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- 2. Arms and the Economy
President Boris Yeltsin has, on occasion, stated that there are no rockets
based in Russia which are trained on the USA. It is only natural, therefore,
that the USA is pressing for the remaining strategic missiles in Ukraine and
Kazakhstan to be removed and dismantled.
Russia, of course, is also demanding the reduction o f these missiles, but
for other reasons. She would like to meet her commitments to the USA
under the 1991 treaty (which related to the total number of missiles based in
the then Soviet Union, without distinguishing between republics) by getting
rid of the missiles in Ukraine and Kazakhstan without, in effect, cutting back
her own missiles at all.
But in order to defuse the tension between Ukraine and the USA, (which,
to speak plainly, came about not without the touch of Russia’s fine military-
diplomatic hand), other decisions need to be taken. Why, for example, should
the President of Ukraine not state categorically that there are no missiles in
Ukraine trained on the USA? O f course, such a declaration would first require
the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine to have organisational and technical con
trol over the programming of trajectories and the transmission o f orders
through the chain o f command. But this problem can be dealt with. At one
time, the military leadership of Russia declared Ukraine to be incapable of
doing this. However, by June-July 1992 a package of documents had been
drawn up, which made it clear to the Ukrainian government that Ukraine
could acquire a real power of control over the missiles’ combat command, by
using the command centres of the 43rd rocket army. In particular, the pack
age proposed various options: such as the “dual-key” system, (as used by
NATO), or a built-in “veto", which would cancel any command transmitted
through the chain without the sanction of the leadership of Ukraine.
In this way, a declaration of peaceful intent by' Ukraine would become
something of real practical significance, not only as regards the USA, but for
all other countries too.
2. Arms and the Economy
One complicated problem facing Ukraine is the technical management of
missile bases. It is, however, undoubtedly difficult for a layman to determine
where the real problems lie, and what is simply unadulterated and ongoing
For example, some alleged “experts” have decided that the missile sys
tems deployed in Ukraine are obsolescent and must therefore be decommis
sioned with all speed, since later may prove too late. One would like to
inform these “specialists” that Ukraine’s southern division is equipped with
some of the most state-of-the-art weaponry of all the strategic rocket divi
sions of the former USSR. It is far too early therefore to suggest that they are
nearing their expiry date.
It is also suggested that a number of these systems are not produced by
Ukraine at all, and so need specialists from Russia to service them. This is a
THE UKRAINIAN REVIEW
genuine problem. But one must not forget either that Ukraine also produces
a significant amount of the hardware of the missile systems deployed in
Russia. And so Russia likewise will be unable to service h e r missiles without
specialists from the relevant factories in Ukraine.
The maintenance of nuclear warheads constitutes a particularly important
question. But this problem is far wider than appears at first glance. The
essential point is that although Ukraine has her own uranium ore, she has
the facilities to enrich it only to a concentration of 0.7 per cent. The yellow-
cake produced then has to be sent to Russia. Part of it eventually comes
back in the form of fuel for Ukraine’s nuclear power plants. The rest Russia
keeps or sells for hard currency.
Whatever one’s views of nuclear power, the fact is that these plants pro
duce some 30-35 per cent of Ukraine’s electricity, and that sooner or later
the question of Ukraine having her own enrichment facilities is bound to
arise. Furthermore, the sale of enriched uranium could bring Ukraine some
o f the hard currency she so urgently needs. It is also clear that in view of
the present energy and currency crisis, which we are living through, the
enrichment problem today is becoming ever more relevant.
It is likewise no secret that from the production of enriched uranium to the
manufacture of nuclear warheads is only one small step! In today’s world, the
know-how for producing nuclear warheads is no longer the top secret it was
50 years ago. It is also known that dozens of countries, including many Third-
World ones have the potential to produce nuclear weapons. Ukraine, with her
own uranium ores, reactors, and a large scientific infrastructure occupies a
leading place in the list of countries with nuclear potential.
