[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1994, Book I)]
[January 14, 1994]
[Pages 49-50]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Exchange With Reporters on Signing the Denuclearization Agreement With 
Russia and Ukraine in Moscow
January 14, 1994

    Q. What will be the impact of this agreement on the national 
security of Russia?
    President Boris Yeltsin of Russia. We have never believed and we 
have never perceived that there is any kind of danger coming our way 
from Ukraine. Nevertheless, in terms of world politics, today is an 
historic day where the three Presidents have signed an agreement that 
would eliminate nuclear arms from the territory of Ukraine and whereby 
Ukraine will be acceding the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear 
Weapons. This will be another important step towards getting rid of 
nuclear weapons throughout the world.
    Q. There is an opinion that if the Ukraine gets rid of its nuclear 
weapons it will lose its authority, so to speak, among other nations. 
What is your opinion on this, Mr. President?
    President Clinton. Well, of course, in the end this is a question 
that Ukraine has to answer for itself, but I can only tell you what my 
opinion is. My opinion is that Ukraine will increase its authority among 
nations for doing this. After all, Ukraine has enhanced the security of 

[[Page 50]]

United States today by agreeing to remove 1,500 nuclear warheads aimed 
at our Nation. Ukraine has enhanced the security of Ukraine and Russia 
by agreeing to dismantle these warheads, which means that there is less 
chance of nuclear accident, nuclear espionage, nuclear terrorism.
    And more important, Ukraine has shown an understanding that as we 
move into the next century, the greatness of nations will be defined by 
their ability to work with each other and to develop the capacities of 
their people. And I think you will now see people all over the world 
more interested in working with Ukraine in partnership because of this 
very brave and visionary act. So I believe that Ukraine is a stronger 
nation today for having done this. And I think almost everyone else in 
the world will believe the same thing.
    Q. President Clinton, we've been told by one of your aides that the 
timetable for this agreement is going to remain secret. Is that in fact 
the case? Are you going to at least tell us when dismantlement of the 
first nuclear warhead in Ukraine will take place?
    President Clinton. We have reached an agreement on which details 
will be made public and which will not, and today all the things that 
can be made public will be made public. We've been working so hard on 
this, I want to be very careful about it.
    Let me tell you that I am completely comfortable with the agreements 
that we have made and with the understandings between both Russia and 
Ukraine about how it will be handled. I think it's a very good thing for 
the world and a very good thing for the United States.
    Q. What does Ukraine receive from giving the warheads and missiles 
deployed in its territory?
    President Leonid Kravchuk of Ukraine. From the political point of 
view, we get a greater security for having signed the documents with the 
Presidents. Both Presidents and the countries confirm this higher change 
of security. And the second point, the Ukraine confirms its policy which 
was proclaimed earlier, thus indicating the continual character of its 
policy. And the third, Ukraine receives compensation for nuclear 
weapons. And the fourth, Ukraine enters into normal relations with other 
states, and this is the primary thing for great security. I say it like 
that: if Ukraine is in friendly relations, further ties with Russia and 
the United States, it will be secure.

Note: The exchange began at 8:55 a.m. in St. Catherine Hall at the 
Kremlin. President Yeltsin and President Kravchuk spoke in their native 
languages, and their remarks were translated by an interpreter. A tape 
was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.