NEW – March 8, 2022
Vladimir Zelensky’s words in Munich about claims to Ukraine’s nuclear status were not a coincidence, it could become a reality in the very near future, a representative of one of the competent Russian departments told RIA Novosti.
“Zelensky’s statement at the Munich Security Conference in February about the possibility of Ukraine gaining nuclear status was not a coincidence. Immediately after joining the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 1994 as a non-nuclear state, Ukraine began to carry out R&D (research, development work – ed) in order to form a technological basis for the possible creation of its own nuclear weapons,” the agency interlocutor said.
According to him, this work acquired a clearly expressed practical orientation and increasing activity in 2014 by the unspoken order of Petro Poroshenko, who back then held the post of president.
“Thus, the data available in the Foreign Intelligence Service indicate that R&D on the creation of a nuclear explosive device, which could later be used in the design of nuclear warheads, was conducted both in the uranium and plutonium directions. The scientific community of Ukraine has sufficient competencies to create a device of both ‘implosive’ and ‘cannon’ types,” the source said.
He noted that Kiev could secretly acquire technologies of centrifuge enrichment of uranium and laser separation of isotopes in the West.
Plutonium from abroad
To speed up this work, plutonium of the required quality was obtained from abroad at the initial stage.
“According to available information, the United States has already transferred this material to its partners. There is reason to believe that in the ‘Ukrainian case’ it was not without Washington’s participation,” the agency interlocutor said.
According to him, a key role in the creation of a nuclear explosive device was assigned to the National Scientific Centre “Kharkov Institute of Physics and Technology”.
“The experimental base available there allows conducting a wide range of research into the study of nuclear materials, including spent reactor fuel assemblies that can be used to produce weapons-grade plutonium. At the same time, the neutron physics division of the Centre carried out calculations of the criticality of nuclear reactors, which are also applicable in the nuclear weapons field,” the source said.
Scientists were assisted in the development of methods for the separation of isotopes of nuclear materials by specialised structures of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, in particular, the Institute of Nuclear Research and the Institute of Organic Chemistry located in Kiev, he claims.
According to the Russian authorities, the Institute of Nuclear Power Plant Safety Problems in Chernobyl, the State Scientific and Technical Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety in Kiev and the Institute of Condensed Systems Physics in Lvov also participated in the work, which have a scientific background and corresponding hardware and software potential in the field of modelling the state of substances.
Work in Chernobyl
Kiev used the Chernobyl nuclear power plant zone as a site for the development of nuclear weapons.
“It was there, judging by the available information, that work was underway both on the manufacture of a ‘dirty’ bomb and on the release of plutonium. The increased radiation background, natural for the Chernobyl zone, concealed the conduct of such work,” the agency interlocutor noted.
According to him, employees of the Odessa National Polytechnic University with significant experience in mathematical modelling of the kinetics of thermonuclear reactions, as well as specialised departments of the Kiev National University and the Institute of Physics and Technology of Materials and Alloys of the National Academy of Sciences, specialising in computer modelling in the field of hydrodynamics and continuum mechanics, were involved in the development of individual problems in this area.
“Special attention was paid to the implementation of projects in the field of metallurgy of nuclear materials and technologies for the production of special alloys, which were carried out at the Institute of Electric Welding and the Institute of Metal Physics,” the source said.
In addition, he said, the Institute of Materials Science and the Institute of Physics and Mechanics were involved in solving problems in this area, taking into account their experience in the field of special materials, including their anti-corrosion protection and processing.
Interest in uranium…
At the same time, in recent years Kiev has been actively interested in the topic of uranium enrichment.
“Attention is also drawn to the fact that in recent years Ukraine has intensified geological exploration of deep layers on the territory of existing uranium mines, as well as the development of promising uranium deposits, in particular, in the Nikolaev, Dnepropetrovsk and Kirovograd regions,” the agency interlocutor said.
According to him, at the same time, Ukrainian representatives initiated dialogue with foreign companies to assist Ukraine in establishing its own uranium enrichment enterprises on the territory of the country.
“In this regard, it is noteworthy that the hydro-metallurgical plant in Zholtye Vody is already processing uranium oxide concentrate from ore mined in Ukraine, which can be used in the process of uranium enrichment in gas centrifuges without additional processing and purification,” the source said.
…and means of fire
“In parallel, work was carried out in the country to modernise existing and create new missile weapons that can be used as means of firing nuclear weapons,” said a representative of one of the competent departments.
According to him, Kiev covers most of these developments with the implementation of joint projects with other countries. So, in December 2013, an agreement was reached between Ukraine and Turkey on cooperation in the missile sphere.
“The main role in it should be played by the Ukrainian rocket and space enterprises Yuzhmashzavod and Yuzhnoye Design Bureau, which previously participated in the creation of the Soviet nuclear missile arsenal,” the agency interlocutor noted.
According to him, the main goal of this cooperation is to create a mobile complex equipped with a solid-fuel ballistic missile with a range of up to 1,500 kilometres.
“‘Yuzhmashzavod’ is also developing the ‘Grom 2’ land-based mobile missile system at the expense of Saudi Arabia. In the export version, ‘Grom 2’, according to Kiev, will have a range of up to 280 kilometres,” the source said.
At the same time, according to experts, there is a possibility of its modernisation in order to increase the firing range over 500 kilometres, according to some estimates, up to 1,000 kilometres. To conduct flight tests of rocket technology, the Alibey missile range has been operated in the Odessa region since 2017, a representative of one of the departments said.
A matter of several months
“Having implemented programs in both the nuclear and missile spheres for more than two decades, Ukraine has consistently opted for the formation of all the necessary conditions for the creation of its own nuclear weapons,” the agency interlocutor said.
According to him, “significant results” have been achieved in the field of modelling of nuclear chain reactions, separation of isotopes of fissile materials, as well as in the field of research and metallurgy of nuclear materials.
“According to Western experts, the Kiev regime was the closest to creating a nuclear explosive device based on plutonium due to its covert production from spent nuclear fuel stored in the country,” the source said.
“Ukrainian specialists could produce such a device within a few months,” he stressed.
Documentation removed or destroyed
In the conditions of increasing tension in relations with Russia, the Ukrainian leadership decided to destroy or evacuate all valuable documentation stored in scientific centres in Kiev and Kharkov to Lvov – to the National University “Lvov Polytechnic”.
“This was done, among other things, in order to avoid accusations against the Kiev regime about the presence of a weapons component in the ‘peaceful nuclear program’ of Ukraine,” the agency interlocutor noted.
According to the representative of the competent authority, certain documentation was also available at the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant.
“Clashes with Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance groups in the administrative premises adjacent to the Nuclear Power Plant were apparently connected with this,” the agency interlocutor said.
“Kiev’s implementation of its extremely dangerous nuclear Ukraine project could become a reality in the very near future,” he stressed, adding that it is difficult to overestimate the negative consequences of its implementation.
Earlier, ex-Prime Minister of Ukraine Nikolay Azarov said that Ukraine has the technical capability to create such weapons and could become a nuclear power within two to three years.
Russia, as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier, is taking all measures to prevent this. According to him, Kiev’s irresponsible statements about nuclear weapons are not empty bravado, the country still has Soviet nuclear technologies and means of delivering such weapons.
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