“I feel personally involved”: Clinton regrets that he encouraged Ukraine to abandon the nuclear

Marta Gichko22:45, 04.04.23

In his opinion, Russia would never have dared to invade a nuclear Ukraine.

Former US President Bill Clinton has admitted he regrets his role in Ukraine’s nuclear disarmament in the 1990s. He suggested that Russia would not be able to start a war against a nuclear Ukraine.

As Clinton said in an interview with the Irish broadcaster RTÉ , he feels personally involved in the fact that Ukraine was persuaded to give up nuclear weapons.

“I feel personally involved, because I made them (Ukraine – UNIAN) agree to give up nuclear weapons. And none of them believe that Russia would agree to this (invasion – UNIAN) if Ukraine still had its weapons “, Clinton said.

The former US president emphasized that Vladimir Putin, unlike his predecessor Boris Yeltsin, would not support an analogue of the Budapest Memorandum – a document that provided “security guarantees” for Kiev in exchange for renunciation of nuclear weapons.

“They (Ukrainians – ed.) were afraid to give it (nuclear weapons – ed.) because they thought that this was the only thing that protected them from expansionist Russia. Putin, when he saw an opportunity, violated the agreement and first seized Crimea. And I from “I feel terrible about this, because Ukraine is a very important country,” he stressed.

Ukraine’s renunciation of nuclear weapons

Recall that as of 1991, Ukraine had the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world. However, the country has acceded to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and has pledged to eliminate all nuclear weapons. 

In 1994, the so-called Budapest Memorandum was signed between them, which was supposed to be a guarantee that the country would be protected from encroachments on its independence, sovereignty and borders after losing its nuclear status. The signatories were the United States, Great Britain and Russia.

In 2021, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky opposed the return of nuclear weapons to Ukraine in 2021. He said “this is wrong”. Then he also noted that if Ukraine had nuclear weapons, Russia would not have dared to seize Crimea and start a war in the Donbass.

In February 2022, a few days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the president spoke at the Munich Security Conference and returned to the issue.

“For the rejection of the world’s third largest nuclear potential, Ukraine received security guarantees. We do not have these weapons. As well as security,” he said. 

(C)UNIAN 2023


  1. Yes, it was Clinton’s fault that Ukraine surrendered its only true guarantee to security. But, it was Obama who did nothing to uphold the memorandum. Sending blankets and broken humvees to Ukraine don’t count.

  2. Well I appreciate Clinton’s honesty but hate his stupidity as well as the stupidity of Bush 1. Bush 2 Obama, the slowness of Biden’s brain and the big shithead, Trump.

  3. Article fails to mention under the Clinton administration the Budapest memorandum document that the U.S. and the UK signed was not the same as the one given to Ukraine or mafia land which read security assurances as opposed to theirs which read security guarantees. I blame Clinton for this major screw up also.

      • What could he do then? He is a retired POTUS and there is a gentlemen’s agreement not to get involved in the business of his successor.

        Bush was also not stabbing Obama in the back for example.

        • They were out of government, Hillary was still in government. Bill is married to Hillary so they were still active. You think they don’t give political speeches. This is why your arguments are often lacking bert, you are not consistent and you are guided by ideology instead of common sense and logic.

  4. I don’t think Ukraine getting rid of nukes was the main issue.
    I still kinda agree with that, as Yanukovich with nukes also was dangerous as hell.

    During the 1990’s, the Ukrainian government was as bad and corrupt as the Russian government.

    What I think are the two main problems is Ukraine having to give up its best non-nuclear weapons, such as long range missiles, strategic bombers, basically everything decent they had at the time. And they had to give most of them to Russia.

    Also, signatories should have complied with the memorandum.

    In the same fashion I don’t like it when people are whining about the Treaty of Versailles, as it did not prevent WWII.

    Treaties themselves are just sheets of paper, it is compliance that give them substance.

    Germany should have been corrected on the first day it did not obey instead of only when they had already captured the entire continent.

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