’s officials to engage in provocations that could spiral into an all-out conflict.
Last month, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that in Ukraine, “more and more forces and equipment are being accumulated on the line of contact in the Donbass, supported by an increasing number of Western instructors.” He warned that if these states cannot hold back Kiev, and are instead actually spurring it on, Moscow will “take all necessary steps to ensure our security.”
Earlier in November, Lavrov warned that claims Kiev’s troops had deployed American-made Javelin rocket launchers were a concerning development, noting that “In recent weeks, we have seen a stream of consciousness from the Ukrainian leadership – especially when it comes to the military – that is excessively inflamed and dangerous.”
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