Prior to the escalated invasion of Ukraine, the political and military leadership of the Russian Federation alleged that Ukraine was planning to regain its nuclear status, and that it would be receiving the help of Western countries. This claim was repeated on May 9, 2022, almost three months following the 24 February incursion, during the closely watched Victory Day speech by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. He declared that Russia could not tolerate Ukraine becoming a nuclear state in its “near abroad”, and was forced to take steps to prevent it. These false accusations have been repeatedly refuted by Ukraine, the US, and other Western nations; nevertheless, Moscow continues to disseminate them to Russian and international audiences. Essentially, this should be regarded as one of numerous forms of Russian disinformation that are designed to justify its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and to maintain domestic and international support for an illegal military operation that has been floundering.
Dr Polina Sinovets, Odesa Center for Nonproliferation (OdCNP), Dr Khrystyna Holynska Pardee RAND Graduate School John V. Parachini RAND Corporation