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July 22, 1993

Minister A.M. Zlenko to Prime Minister of Ukraine K.D. Kuchma

This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)



To Prime Minister of Ukraine

L. D. Kuchma


Dear Leonid Danylovych,


Pursuant to Your instructions of July 12, 1993, No. 15413/23, we inform you of the following.


Unfortunately, at this time, a clear mutual understanding between Ukraine and the Russian Federation with regard to a whole range of issues related to nuclear weapons located in Ukraine is missing.


As You know, the main reason holding this process back is the absence of a joint position regarding the ownership of the nuclear weapons and its components. Ukraine is constantly and at all levels raising the issue of its right to ownership of nuclear materials that are contained in the tactical nuclear warheads, already transferred out of its territory for dismantlement, as well as strategic warheads located on our territory. At the last meeting of the President of Ukraine and the Russian Federation on June 17 of this year in Moscow, a preliminary agreement was reached on providing Ukraine with compensation for the materials contained in the tactical warheads, however, the Russian side has evaded practical steps in this direction.


Concerning strategic nuclear weapons, the range of related problems could be at this stage settled by concluding agreements on the procedure for warrantee and manufacturer maintenance of strategic nuclear complexes and the status of Objects “C” located in Ukraine.[1] These agreements have been studied at the expert level and introduced as a package for signature during the meeting of prime minister of Ukraine and Russian Federation in Kyiv in June this year. Nonetheless, the Russian delegation did not express a desire to review the two agreements in a package and for this reason they were not signed.


The said issues were subject of discussion on June 22-23 in Moscow between the Chief of General Staff of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine A. V. Lopata and Deputy Defense Minister of the Russian Federation B. V. Gromov. The result of these negotiations was the initialing of the agreements that, while solving technical issues related to nuclear warheads of the strategic offensive arms, leave two problems open: ownership of components of the nuclear weapons and presence of foreign troops on the territory of Ukraine.


Notwithstanding, these problems are key and are primarily of political nature and must be definitely decided at the level of the President, Parliament, and the Government. Delaying their resolution could lead to unilateral actions on the part of Russia, as it happened in the case of the Black Sea Fleet. Today we are observing this in relation to the status of Objects “C”, which the Russian foreign ministry in their statements claim to be the property of Russia.





A.M. Zlenko


[1] Object “C” is a specialized military storage facility for nuclear warheads. Four such sites were located on Ukraine’s territory. [Ed.]

Zlenko sends a report to Kuchma suggesting a divergence in position between Russian the Ukraine on the problems related to nuclear weapons located in Ukraine.

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Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, fond 1, delo 7063. Obtained by Mariana Budjeryn and translated by Volodymyr Valkov.


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