Scuppering SCUDs: Helping Ukraine Safely Dispose of Obsolete Weapons

Posted by: U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John F. Tefft

On November 30, I traveled to Kalynivka in Vinnytsia Oblast to observe a very important project that is safely eliminating SCUD missiles and demilitarizing related equipment.  The U.S. is funding a project to assist in this effort, which is a concrete example of the very positive benefits that come from close U.S.-Ukrainian cooperation.  The same program is helping to eliminate toxic mélange fuel (a highly toxic fuel used for missiles) at a base near Lviv.

Amb. Tefft observes missile disposal methods

When we arrived at the base, I received a warm welcome from Deputy Minister of Defense Omelyanchuk and base commander LTC Andriy Ostrenko.  The green SCUD missiles were large, imposing, and quite ugly when seen up close.  As I watched the team demonstrate disposal methods, I reflected on the recent history of arms control efforts in this part of the world, on which I’ve spent a good part of my career.  After working hard to reduce and eliminate weapons like these, it’s heartening to see them being cut apart and turned into useful scrap metal.  I was reminded of the biblical injunction to beat swords into plowshares.

Significant progress has been made since work began on the project in September, with approximately three missiles and four warhead vans destroyed every day, in addition to a launch vehicle approximately every other day.  As of last week, nearly two-thirds of the work had been completed on the missile airframes and missile launchers, in addition to about half of the demilitarization work on truck units and missile carriers.

Workers demonstrate disposal methods

We left Kyiv early on a cold, snowy morning for the three-hour drive to Kalynivka.  Vinnytsia Oblast reminded me of my home state of Wisconsin – the flat landscape of rich soil, light snow, and many stands of trees along the highway brought to mind the American Midwest in winter.  After our visit to the base, our traveling party enjoyed a fine luncheon – in the sunshine – with Governor Mykola Dzhyha, who shared his local pride and told us that the oblast is known for its bountiful agriculture, including dairy products (cheese!), excellent apples, and good fishing – more similarities to Wisconsin! They sure know how to make a visitor feel at home in Vinnytsia – even when we’re there for serious work.

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2 thoughts on “Scuppering SCUDs: Helping Ukraine Safely Dispose of Obsolete Weapons

  1. Are any of the materials from the Scud missles in Ukraine being used as a source of energy, in Ukraine’s Nuclear Energy plants? How are the toxic materials disposed of?
    Of more importance, is that Moldavia has a large stockpile of ordinance, it also seeks to safely dispose of, which could also possibly be used as fuel for a nuclear plant, and then the scrap metal sold for income as well.
    I like your quote about weapons being formed into plowshares, Mr Tefft. God bless you, and the people working together on this project. Maybe, you could also get that region of Ukraine to build a big Manitowoc Crane Factory, like Wisconsin, you Swiss Cheese state, has also! Ukraine, as well well as Slovakia each have powerful steel industry production. Amen to your quote Mr Tefft. Very good, and keep up the good work. Although I must who is on top of saving France the $400 Million dollars its economy loses daily as French workers strike, due to Sarkozy’s treatment of Roma Gypsies, and also his age increase for Retirement? And who is on top of saving lives unlike the 12 Poles that just froze to death, in the cold with Arctic Freeze coming south across Eastern Europe, and then the restoration of the capital of the Former Yugoslavia from the flooding? I’m proud of the work you are doing there in Ukraine, and also the relief supplies that went to Georgia during the recent Crises, and also the relief sent to Pakistan during its flooding this year as well. May, these nations come together to not allow Russian Natural Gas to cause 11 poles to freeze to death in winter time, nor a coldfront coming south from the Arctic. Amen. Thankyou brothers and sisters. You do good work. Djakyjy bpate i coctpe! Amen.

    Исая 2:4

    4І Він буде судити між людьми, і буде численні народи розсуджувати. І мечі свої перекують вони на лемеші, а списи свої на серпи. Не підійме меча народ проти народу, і більше не будуть навчатись війни!

    Йоил 3:10

    10(4-10) Перекуйте свої лемеші на мечі, а ваші серпи на списи, хай навіть безсилий говорить: Я лицар!

    Михей 4:3

    3І Він буде судити численні племена, і розсуджувати буде народи міцні аж у далечині. І вони перекують мечі свої на лемеші, а списи свої на серпи. Не підійме меча народ на народ, і більше не будуть навчатись війни!

    Псалми 67
    1 Для дириґетна хору. На струнних знаряддях. Псалом. Пісня. (67-2) Нехай Бог помилує нас, і хай поблагословить, хай засяє над нами обличчям Своїм, Села,

    Псалми 59:10 (Ukrainian Bible)
    10(59-11) Мій Бог, Його милість мене попередила, Бог учинить мені, що побачу падіння своїх мусковіт-ворогів! амінь.

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