On this day, 20 years ago, the presidents of Ukraine, the United States and the Russian Federation signed a trilateral statement that led to the removal of all nuclear weapons on Ukrainian territory. This achievement built upon the hard work of many on all sides, including then-sitting U.S. Ambassadors Thomas Pickering in Moscow and William Miller in Kyiv. This statement laid the foundation for Ukraine’s accession to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a non-nuclear weapon state on December 5, 1994.
The three presidents committed to the transfer of all nuclear warheads out of Ukraine in exchange for compensation to Ukraine, including the U.S. provision of substantial Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction assistance to cover the costs of safely and securely eliminating ICBMs, strategic bombers, ICBM silos and other nuclear infrastructure in Ukraine. Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin further informed Ukrainian President Kravchuk that the United States and Russia were prepared to provide security assurances to Ukraine once Ukraine acceded to the NPT and the START I Treaty entered into force. Ukraine’s historic action in 1994, and its further efforts over the past two decades, have helped ensure the NPT remains the cornerstone of the nuclear nonproliferation regime.
As we approach the 2015 NPT Review Conference, the United States looks to all States Parties to work together towards strengthening this critical treaty which has underpinned international security for nearly 45 years.