May 9

Past Event

The Trilateral Process: Washington, Kiev, Moscow and the Fate of Nuclear Weapons in Ukraine

Event Materials



  • Independence or Nuclear Weapons for Ukraine

    Borys Tarasyuk, Former Foreign Minister of Ukraine: The choice was difficult but clear for Ukraine: It was either independence from the Soviet Union without nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons without independence.

  • Lessons from Trilateral Agreement

    Steven Pifer: This trilateral agreement taught us a few critical lessons about negotiating such an important and sensitive issue and one of those lessons was to find a way to do whatever worked.

    Steven Pifer

  • Removal of Ukraine's Soviet Nuclear Arsenal

    Pavel Baev, Peace Research Institute Oslo: The situation was delicate; the Soviets knew it and therefore took extreme care to address the Ukraine’s concerns about terms for the removal of its nuclear arsenal.

  • An Example for India and Pakistan Relations

    Strobe Talbott: As two powerful nuclear nations, India and Pakistan would do well to follow the example that the Soviet Union and Ukraine did years ago and find some way to bridge the chasm that divides them.

    Strobe Talbott


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When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Ukraine had the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world—larger than those of Great Britain, France and China combined. Intricate negotiations ensued in bilateral channels, followed in 1993-94 by a trilateral U.S.-Ukrainian-Russian process. That process successfully negotiated the removal of the weapons, with Ukraine receiving security assurances, compensation for the value of the highly-enriched uranium in the nuclear warheads, and assistance in eliminating the nuclear delivery systems and infrastructure that it had inherited.

On May 9, the Arms Control Initiative at Brookings hosted a panel discussion on the trilateral process, specifically the challenges and key factors that produced a successful outcome. Panelists included Pavel Baev, research professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo; Borys Tarasyuk, Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) deputy and former foreign minister; and Steven Pifer, senior fellow and director of the Arms Control Initiative. Brookings President Strobe Talbott moderated the discussion. The event marked the release of a new Brookings Arms Control series paper "The Trilateral Process: The United States, Ukraine, Russia and Nuclear Weapons."

After the program, the panelists took audience questions.

Event Agenda


May 9, 2011

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM EDT

The Brookings Institution

Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW


For More Information

Brookings Office of Communications

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