Russian Defence Minister Warns of Future Ukrainian Nuclear Weapons Arsenal

In the latest of multiple similar warnings from Russian officials, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu warned on March 24 that there was a significant threat of Ukraine developing nuclear weapons and accompanying delivery vehicles. This followed indications by Ukrainian officials just days before the outbreak of war between the two countries that Kiev could abandon the Budapest Memorandum signed in 1994 which prevented it from acquiring nuclear arms. Minister Shoigu also alleged that there was evidence of “a network of more than 30 biological laboratories involved in the U.S. Military biological programme was created [in Ukraine]. Documents show that the research [in these laboratories] was carried out secretly in violation of international obligations," and that components of biological weapons had been manufactured near Russia’s own borders. These claims were made at a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), where members Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Belarus were all represented, and also echo prior allegations from Moscow that the United States was pursuing a biological weapons program on the territories of Soviet successor states aimed at Russia.

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