UK strikes nuclear deal with Ukraine

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The Independent Online
LONDON (Reuter) - The Ukrainian President, Leonid Kravchuk, said yesterday that Britain had agreed to provide his country with security guarantees when it gave up its share of the former Soviet nuclear arsenal.

Mr Kravchuk predicted confidently that the Ukrainian parliament would soon ratify the Start 1 disarmament treaty in spite of misgivings by some of its members and its failure to fulfil a promise to do so by the end of last year.

The Ukrainian President, meeting members of the British parliament, said Britain gave the security assurances in a co-operation treaty signed during his four-day visit. 'It was stated that Britain and Ukraine attach great importance to adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and ratification of Start 1 and that Britain is providing Ukraine with appropriate guarantees,' he said. 'I believe this will help prove to our deputies that all states are interested not only in Ukraine ratifying Start but also are willing to lend appropriate assistance.'

The co-operation treaty would provide security assurances once the former Soviet republic acceded to the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. A British official said these were standard assurances given by a nuclear power to any state joining the Non-Proliferation Treaty, effectively declaring its non-nuclear status. He said Britain pledged not to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine if none were used against Britain and committed itself to defending Ukraine at the United Nations if it were attacked by another state. The United States and Russia have offered Ukraine guarantees if it ratifies Start 1.

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