During a visit to RTÉ Prime Time, an Irish current affairs television program, former President Bill Clinton discussed the war in Ukraine and even said he feels personally responsible for the invasion.
Referencing his administration’s 1994 agreement that led to the denuclearization of Ukraine, Clinton said he feels “terrible,” suggesting Vladimir Putin’s campaign in the country would not have occurred in 2022 – or in Crimea in 2014 – if Ukrainians still had nuclear capabilities.
“I feel a personal stake because I got them [Ukraine] to agree to give up their nuclear weapons. And none of them believe that Russia would have pulled this stunt if Ukraine still had their weapons,” Clinton said.
Clinton added that Ukraine was reluctant to give up its nuclear arsenal, believing it was the only factor keeping “expansionist” Russia from invading.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton regrets that he convinced the Ukrainian authorities to give up nuclear weapons in 1994. pic.twitter.com/RQOtFiu5dG
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) April 4, 2023
Clinton’s 1994 deal with Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk removed the Soviet arsenal remaining in Ukraine’s territory after the fall of the USSR. Then, a later agreement that year, the Budapest Memorandum, saw Ukraine give its nukes to Russia in exchange for a promise to respect the nation’s territory.
That promise was predictably broken in 2014, and again in 2022.
“I think what Mr. Putin did was very wrong, and I believe Europe and the United States should continue to support Ukraine,” Clinton said later on in the broadcast.
“There may come a time when the Ukrainian government believes that they can think of a peace agreement they could live with, but I don’t think the rest of us should cut and run on them.”
U.S. taxpayers have been forced to shovel nearly $50 billion in funding to Ukraine since the conflict began in February 2022.