Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing "Maintenance of international peace and security: Promote common security through dialogue and cooperation”
We thank UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the President of the tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Mr. Gustavo Zlauvinen, for their briefings.
We are grateful to our Chinese colleagues for convening today's UN Security Council and for choosing a highly relevant topic devoted to issues of collective security.
Hardly anyone can be satisfied with the international situation we are facing today. The international security system is going through a profound crisis. Almost all institutions it relied on have deteriorated, the level of trust between key international players has dropped to a critical low. Today, more than ever before, it is important to understand why this has happened. However, for at least past 200 years, Western countries have been blaming Russia as the sole explanation for any such problems and their universal solution. But let us look at the facts.
In the late 1980s, the international community had reason to hope that the Cold War, with its arms race and the threat of a major confrontation between the superpowers, was behind us. Many experts seriously argued that bloc confrontation was also a thing of the past. The main reason for such developments was that the USSR, and subsequently Russia, radically changed course in response to the promises and pledges of the Western countries. Back then we were assured that NATO would not use the new situation in Europe in its own interests or create new dividing lines in Europe. We were promised an equal partnership based on trust, transparency and mutual consideration of security concerns, which included a promise not to expand NATO to the East.
From the recorded conversations and memoirs of Western politicians, it became clear that we were trivially and shamelessly deceived, and neither the United States nor its allies had no intention of fulfilling any of the promises. Equal partnership was never on their agenda. Moreover, Western countries, taking advantage of our economic and political problems of the transition period, declared Russia the loser in the Cold War. And as they saw it, the loser couldn’t claim anything. Almost immediately, NATO members forgot their promises not to increase their military presence in Europe and not to move military infrastructure to the Russian borders.
For 30 years we have been patiently trying to reach an agreement with NATO on the principles of equal and indivisible security in the Euro-Atlantic area. However, in response to our proposals, we constantly heard either cynical lies or attempts to excercise pressure and blackmail. At the same time, the North Atlantic Alliance continued to steadily expand, bringing its military infrastructure closer to our borders, including by deploying missile defense systems and offensive weapons. All this created a real threat to the national security of our country. Our president warned about this back in 2007 at the Munich Security Conference, urging NATO to abandon this dangerous confrontational path. Unfortunately, these warnings were not heard or headed to in the West. On the contrary, in 2008, the US and their Alliance allies pushed the then Georgian authorities towards conducting a violent military risky campaign against South Ossetia and Russian peacekeepers, which led to catastrophic consequences for Georgia.
In parallel, the United States deliberately dismantled key elements of the global arms control system, which for decades helped maintain a strategic balance and avoid armed confrontation. Back in 2001, Washington announced its unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) under the far-fetched pretext that it was allegedly outdated and did not reflect modern realities. In 2019, the United States also unilaterally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), which the Secretary General once called "an invaluable tool to prevent nuclear war”. To avoid a new cycle of confrontation, we proposed to the US and NATO a mutual moratorium on the deployment of such missiles. We even assumed a unilateral obligation not to be the first ones to place systems banned by the INF Treaty in those regions where such American-made weapons will not be deployed. But the US and its NATO allies rejected our proposal to join this moratorium.
In this context it is emblematic that the United States continue to refuse to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
As far as Euro-Atlantic region goes, for many years we have been doing our best to maintain the viability of the conventional arms control regime. Russia initiated the negotiations with the goal to adaptat the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), ratified the Agreement on Adaptation of this Treaty, which would make it possible to take into account the new strategic realities in Europe. But the United States and its NATO allies, which, by the mid-2000s, were already expanding their alliance at full speed, refused to ratify this Agreement, and NATO "recruits" of the 2000s - Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovenia, Albania and Croatia - refused to join CFE on principle. All this stripped the Treaty of any political and military meaning.
In 2020, the United States, in fact, signed death to another key confidence-building agreement in the Euro-Atlantic region by unilaterally withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty.
I want to emphasize that the dismantling of each of the mentioned instruments in the field of arms control was the result of targeted actions by the United States, which, in fact, did not leave a stone unturned from the existing architecture in this area.
Last December, we made the ultimate attempt to save the European security system, agonizing under blows from Western countries. Russia came up with a set of proposals to the US and NATO on confidence- and security-building measures in the Euro-Atlantic region. We proposed the United States to conclude an agreement on mutual legally binding security guarantees that would take into account the concerns of both sides in this area and would return the situation in relations between NATO and Russia to 1997, when the Russia-NATO Founding Act was signed. A similar agreement was sent to NATO. These are public documents, anyone can read them.
Our proposals were based on the principle of common and indivisible security. It implies that states should not strengthen their security at the expense of other states. It’s the basic principle of civilized international relations. It is written down in a number of basic OSCE documents, including the OSCE’s Istanbul Charter for European Security (1999), and reaffirmed in the Astana Declaration of the 2010 OSCE Summit, and forms the basis of the agreements between Russia and NATO. But our US colleagues did not want to reaffirm this principle, pointing to the "holliness" of the "open doors" policy for NATO.
