Ukraine is interested in security. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine agreed to give the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons based there to Russia, in exchange for security assurances from the US, the UK, and Russia. With the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the US’s general inaction, Ukraine’s security is at risk and they are without deterrent power. Ukraine will begin to evaluate the production of short- and intermediate-range missiles in the wake of the collapse of the INF, as this move as the potential to entice the US and Russia into an arms race. Ukraine cannot be put into another weak position and will need some internal protection, rather than empty security assurances from allies.
Treaties Ukraine has signed (important):
Chemical Weapons Convention–CWC
Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty–CTBT
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty–INF
Geneva Protocol (1925)
Kharkiv Pact (Ukraine/Russia, Crimea) (Russia terminated before Crimea annexation)
Lisbon Protocol (to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty 1991)
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons–NPT
Open Skies Treaty
Other arms related treaties:
Protocol on Incendiary Weapons
Nuclear Terrorism Convention
Convention on Nuclear Safety
Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material
US Atomic Energy Act Section 123 Agreement
The US pulling out the INF is motivating Russia to develop and modernize their missile arsenal. Should Ukraine do the same? if Russia and the US aren’t going to abide by it, why should we? Ukraine does not have obligations.
The 1992 Budapest Memorandum left Ukraine without nukes as a deterrent, and the US did not come to the rescue when Crimea was annexed in 2014 (backed out on security assurances). Building missiles could begin to recoup the deterrent factor; if Russia is going to back out, Ukraine needs missiles out of military necessity.
Ukraine has agreed not to possess WMDs at this point, through acceptance of such treaties as the NPT, the CWC, the INF, and the Geneva Protocol..
Ukraine mainly obtains weapons from the US, and from private US arms companies.
Ukraine does not sell weapons to other states
Ukraine is developing in its current arms capacity. It is a signatory on the CWC, Geneva Protocol, and the NPT–Ukraine does not have any Weapons of Mass Destruction. It has the second largest army in Europe, and it has conventional weapons. Ukraine is possibly looking at expanding missile capabilities, but does not have solid plans to do so.
Russia is the main security threat in the region. Western Ukraine is still fighting in the East against pro-Russian groups.
The INF is the greatest treaty issue facing Ukraine. If Russia and the US aren’t going to abide by it, why should anyone else? The collapse of the INF could lead to an arms race, which is dangerous for European nations as they are right in the middle of it. They don’t want missiles on their territory, being a proxy for either Moscow or Washington. Ukraine doesn’t want to be in the middle.