Yuri KostenkoNov 9, 2021
Ukraine's Nuclear Disarmament
Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute 2020
Yuri Kostenko’s Ukraine’s Nuclear Disarmament: A History (Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, 2020) is a meticulous account of how the Ukrainian government made a decision in the 1990s to give up the nuclear status. The book includes unique documents from the private archive, which Yuri Kostenko shares with the readers. Ukraine’s Nuclear Disarmament provides not only an account of nuclear weapons elimination in Ukraine, but also offers a broader picture of the political environment in which Ukraine found itself after the fall of the USSR. What political players participated in the construction of the newly formed independent state? What challenges did the country face? In addition to this retrospective approach, the book also provides insights into the present moment, particularly in terms of the ongoing armed conflict initiated by Russia in 2014. Yuri Kostenko mentions that the occupation of the Crimea and the subsequent Russian military aggression against Ukraine were not a surprise to him. The book engages with the consequences of the nuclear disarmament and prompts the readers to draw parallels between the decisions that were made in the 1990s and the current international position that was created for Ukraine.
Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed is a PhD candidate in the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures, Indiana University.