Ukraine, U.S. agree to step up fight against nuclear smuggling
The United States and Ukraine have agreed to step up cooperation in the fight against nuclear and radiological smuggling, according to a statement by the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.
This was the result of a meeting of U.S. and Ukrainian officials in Kyiv on Wednesday, who discussed progress on a bilateral agreement to strengthen Ukraine's ability to prevent, detect, and respond to nuclear and radiological smuggling, the U.S. Embassy said.
The day-long meeting, led on the U.S. side by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation Programs Simon Limage and on the Ukrainian side by First Deputy of the Head of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine Vasyl Servatiuk, focused on our countries' joint efforts to implement the counter nuclear smuggling Joint Action Plan signed by Ukraine and the United States in January 2006.
The Action Plan includes efforts to secure nuclear and radiological materials in Ukraine, strengthen the regulatory and legal infrastructures that control their use, improve security at Ukraine's borders, and enhance Ukraine's capacity to investigate and prosecute nuclear smuggling cases.
Recognizing the importance of a coordinated, whole-of-government approach to countering nuclear smuggling, meeting participants included representatives from several Ukrainian ministries and corresponding U.S. Government agencies.
"The Ukrainian delegation underscored the importance of broadening and deepening cooperation with the United States in this area given Russia's occupation of Crimea and its continued aggression in eastern Ukraine. The delegations exchanged views on the current threat of nuclear smuggling in the region and identified areas in which the two governments might work together more closely," the U.S. Embassy said.
Given international seizures of weapon-usable nuclear material, which suggest that additional materials could be available in illegal circulation, the delegations noted the importance of continued vigilance to ensure these dangerous materials do not fall into the hands of terrorists or other criminals who might use them for malicious purposes.
"Both sides pledged their continued commitment to work together on these issues and identify opportunities for further collaboration," the statement reads.