U.S. commemorates 20th anniversary of Ukraine denuclearization

The U.S. commemorated the 20th anniversary on Tuesday of the historic step to remove all nuclear weapons from Ukraine, according to the U.S. State Department.

Marie Harf, the deputy spokesperson for the State Department, issued a statement on the anniversary of the event on Tuesday. Harf said the trilateral statement signed between the presidents of the U.S., Russia and Ukraine laid the foundation for Ukraine's accession to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state on December 5, 1994.

"The three presidents committed to the transfer of all nuclear warheads out of Ukraine in exchange for compensation to Ukraine, including the U.S. provision of substantial Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction assistance to cover the costs of safely and securely eliminating (intercontinental ballistic missiles), strategic bombers, ICBM silos and other nuclear infrastructure in Ukraine," Harf said.

U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin informed Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk that they were prepared to provide security assurances to Ukraine after the country acceded to the NPT and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty I entered into force.

Harf said Ukraine's historic action 20 years ago and its efforts since then helped to make sure the NPT remained the cornerstone of the nuclear nonproliferation regime. She said the U.S. looks to all States Parties to work together to strengthen the NPT going forward.

"As we approach the 2015 NPT Review Conference, the United States looks to all States Parties to work together towards strengthening this critical treaty which has underpinned international security for nearly 45 years," Harf said.