Russia is attacking Ukraine with the same type of missiles the country abandoned in the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union, Ukrainian presidential aide Oleksiy Arestovych told state broadcaster Ukraine 24 in an interview. TV show posted on their YouTube channel on Friday.
Responding to a question from the presenter of Ukraine 24 about the current security of the Ukrainian capital, Arestovych spoke about the Russian airstrikes which have given the country no respite and which, “ironically”, use the same missiles that the country has returned to Russia in 1999 after the end of the Cold War.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine gained its independence, formalized by a referendum in December of the same year, when an overwhelming majority of 92.3% of voters expressed their support for a state independent.
Ukraine was left with a significant arsenal – including nuclear weapons – that had belonged to the former Soviet Union. Among these were 1,612 Kh-55 missiles, medium-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
Seeking peace and stability, Ukraine agreed in 1994 to destroy all nuclear weapons in the country and to join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. He also agreed to send 575 Kh-55 missiles to Russia, while the rest were to be scrapped under a US-funded disarmament program.
In December of the same year, three years after the country had gained its independence, Ukraine signed the Budapest Memorandum with Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom, in which the signatories pledged to respect the Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and existing borders in exchange for the country’s commitment to denuclearization.
Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom also pledged to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, pledging that None of the weapons abandoned by the country would ever be used against it except in self-defense or in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
The Kh-55 missiles were handed over to Russia in 1999, along with eight Tu-160 and three Tu-95MS bombers, for a total of $285 million. By May 2001, another 483 such missiles had been destroyed, according to reports from the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
Assistant to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky now claims that the Kh-55 missiles his country abandoned in 1999 are being used by Russian troops in their invasion of Ukraine.
“The main type of rockets used against us are air-launched cruise missiles fired by strategic bombers without entering Ukrainian airspace,” Arestovych explained.
“Their range is between 2,000 (over 1,240 miles) and 3,000 km (over 1,860 miles) so they don’t care where to launch them – they can fire from the Arctic Circle if they want to. wish. So nowhere in Ukraine is really safe.”
Russia broke its commitment to the Budapest Memorandum for the first time in 2014 with the annexation of Crimea.
Speaking about the current situation in the country at Ukraine 24, Arestovych said that “there is no really safe place in Ukraine at the moment”.
“The only area they haven’t hit yet is Zakarpattia Oblast [in Western Ukraine]although they hit other places in the west, including Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk,” he added.
Arestovych said there was a certain “irony” in being hit by the same Kh-55 rockets that Ukraine “voluntarily gave up under the Budapest memorandum”.