Thus, US and NATO rejected all our proposals for security guarantees. They simply refused to hold substantial delibarations on this matter and, for the umpteenth time in history, preferred escalation to a diplomatic settlement. As a result, European region saw a crisis with global implications and, without exaggeration, historical consequences.
The reason why the collective West has been purposefully destroying the system of European security all these years is that the calibrated system of "checks and balances" designed to take into account our interests has ceased to meet its hegemonic aspirations. It was tempted to bend the world into submission and force the whole world to work and live according to the rules set by the Western countries. Collective security is incompatible with coercion and hegemony, the desire to undermine any alternative, sovereign paths of development, to keep countries and peoples in the grip of a colonial order. They use every trick in the book: rough interference in the internal affairs of states, coup d'état, threats, blackmail, economic coercion, inciting conflicts. And in recent years, there have also been dirty misinformation campaigns based on lies and the presumption of one's own guilt. Truth and facts in their world do not play any role, because the leading Western media and PR agencies are working to smear the opponent.
Just like Georgia in its time, Ukraine was sacrificed in the confrontation with Russia, where the West established an anti-people, anti-constitutional and Russophobic regime.
Today, by pumping Kyiv with heavy weapons, the United States and its allies are doing everything in theor power to protract the conflict in Ukraine, which began after the Maidan regime in 2014 attacked the people living in the South-East of the country with bombs and shells, relegating the Ukrainian people to the fate of "cannon fodder".
At the same time, contrary to their own declared values, Western countries cynically turn a blind eye to the spread of neo-Nazi ideology, massacres of the people in Donbas and violations of international humanitarian law by the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the national guards. In recent weeks, Western patrons of Ukraine have, in fact, helped Kyiv in its attempts of nuclear blackmail, ignoring the shelling of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. At a UN Security Council meeting convened by Russia last week on this issue, not a single Western delegation was determined to call a spade a spade and urge Kyiv to stop these dangerous actions that could lead to a radiation catastrophe on the European continent. We requested another urgent meeting in connection with the ongoing provocations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine against Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station.
The United States and its allies are acting in the same reckless and provocative manner in Asia and Africa. Recently, they have significantly intensified their destructive actions in the Asia-Pacific region. They are trying to impose “bloc” thinking on the states located in it, form aggressive military-political alliances such as AUKUS, “drive a wedge” between countries that have effective mechanisms for resolving contentious issues and problems, force them to abandon the concept of “Asian neutrality”, which helped them to protect their own interests during the Cold War. In the same vein, the United States adavance their risky campaigh in Taiwan. We see this carefully planned provocation as a clear sign of disrespect for the sovereignty of other countries and our international obligations. In general, we have to admit that the Asia-Pacific region is being used as a part of a purposeful, conscious US strategy to destabilize the situation in those regions of the world where states are pursuing an independent and self-sustained political course.
Currently New York is hosting the 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons with the goal to strengthen the international community’s determination to implementat of its provisions. But even there, Western countries are politicizing the work on the final document, putting their geopolitical interests in punishing Russia above their collective needs in strengthening global security.
Against the backdrop of the actual sabotage by the collective West of the global security architecture, Russia continues to do everything possible to keep at least its key, vital elements “afloat”.
Upon our initiative, in February 2021, the Russian-American Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty was extended for five years. We took the initiative to reaffirm the principle that a nuclear war has no winners and must never be started in the joint statement of the five nuclear powers, which was adopted on January 3 of this year. It also emphasized the need to prevent not only a nuclear clash, but also any military confrontation between nuclear powers. It is imperative that all signatories of the statement demonstrate their commitment to these provisions.
In principle, we remain open to cooperation to reduce tensions, stop the arms race and minimize strategic risks. However, this requires our Western colleagues to be interested in this as well. So far, we have not seen such interest on their part.
Reducing tension in the world, eliminating threats and risks in the military-political field is possible only through strengthening the multilateral system built on international law, the principles of the UN Charter and the sovereign equality of states. This is the only feasible and effective alternative to hegemony and the “right of the strong”. We are ready to actively participate in joint work, together with our like-minded parties, to build a truly democratic world in which the rights of all nations will be guaranteed, their security interests ensured, and cultural and civilizational diversity upheld. This is important to do despite the fierce resistance of the United States and its allies.
Today, before our very eyes, the contours of a new world order begin to shape. More and more countries are choosing the path of sovereign political, economic and civilizational development, rejecting recipes and patterns imposed by Western countries. The West is ready to do anything to preserve its hegemony. For the sake of this, Ukraine was sacrificed, turned into a training ground for a proxy war with Russia until the last Ukrainian. We hope that the actions of the West in this country have opened the eyes of many in the world to the true background of the crisis that erupted on our planet.
What is happening with Ukraine now, and in general the actions of NATO on the European continent over the past 30 years, is a lesson for the whole world. Do you think that in other regions the US and its allies will act differently? History shows the opposite. Therefore, do not ask for whom the bell tolls today - it tolls for you!