Naturally, developing such a programme requires considerable initial
investment. But one cannot fail to see that the present situation itself sug
gests a source of funding. Ukraine has a unique opportunity of acquiring the
necessary capital through the gradual dismantling of her existing nuclear
warheads as they approach their expiry date. According to some US experts,
Ukraine could recoup up to $20 billion from the uranium and plutonium in
On the other hand, it must be realised that if today we reject this unique
opportunity of acquiring our own enrichment facilities, then tomorrow we
will be forced to buy fuel for our nuclear power plants, for an annual
expenditure, according to the best calculations, of $300-350 billion.
It is Ukraine’s political leaders who must decide which path to take. We
must, however, remember that a truly independent, civilised state always
takes important decisions, first and foremost, in the interest o f its own peo
ple. It does not go dabbling in the policy bailiwick of superstates, which
always have their own interests and which not always take into account the
interests of others.
3. Future Prospects
First and forem ost am ong the problem s surrounding these nuclear
weapons is the vital issue: is Ukraine to remain a nuclear power or not?
Throughout the past two years, there have been a w hole range of
an sw ers — from a categ o rical “n o ” to an equ ally categ o rical “yes".
Somewhere among them all the right answer will be found, but, almost cer
tainly, it will be far from clear-cut and will demand both from Ukraine and
Russia, and also from other countries, a deeper understanding of each
For the time being one thing is clear: the presence o f nuclear weapons in
Ukraine is the result neither of the wishes of her people nor the request of
her government. But there they are, and, clearly, some decisions have to
made about their current status and future fate, on the territory o f what is
now an independent stale. Today everyone knows that the missiles sited in
Ukraine have the capability to deliver a nuclear strike at any point on the
globe. This arsenal, naturally, makes Ukraine in the military sense one o f the
most powerful states in the word. And, quite understandably, the majority of
countries are concerned about the emergence of a new nuclear state, partic
ularly one with a by no means stable economic and political situation.
The unclear status of the nuclear weapons in Ukraine has raised many ques
tions in the world community. But since this problem touches the interests of
other countries, a solution must be sought in the sphere o f the foreign policy.
The search for ways to reduce the nuclear build-up is now gathering
impetus. And since Ukraine has become a new nuclear state, then, under
standably, it is lime for her loo to take an active part in this process.
The world community has already taken a number o f steps towards
reducing the nuclear threat. Today we are at the threshold o f a new stage,
the essence of which will lie, in all probability, in the creation of collective
defence and early warning systems to detect military aggression. In support
of such a concept, one may cite the unanimity with which the world con
demned and halted the aggression o f Iraq, and the participation in UN
peacekeeping forces in former Yugoslavia, Somalia, and Cambodia. More
and more often, various governments have been making tentative proposals
about the creation of a single space-watch system, a joint anti-ballistic mis
sile defence system (ABM), and so forth. Under these conditions Ukraine,
too, could well put forward such an initiative, on, for example, the creation
of a common nuclear weapons monitoring system and international deter
rent forces under the auspices of the United Nations.
Such a future UN strategic deterrent could comprise:
— rocket forces armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and
submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs);
— heavy bombers, armed with cruise missiles;
— a broad deployment anti-ballistic missile defence system;
THE UKRAINIAN REVIEW
— Space forces for the use and exploitation of intelligence-gathering
satellites and ABM.
Such an initiative would be fully compatible with existing treaties and
would continue the ongoing process of arms reduction, which they initiated.
The practical implementation o f this initiative might comprise the following
Firstly — introduction of a strict monitoring system for strategic nuclear
weapons. This would include drawing up a combat rota of all strategic arms
at perm anent deployment sites, that is mobile rocket launchers would
remain permanently at fixed sites, the permanent patrols by heavy nuclear
armed aircraft would be brought to an end, submarines with launching facil
ities for SLBMs would remain at specified bases.
During the same period, a joint space-watch system would be set up,
staffed by representatives of various countries under the command of the UN.
The United Kingdom and France could form an integral part o f this
process. The governments of these countries have stated that they will join
in the nuclear arms reduction process only when their nuclear potential
becom es equal to that of the US and USSR. But our first stage does not
make arms-reduction a necessary condition. Its main aim would be to make
the military use of these weapons ineffective and to ensure that they are
constantly monitored. Naturally, this would not conflict with the treaties
which have already been signed between the USSR and USA on the reduc
tion of strategic nuclear weapons.
