In 1994, following the collpse of the USSR and through an accident of fate, the newly independent country of Ukraine found itself in possession of the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal.
At first, Ukraine planned to keep its nuclear weapons, because obviously no one would ever think of attacking a country with the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal.
However, the US and Russia had other plans.
At the insistence of the two strongest powers in the world — Russia and the United States — Ukraine agreed to give up their nukes in exchange for a "perpetual guarantees of sovereignty and territorial integrity."
The Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances refers to three identical political agreements signed at the OSCE conference in Budapest, Hungary on 5 December 1994, providing security assurances by its signatories relating to the accession of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine (which had by far the largest stockpile of nuclear wepaons) to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
The memorandum included security assurances against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, in exchange for those countries removal of all nuclear bombs and missiles.
This supposedly ironclad treaty was signed 24 years ago by Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin, John Major (of England) and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.
Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kravchuk.
According to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Ukraine removed and destroyed nuclear weapons such as:
130 Intercontinental ballistic missiles with 6 warheads for each.
46 solid fuel Intercontinental ballistic missiles with 10 warheads for each, with a range of 11 000 km.
25 Tu-95MS – large, four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform.
19 Tu-160 – supersonic, variable-sweep wing heavy strategic bomber, which was in 2014 the world’s largest combat aircraft, largest supersonic aircraft and largest variable-sweep aircraft built.
1080 long range nuclear cruise “air-to-surface” missiles.
Several hundred nuclear weapons from a variety of units.
All of these weapons were destroyed because the leaders of Russia, the US and the UK agreed to protect the sovereignty, borders and “territorial integrity” of Ukraine, which off course included Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.
The three powers, but most notably Russia, committed to “respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine” and “refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine.”
Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin, Leonid Kuchma and John Major sign the Budapest Memorandum
But as recent history showed us, the treaty and the western promises for military help in case Ukraine was ever attacked by Russia, were not just empty words, they were not worth the paper they were written on.
Fast forward to 2014, where a disarmed and helpless Ukraine stood by and watched how Russia invaded its territory and annexed Crimea, and used Russian backed proxies in the east in order to sever eastern Ukriane from the rest of it, while the Americans and the British, who helped Russia basically disarm Ukraine from its nuclear arsenal and who signed a treaty guaranteeing Ukraine's borders and territorial integrity, stood by and did nothing.
Vladimir Putin and Russia would have never have invaded Ukraine in 2014, sever its eastern part form the rest of it and seized Crimea if Ukraine had kept their nuclear weapons.