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Bill reviving Ukraine’s nuclear power ambitions goes to parliament

July 31, 2014, 20:20 UTC+3 KIEV
This issue was last raised in October 2003 in an overemotional reaction to Russia’s plan to build a dam in the Kerch Strait off the Island of Tuzla
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Construction of a new protective shelter which will be mounted over the remains of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine

Construction of a new protective shelter which will be mounted over the remains of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine

© EPA/OLEKSANDR LEPETUHA

KIEV, July 31. /ITAR-TASS/. A bill restoring Ukraine’s nuclear power status was registered in the national parliament on Thursday amid the ongoing military conflict in the south-eastern regions and strained relations with Russia.

The bill, reviving Ukraine’s nuclear ambitions, was forwarded to the parliament’s security and budget committees.

This issue was last raised in October 2003 in an overemotional reaction to Russia’s plan to build a dam in the Kerch Strait off the Island of Tuzla.

Nikolai Filatov, head of the all-Ukraine Union of Strategic Missile Forces Veterans, said the restoration of the nuclear power status would take much effort and cost at least one or two annual national budgets but "maintaining [strategic missile forces] in combat readiness would be much less expensive,”

He said that Ukraine was able to create land-based mobile missile systems, “which will pose a threat to a potential enemy”.

Meanwhile, Viktor Yesin, former chief of staff of Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces, told ITAR-TASS that Ukraine had no infrastructure, testing ranges and sufficient funding to create its own nuclear weapons.

“The cost of recreating [old systems] and designing new ones would be enormous and can hardly be estimated. Ukraine has no money, and it would require at least three annual budgets,” Yesin said, adding that Ukraine would have to create nuclear weapons “from scratch” if such a decision was made.

“Ukraine had no nuclear research and design facilities even in the Soviet times,” he said.

Ukraine’s annual budget expenditures stand at about $55 billion, which is comparable to Moscow’s budget.

Ukraine, which had the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal after the breakup of the USSR, abandoned nuclear weapons under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum in exchange for security guarantees from the United States, Russia and Britain.

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