Statement by Mr. Andrei Belousov, Deputy Head of the Russian Delegation in Exercise of the Right of Reply at the 10th NPT Review Conference (Main Committee I)
The Russian delegation has requested the floor to address a number of anti-Russian statements. Although they are only echoes of statements made during the high-level segment, we cannot leave them unanswered.
The purpose of the outbursts against Russia is clear – to assign all the responsibility for the degradation of international security, the decline in the level of trust among states, the growth of tension, and, as one of the results of this, the undermining of the NPT regime to Russia. Such statements not only are untrue but also present a distorted and divorced from reality situation in Europe and in the world.
Regional and international security is not a phenomenon that takes a few days or weeks to shape and depends on the actions of a single state. It is the result of years of efforts and decisions by all UN member states. It is precisely the destructive actions of our opponents that I would like to focus on.
I will not bore you with a lengthy historical overview, but only remind you of the events that took place during the current NPT review cycle.
In the context of arms control and disarmament, the negative effect on international and regional security, and, consequently, on the NPT regime, was caused by the withdrawal of the U.S. from the INF Treaty under far-fetched pretexts, which was accompanied by the statements of the U.S. President about the readiness to modernize and, most importantly, to build up U.S. nuclear missile capabilities. These statements have not yet been disavowed by the Biden administration.
There is no doubt that Russia's detractors among European countries did everything possible to make it easier for the U.S. to withdraw from this Treaty. And, therefore, they are jointly and severally liable for both its collapse and the consequent weakening of European security.Furthermore, they ignored the Russian proposal for a mutual and verifiable moratorium on the deployment of missile systems previously banned by the INF Treaty, aimed at preventing a deterioration of the situation after the termination of the Treaty.
To this can be added recent developments, which should be of major concern to the NPT community. First and foremost, it is about the definitive securing of NATO's status as a nuclear military and political bloc, which is explicitly outlined in the final declaration of the Madrid summit of the alliance. The NPT community has yet to analyze the implications of this circumstance, which makes us look at the status of non-nuclear members of the bloc from a different perspective, especially those with U.S. nuclear weapons on their territories. In this regard, the question of how the presence of foreign nuclear weapons on the territory of European countries and their participation in a nuclear alliance fit in with their obligations under the NPT seems relevant.
We have long been asking a similar question about NATO's "nuclear missions" to exercise the use of nuclear weapons with the active involvement of non-nuclear members of the alliance. We have already heard more than once during the Conference and in Main Committee I that this practice is not in contradiction with the NPT, and that such missions were allegedly agreed upon back in the drafting phase of the Treaty. We consider such arguments to be no more than excuses for actions that run counter to the key provisions of the NPT, which is recognized as the cornerstone of international security.
If we summarize all these facts, the conclusion is that we can expect NATO member states to justify any use of nuclear weapons in the future. By the way, there is every reason for such a conclusion. U.S. doctrinal documents stipulate the use of nuclear weapons under the pretext of a threat to its vital interests or those of its allies. The idea behind this thesis is that the U.S. has reserved the possibility of using nuclear weapons at any time, for any reason, against any state, simply by claiming that its vital interests are affected. And this is the real threat of nuclear war. Especially in view of the fact that the U.S. remains the only state to have used its nuclear arsenal in practice.
I will also mention the fact that attempts made by Russia late last year to ease tensions between the two nuclear powers and make the situation in Europe and the world more stable and predictable enjoyed neither support nor understanding from the United States and its allies.
This is just a brief overview of the destructive steps taken by our opponents critical of Russia for its lawful and reasonable measures to ensure its own security.
In conclusion, I would like to address the allegations about Russia's violation of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. This document, which is essentially a political declaration, like other similar documents, is based on the fundamental norms of international law, the principles of the UN and the OSCE.
However, our opponents have already defied these principles on several occasions and thereby called into question, though indirectly, the validity of the Budapest Memorandum. Among the events that allow drawing such a conclusion, I would highlight the bombing of Yugoslavia, the de factosecession of Kosovo under direct pressure from the United States and its allies, and Western interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine in 2004, which led to a creeping coup in this country under the guise of democratic processes. Thus, the Budapest Memorandum lost its importance long before 2014, and allegations of its violation by Russia are simply untenable. Earlier we provided more detailed arguments on this matter.
I would only add that the legal grounds of the current world order, based on the principles of the UN and existing international law, are being undermined by the highly controversial concept of a "rule-based world order" insistently imposed by the collective West.
The states that make baseless and false accusations against Russia, trying to discredit, demonize, and isolate it, should first and foremost undertake an unbiased analysis of their destructive actions including those in violation of international law, which directly led to the situation resulting in the negative background of the 10th NPT Review Conference, as stressed by many delegations.