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MOSCOW, September 17. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine which has large uranium deposits, nuclear power plants and the ability to enrich nuclear fuel as well as enterprises which produced ballistic missiles in the Soviet times may create a nuclear bomb in ten years, Izvestia daily reported on Wednesday with reference to the opinion of Russian experts.
“Ukrainian Defence Minister Valery Geletei’s statement that Ukraine may regain the status of a nuclear power and create weapons of mass destruction is a provocation, but this should be taken seriously,” the daily quoted deputy chairman of Russia’s lower house State Duma defence committee Frants Klintsevich as saying, noting that “This cannot be forgotten that science in Ukraine has always been developed and there won't be any problems creating a nuclear bomb.”
Klintsevich recalled that the neighbouring country had 17 nuclear power units not designed for enrichment.
“If they assign several nuclear power units for the purpose and will get down to resolve this task the process will take quite a long period of time. But they will cope with it for ten years,” the lawmaker believed, noting that “It is very strange if Europe will not give any response to such statements. Double standards became normal for them and this may end deplorably for all.”
“Ukraine has inherited a major potential from the Soviet Union. These are nuclear technologies used in peaceful ends and nuclear scientists. They should not begin from scratch,” the daily quoted military expert Andrei Klenov as saying, adding that “Meanwhile, western Ukraine and a larger part of eastern Ukraine has plants which produce missiles Satana [third-generation Soviet strategic missile system]. Before the start of hostilities in Ukraine these plants were mothballed and all technical documentation, charts and technologies were transferred to Kiev.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine has Tochka U, a tactical missile system which uses conventional ballistic missiles with a fire range of 120 kilometres and more that can carry nuclear warheads, the daily recalled. Meanwhile, according to international classification the so-called ‘dirty bomb’, the simplest variant of weapons of mass destruction that contaminates the territory with radioactive materials, belongs to nuclear weapons.
“If the Ukrainian president decides to create nuclear weapons, ‘the dirty bomb’ with conventional explosives and radioactive element which can be generated at Chernobyl nuclear power plant can be produced literally in a few days,” Klenov said with confidence.
On September 14, Ukrainian Defence Minister Valery Geletei stated the possibility to develop nuclear weapons, if the West refuses to help Ukraine: “If we cannot protect [Ukraine] today, if the world does not help us, we will have to return to creation of these weapons to protect ourselves from Russia.”
This is quite illustrative that “officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the US ambassador in Ukraine refused to comment on possible after-effects of Ukraine’s turning in a nuclear power.