The second stage would consist of setting up a monitoring system for tar
gets. Essentially, this would mean the removal from the missile systems of
all trajectory programmes for strikes against econom ic or political targets
with a high-density civilian population. Targeting tactical nuclear weapons
on military objectives would still be permissible. This stage of the pro
gramme would free hundreds of millions of people from the threat of a
direct nuclear strike — for which they should be duly thankful to govern
ments which adopted this humane decision. Contrariwise, governments
which refused to sign such a treaty would find it somewhat difficult to
explain their stance to the world at large and their own population, which
would continue to live under the threat of a nuclear missile attack.
The third stage would be the establishment of an international strategic
deterrent force under the command of the UN. Parallel with the establish
ment o f this force, the nuclear arsenals of the countries of the former USSR
would be reduced until parity with other countries is reached.
The fourth stage would be the complete elimination of all national strate
gic offensive nuclear weapons. Individual countries would be allowed to
retain any nuclear weapons which had a purely defensive purpose. This
would be the sovereign right of every state which today has a nuclear arse
nal. But, understandably, if the nuclear arms reduction process continues to
move in a positive direction, then sooner or later the question of eliminating
these weapons too would also arise.
Proposals for the total elim ination of nuclear w eapons find a wide
response in the world community. There can be no doubt that such propos
als are o f themselves good. But they will only acquire a practical character
when all countries, or at least all those with the potential to construct
nuclear weapons, join the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The pre
sent situation, indeed, gives one no great cause for optimism. All over the
world, one government after another announces its wish to posses nuclear
arms. Nevertheless, there is a real hope that the proposed international
strategic deterrent forces under the command of the UN would play a posi
tive role in the resolution of many problems. Surely countries that now wish
to possess their own national nuclear weapons would renounce such plans
if they were assured of the strong support of the proposed UN forces.
On the same grounds, those countries which already posses nuclear
weapons could likewise renounce them. Thus in particular Ukraine, having
renounced her own offensive nuclear weapons, would acquire a strong
nuclear shield, capable of deterring any potential aggressor. Ukraine could
make her own contribution to the support of the combat readiness of the UN
forces in the form o f uranium and titanium mined on her territory, and the
manufacture of sophisticated missile and satellite systems. Such a policy would
be in full accord with the Declaration of the State Sovereignty of Ukraine.
The task of establishing the armed forces, and particularly the nuclear
missile component, has been from the beginning and still remains a compli
cated one. No one to date has found a smooth and easy path. But today’s
choice of a proper approach to the key questions of organising our military
forces will have a major influence on tomorrow’s difficulties and the effort
needed to resolve them. All aspects of this question should therefore be
thoroughly considered in great detail and from all sides, and properly
weighed up from the political, no less than the military, point of view. For
otherwise problems may be created for which there is no solution.
THE UKRAINIAN REVIEW
IR A N A N D U K R A IN E : TH E V IE W FROM T E H R A N
Dr. Ali Granmayeh
Before the dissolution o f the Soviet empire, Iranians had shown little
interest in the development of the European part o f the USSR. However,
Tehran had grown increasingly concerned about M oscow’s policy in the
Central Asian and Caucasian republics.
When the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States was
announced in December 1991, new considerations appeared in Iran’s for
eign policy. Ukraine, as the second most populous republic o f the former
Soviet Union, with a coastline oh the Black Sea and close to the Caucasus,
and possessed of a good industrial and commercial potential, attracted Iran
which was justifiably seeking new gateways to Europe.
Tehran’s new policy assessment was welcomed in Kyiv, since Iran was
capable of satisfying Ukraine’s energy demand, and also could provide a siz
able market for Ukrainian products.
