NPR slammed for claiming Ukraine GAVE UP its nuclear weapons

“Three decades ago, the newly independent country of Ukraine was briefly the third-largest nuclear power in the world,” NPR article noted


                            NPR slammed for claiming Ukraine GAVE UP its nuclear weapons
Ukrainians demonstrate outside the Russian Embassy against the recent invasion on February 23, 2022 in London, England (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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NPR has been criticized online after it claimed in an article that Ukraine GAVE UP its nuclear weapons. The piece, titled ‘Why Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons — and what that means in an invasion by Russia’, came out amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

The article states that “three decades ago, the newly independent country of Ukraine was briefly the third-largest nuclear power in the world.” It goes on to claim that “thousands of nuclear arms had been left on Ukrainian soil by Moscow after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. But in the years that followed, Ukraine made the decision to completely denuclearize,” before adding: “In exchange, the U.S., the U.K. and Russia would guarantee Ukraine's security in a 1994 agreement known as the Budapest Memorandum.”

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The article also included an interview with Mariana Budjeryn of Harvard University discussing the legacy of the Budapest Memorandum and its impact today. In the interview, Budjeryn commented on if Ukraine had any idea about the impact of denuclearizing. She said: “It is clear that Ukrainians knew they weren't getting the exactly legally binding, really robust security guarantees they sought. But they were told at the time that the United States and Western powers — so certainly at least the United States and Great Britain — take their political commitments really seriously. This is a document signed at the highest level by the heads of state. So the implication was Ukraine would not be left to stand alone and face a threat should it come under one.”

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Reservist, 28-year-old Anton Lytvyn packs his military equipment at his house after he was called up to active duty on February 23, 2022, in Kyiv, Ukraine (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

 

However, Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, dismissed NPR’s claims and tweeted, “No, no, no! Ukraine was not a ‘nuclear power.’ Soviet nukes were left behind when USSR broke up. Moscow had the keys and Ukraine couldn’t have used them. They were shipped back to Russia. Important when people falsely/mistakenly claim they could have protected Ukraine now.”

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In a later tweet, Kristensen added: “I know. This is on NPR, who should know better. But it feeds the false narrative that if only Ukraine hadn’t shipped the nukes back to Russia, Putin wouldn’t have dared what he did in 2014 and now,” when a user said, “The interview doesn’t suggest they were useable, despite the headline. More a discussion of narrative.” Budjeryn also replied to Kristensen’s tweet as she remarked: “NPR writes their own headlines and leads. But the content of the interview is clear about what Ukraine inherited and what it didn’t.”

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Several netizens expressed their thoughts over the NPR piece with one taking a dig at Ukraine, “I have lived in Ukraine, they can't even provide their citizens with clean drinking water. The missiles would have been left to rust unless any Oligarch could make some money from them.” Another wrote, “Exactly. ‘Ukraine’ was never a nuclear power. Soviet nukes controlled by the Soviet military were based in Ukraine.”

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Ukrainians demonstrate outside the Russian Embassy against the recent invasion of Ukraine on February 23, 2022, in London, England. The UK was among several nations to issue sanctions against Russia this week in the wake of its aggression toward Ukraine and Vladimir Putin's recognition of two breakaway Ukrainian regions as independent republics. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

 

A user asked, “Is @NPR indirectly batting for North Korea and Iran to go nuclear so that they can protect themselves from some super power?” while another added: “Wait, Mainstream Media Lying to beat the drums of war? I would say I'm shocked but I'm just not anymore.”

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