Ukraine is set to transfer the remainder of its nuclear weapon-capable uranium to Russia by next April under an agreement inked with the United States on Monday, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, Sept. 26).
The memorandum of understanding, signed by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, officially commits the former Soviet state to an agreement first announced at the 2010 Global Security Nuclear Security Summit in Washington (see GSN, April 13, 2010).
Ukraine completed with U.S. assistance its initial transfer of 110 pounds of bomb-capable uranium near the end of 2010. The nation's material is expected under the plan to be processed into a form that would make it unusable in weapons.
Various Ukrainian concerns held up the pact, which the top diplomats had aimed to conclude in July.
In one example, Kiev sought guarantees that Washington would follow through on a promise to establish a $25 million atomic science site in Ukraine capable of generating 50 nuclear medicine substances using uranium that would not be enriched to weapons levels. Clinton said her country is dedicated to adhering to a schedule that calls for the facility's entry into operation before 2015.
Separately, Ukraine placed high importance on confirming the pact's endorsement fell completely in line with official rules, possibly due to a previous prime minister's detention for purportedly failing to fully comply with such regulations in completing an energy deal with Russia two years ago, according to AP.
Ukraine's formal authorization of the pact represents a "bold commitment" to international order, Clinton said.
"This deal is a win-win for both countries and both peoples," she said. "It provides tangible benefits for the people of Ukraine and it makes the world safer for all people" (Desmond Butler, Associated Press/Google News, Sept. 26).