News / Europe

US Lawmakers Worry Ukraine Crisis Will Impact Nuclear Proliferation

Soldiers prepare to destroy a ballistic SS-19 missile in the yard of the largest former Soviet military rocket base in Vakulenchuk, 220 kilometers (137 miles) west of Kyiv, Dec. 24, 1997.
Soldiers prepare to destroy a ballistic SS-19 missile in the yard of the largest former Soviet military rocket base in Vakulenchuk, 220 kilometers (137 miles) west of Kyiv, Dec. 24, 1997.
Michael Bowman
U.S. senators debating aid to Ukraine say Russia's annexation of Crimea decades after Kyiv surrendered its nuclear arsenal could weaken nuclear non-proliferation efforts around the world.  The argument is one of many being voiced on Capitol Hill for a strong U.S. response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

In 1994, world powers, including Russia, pledged to uphold Ukraine’s territorial integrity in return for Kyiv giving up what was then the world’s third-largest nuclear weapons stockpile.

Democratic Senator Richard Durbin says Russia has broken its word.

“Russia has not only reneged on that promise, it has invaded Ukraine. [This is] not just a question of the survival of the Ukrainian government, but also a question as to whether or not civilized countries around the world [that are] trying to lessen the threat of nuclear weapons will stand with one voice and condemn the Russians for what they have done," said Durbin.

Durbin said nations aspiring to become nuclear powers or expand an existing arsenal are watching events in Ukraine and drawing dangerous conclusions.  That point was echoed by Republican Senator Marco Rubio.

“Think about if you are one of the countries around the world right now that feels threatened by your neighbors," said Rubio. "And the United States and the rest of the world are going to you and saying, ‘Do not develop nuclear weapons, South Korea.  Do not develop nuclear weapons, Japan.  Do not develop nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia.  We will protect you.  We will watch out for you.’  What kind of lesson do you think this instance [in Ukraine] sends to them?”

Rubio said Russia’s annexation of Crimea and possible further expansion into Ukraine will make nations around the world question security commitments made to them, and could lead them to conclude that they, too, must either build or cling to nuclear weapons to remain safe.

Analyst Anthony Cordesman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies doubts Ukraine’s experience will factor into decisions made by other governments.

“I think they draw their conclusions on the basis of local threats, and not on the basis of Ukraine.  Israel, Pakistan, India, North Korea are not going to give up [their weapons], and the countries that can acquire nuclear weapons or are trying to, like Iran, are going to make these choices based on other criteria," said Cordesman.

At the Capitol, however, many senators warn of dangers if vulnerable countries conclude that world powers cannot or will not stand up for them.  Some describe the Obama administration’s response to Russia’s actions as insufficient, and are urging military aid for Ukraine as well as U.S. natural gas exports to Europe to lessen the region’s dependency on Russian energy.

The Senate bill being debated would provide loan guarantees to Ukraine, codify penalties against Russian officials, and shift America’s contributions to the International Monetary Fund in a way that could facilitate additional loans to Kyiv.  Expected to pass this week, the bill would have to be reconciled with separate legislation in the House of Representatives.

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: heho from: Kenya
March 26, 2014 12:51 PM
US attacks Iraq , Afghanistan, Libya ya

by: meanbill from: USA
March 25, 2014 11:25 PM
THE WISE MAN said it; ... US Senator Durbin is right on one point?
The US and NATO, with some EU non-NATO members attacked tiny defenseless countries who never possessed a nuclear bomb, like Serbia, and Libya .. (AND?) .. attacked larger countries that had no air defenses, or nuclear weapons, like Afghanistan and Iraq...
The best defense against being attacked by the US, EU, and NATO, is to get the nuclear bomb as fast as they can, like North Korea, India, Pakistan, China, Israel, and Russia..
The US, EU, and NATO, are the only countries in the world, attacking countries without nuclear weapons.. ..... REALLY

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
March 25, 2014 8:49 PM
Today Lavrov made my hand fall limp. I had expected him to advice Russia to keep away from the nuclear summit, instead he was there beggarly groveling behind countries that have open mouths to swallow Russia. He, like Man U (did you see Manchester United flop 0-3 at Old Trafford today?), fluffed the country's chances of getting the world on its knees asking Russia to return to the negotiating table. He threw away all the aces his country had advantage of. Where is Russia's strength which makes Iran prove stubborn? If this little shaking is able to crack Russia, then there is nothing good enough in Russia's bloc of power. And China is likewise sissy. I hate the bandwagon trait of western Europe. It's absolutely senseless. Right now all I have in the world is failed states: USA is devilish; Russia is powerless, and China no good for anything except in flooding world markets with substandard goods and smile to bank with fat bank account. It is ready to do anything in so far as USA does not sneeze on account. Right now the world in search of a reliable country to rival USA whose hell-bent on demolishing morals seems to have no bounds.

by: Not Again from: Canada
March 25, 2014 7:43 PM
Senator Durbin does not see the big strategic picture, and it is- the deterrence value of the Western block has sunk so low, that authoritarian regimes see no risk in actions that violate the integrity/borders of other nations. If they saw a great risk as a result of their actions, they would not undertake them. Such low deterrent value has increased global instability. And unfortunately the peace dividend, that many of this people promoted, can't be found, the economies of the West are barely getting by. Lack of deterrent value is extremely dangerous to peace. For the last few years, many have sounded the alarm, but it fell on ignorant (lack of knowledge) ears.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs