Russia Attacks With Rockets Ukraine 'Gave Up' in Peace Plan: Zelensky Aide

Russia is attacking Ukraine with the same type of missiles the country gave up in the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union, Ukraine's presidential aide Oleksiy Arestovych told state TV channel Ukraine 24 in a televised interview published on their YouTube channel on Friday.

Responding to a question from Ukraine 24's anchor about how safe Ukraine's capital is at the moment, Arestovych talked about Russian airstrikes that have given the country no respite and which, "ironically," are using the same missiles the country returned to Russia in 1999 after the end of the Cold War.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine gained independence, as formalized by a referendum in December of that same year when an overwhelming majority of 92.3 percent of voters expressed their support for an independent state.

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Ukrainian police inspect the remains of a large rocket bearing the words "for our children" in Russian next to the main building of the train station in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, on April 8, 2022. The station, that was being used for civilian evacuations, was hit by a rocket attack killing at least 35 people. FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images

Ukraine was left with a significant arsenal—including nuclear weapons —which had belonged to the then-defunct Soviet Union. Among these there were 1,612 Kh-55 missiles, medium-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Seeking peace and stability, Ukraine agreed in 1994 to destroy all nuclear weapons present in the country and join the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons. It also agreed to send 575 Kh-55 missiles to Russia, while the rest were to be scrapped under a U.S.-funded disarmament program.

In December of the same year, three years after the country had obtained independence, Ukraine signed the Budapest Memorandum with Russia, the U.S. and the U.K., in which the signatories pledged to respect the sovereignty, independence and existing borders of Ukraine in exchange for the country's commitment to denuclearize itself.

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An image of Oleksiy Arestovych from video on his Youtube channel. Arestovych claims that Russian forces are using Kh-55 missiles in attacks on his country, the same type of missile the Ukrainians had handed over to Russia back in 1999. Oleksiy Arestovych

Russia, the U.S. and the U.K. also committed to ​​refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, promising that none of the weapons given up by the country would ever be used against it, except in self-defense or in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

The Kh-55 missiles were handed over to Russia in 1999, along with eight Tu-160 and three Tu-95MS bombers, for a total of $285 million. ​​An additional 483 such missiles had been destroyed as of May 2001, according to reports by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's aide now claims that the Kh-55 missiles his country had given up back in 1999 are being used by Russian troops in their invasion of Ukraine.

"The main type of rockets used against us are the air-launched cruise missiles fired from strategic bombers without entering Ukraine's airspace," Arestovych explained.

"Their range is between 2,000 (over 1,240 miles) and 3,000 km (over 1,860 miles) so they don't care where to launch them from—they can fire all the way from the Arctic Circle if they wish. So nowhere in Ukraine is really safe."

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A man carries an injured dog after a rocket attack killed at least 35 people on April 8, 2022 at a train station in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, that was being used for civilian evacuations. FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images

Russia broke its commitment to the Budapest Memorandum for the first time in 2014 with the annexation of Crimea.

Talking about the current situation in the country to Ukraine 24, Arestovych said that "there is no truly safe place in Ukraine at the moment."

"The only area they haven't struck yet is Zakarpattia Oblast [in Western Ukraine], though they've hit other places in the west, including Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk," he added.

Arestovych said that there was some "irony" in being hit with the same Kh-55 rockets that Ukraine "voluntarily gave up under the Budapest Memorandum."