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NATO Secretary General visits Kyiv

How Ukraine Sees Nuclear Violence

The reason why Ukraine won’t sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is more complex than we think.

Words: Terrell Jermaine Starr
Pictures: NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine back in 2022 set off concerns of a possible nuclear strike once it was clear its ground forces would not take Kyiv and that the West would aid in Ukraine’s defense.

Not only has Kyiv retaken much of the territory Russia occupied at the start of the war, its military forces have made notable gains in the most recent counteroffensive. And while there is division in Congress over aid, there are talks of an aid package for Ukraine worth up to $100 billion that is expected to last until election day of 2024. 

The specter of nuclear violence looms in the discourse of how the West should support Ukraine. Over the course of more than a year, Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended Russia’s participation in New START, announced the deployment tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus and reportedly put his nuclear arsenal on high alert.

This has caused the West to be very calculating and cautious in how much military aid it sends to Ukraine for fear Putin will respond with a nuclear strike. 

These threats and years of advocacy from nuclear nonproliferation activists have renewed calls for an all-out ban on nuclear weapons and for all countries to sign on to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, or simply TPNW. 

But Ukraine has not signed the document and most likely won’t.

The reasons for that are pretty complex. Inkstick Media x Bombshelltoe Creative Capsule Resident Terrell Jermaine Starr breaks down why in the explainer video below.


Terrell Jermaine Starr

Terrell Jermaine Starr is the host and founder of Black Diplomats, a podcast that discusses foreign policy from a social justice perspective. He is also a resident of Inkstick’s and Bombshelltoe’s Creative Capsule Residency.

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