The first contact between the two countries was made in January 1992,
when an Iranian delegation — the first ever to visit Ukraine — arrived in
Kyiv. At a meeting of Iran’s Foreign Minister, Dr. Ali Akbar Velayati, and
President Leonid Kravchuk, areas of cooperation were discussed, including:
Iran’s export o f oil and natural gas to, and import of industrial materials and
machinery from, Ukraine; joint commercial shipping; a possible direct air
link between Tehran and Kyiv; and “coordinated stances of the two coun
tries in international forums”. Velayati also signed a diplomatic protocol with
his Ukrainian counterpart, Anatoliy Zlenko, which led to the opening o f
their respective embassies in Kyiv and Tehran.1
A fortnight later, Iran’s Oil Minister, Qolam Reza Aqazadeh, arrived in Kyiv
to discuss an oil and gas deal with Ukrainian officials. This was the principal
item of bilateral economic cooperation between the two countries. Energy
negotiations were followed up by the Deputy Prime Minister, Kostiantyn
Masyk, in Tehran where the two sides discussed not only the sale by Iran of
an annual four million tons of oil and three billion cubic metres of natural
gas to Ukraine, but also the joint construction of a gas trunk-line, with the
partnership of Azerbaijan, from Iran to the Black Sea. Ukrainian officials
described the deals as Kyiv’s “largest economic contract ever”.2
Dr. Ali Granmayeh, a former Iranian diplomat, is visiting Research Fellow at the School of
Slavonic and Fast European Studies, University of London.
1 Tehran Times, January 23 & 25, 1992.
2 RFE/RL Daily Report, February 5 & 25; April 27, 1992.
In the circumstances, when Russia reduced its delivery o f fuel oil to
Ukraine and Turkmenistan enforced a fiftyfold rise on the price and trans
portation charge of natural gas to Ukraine, Kyiv rushed to consolidate its
relations with Iran, for the sake of its energy needs.3
President Kravchuk visited Iran on 25-26 April 1992, and told Iranian lead
ers that his country was "interested in establishing friendly relations with not
only its western neighbours but also with eastern countries”. Kravchuk com
mented that Tehran could play a vital role in the overall affairs of the world,
and that “with respect to the upheavals in the former Soviet Union” Iran
should use the situation and broaden relations with the successor states.4
During their m eetings, Kravchuk and President Ali Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani signed a letter o f understanding on mutual cooperation in the
political, cultural, oil trading, and banking sectors.5 Meanwhile, they agreed
to form a joint political econom ic committee, consisting o f the Foreign
Ministers of Iran and Ukraine, the Oil Minister o f Iran, and the Deputy Prime
Minister of Ukraine. This committee was former later, under the chairman
ship o f the First Deputy Prime Minister, Ihor Yukhnovskyi.
In 1993, two more Ukrainian delegations led by the Deputy Prime
Minister Yuli Yoffe, and the Speaker of Parliament, Ivan Plyushch, arrived in
Tehran with further proposals for expanding Kyiv-Tehran cooperation.
Behind the speedy consolidation of Iranian-Ukrainian relations in the past
eighteen months, one should observe several motives and objectives:
Ukraine was desperately seeking a reliable source of energy when its for
mer suppliers refused to cooperate. Iran volunteered to fill the gap, on
favourable terms, and agreed to supply Ukraine with oil in return for
Ukrainian oil derivatives.6 Iran did not approve Kyiv’s proposal to build an
oil terminal at a Ukrainian Black Sea port. However, a joint venture for the
construction o f a gas trunk-line, transporting Iran’s gas to Europe via
Ukraine, has been finalised. Through this project, Ukraine will obtain a
secure source of energy, a portion of the profit of the joint investment, and
a transit charge benefit.7
On its part, Ukraine can help Iran’s economic development by the transfer of
high technology and industrial know-how. In this context, Kyiv’s possession of
nuclear science was also stressed in Western analyses, despite Ukraine’s asser
tion that it is no longer a nuclear power, and Iran’s denial of allegations that it
had sought components of nuclear weapons in Ukraine and Kazakhstan.8
There are other issues which bring Kyiv and Tehran together. Ukraine is
upset with the aid policy of Western powers whose focus and priority in the
3 RFE/RL Daily Report, February 5 & March 4, 1992.
4 Tehran Times, April 27, 1992.
5 Ibid.; Tehran Times, March 18, 1993.
6 Tehran Times, May 8, 1993.
7 BBC SWB (SU), February 19, 1993.
8 Tehran Times, January 25, 1992, & May 10, 1993.
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