Statement by Deputy Head of the Russian Delegation Mr. Konstantin Vorontsov at the Thematic Discussion on Regional Disarmament and Security in the First Committee of the 77th Session of the UNGA
In recent years, regional security in various parts of the world has been in upheaval. Tensions are rising, belligerent rhetoric is increasing, warmongers across the globe are becoming more active, protracted armed conflicts are heating up, and fresh hotspots are emerging. Military alliances are expanding and becoming more assertive. The fundamental principle of indivisibility of security is flagrantly violated.
The Russian Federation, therefore, would like to emphasize its firm conviction that the situation can be normalized and brought under control only if generally recognized norms of international law, the United Nations, its Charter, purposes and objectives are fully respected, agreements to renounce destabilizing military activity are reached, the regime of arms control and disarmament is maintained.
We have to admit that global the trends indicating a decline in military security are becoming more evident year by year in Europe. The reason is that the United States and its allies are pursuing overt confrontation with Russia, undermining the foundations of European security and disrupting a resilient and credible system of arms control and confidence-building measures.
We would like to reiterate that NATO member-states continue to build-up the military potential close to Russia's borders and enhance operational capabilities in terms of eastward redeployment of forces. In response to the alleged "Russian threat", the Baltic States and Poland are increasing their military strength and combat capabilities of multinational battalion tactical groups and brigade units in Romania. The U.S. armoured brigades and helicopter units were additionally redeployed to Europe. The overall stay of NATO warships in the Black Sea area has increased throughout a year.
Reconnaissance activity near our airspace by means of ship, aircraft and drones with multi-target tracking system belonging to NATO allies has intensified. We would like to stress that this activity has become increasingly provocative and dangerous. Specialized aircraft of NATO member-states regularly violate the airspace of the Russian Federation above the Black Sea. Allied combat aircraft reinforced patrols above the Baltic airspace. Modern coordination centres and new division headquarters for rapid deployment and use of allied troop contingents are positioned in Eastern Europe. In recent years, no less than 30 major military and command post exercises have been held very close to Russia's borders.
Aggressive policy pursued by the United States and its allies in post-Soviet countries, as well as their persistent backing of the neo-Nazi regime in Kiev which, with active foreign support, continues to kill the people of Donbass for 9 years now, has compelled us to take the most decisive measures. We have made every effort to find a diplomatic solution to this conflict for a long time, we hoped the West would stick to a prudent approach. Yet, it did the utmost to deepen the divides and trigger a military operation.
At the same time, the United States is pumping more weapons and intelligence into Ukraine. Their actions lead to protracted hostilities and new casualties, they also bring the whole situation to a dangerous prospect of direct military stand-off between Russia and NATO.
The United States and its allies promote militaristic aspirations and sentiments of revenge in Ukraine. Kiev openly declares its plans to restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine as of 1 December, 1991, by military means (a referendum day on the Act of Declaration of Independence), as well as to employ the U.S long-range missiles to strike Russia's territory. The political and military command of Ukraine, with U.S. encouragement, began to talk about the need to defeat Russia on the battlefield and, what is more, to dismember it and destroy.
Under such circumstances, we could not ignore the will of the population of Donbas territories and liberated territories of Ukraine, who will face reprisals if Kyiv militants return. The President of Russia made the only possible decision – to support the population of the DPR, the LPR, and the liberated territories of Ukraine in their desire to move out from under the authority of the neo-Nazi government in Kyiv. The corresponding plebiscites took place on September 23-27.
As long as NATO maintains its policy of Eastward expansion and containment of Russia, attempts to revitalize dialogue in any way are invariably bound to fail.
Hopefully, our Western colleagues will finally see reason and start to follow the principles of equality, mutual respect, and recognition of legitimate concerns and needs related to ensuring military security.
For a number of decades, the United States and its NATO allies have continued working on disrupting and dismantling key arms control and confidence-building agreements. In 2003, Washington unilaterally terminated the Soviet-American Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. In the early 2000s, Washington refused to ratify the Agreement on Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), thus undermining this pillar of pan-European security and military predictability.
In this context, subsequent calls to "increase transparency" through further modernization of the Vienna Document, which our Western colleagues have repeated for many years, seem at least insincere, if not blatantly timeserving. After that, Washington adopted a course towards the destruction of the Treaty on Open Skies (OS) that led to its unilateral withdrawal under the fabricated pretext of "multiple Russian violations".
The outcome of these destructive actions was rather sad – they upset the fragile balance of rights, obligations, and interests of States Parties to the Treaty, one of the key international treaties in the area of security, as well as predictability and transparency of military activities. For almost three decades, it served as an effective confidence-building measure, a powerful means of communication and outreach and a channel of friendly contact between military experts from Russia, European countries, the United States, and Canada. The above-mentioned steps taken by Washington ended up forcing us to denounce it. NATO also pointedly ignored Russian proposals on mutual security guarantees made in December 2021.
With the current deficit of trust and open hostility from Washington and collective Brussels, we cannot expect to make any progress in the assessment of the state of conventional arms control in Europe.
At the same time, under the current circumstances it is still necessary to focus on the faithful implementation of the existing agreements, including the above-mentioned 2011 Vienna Document. We believe that it would also be useful to continue the implementation of other confidence-building and military predictability instruments that had proven their effectiveness. They include voluntary briefings on upcoming military exercises and surprise inspections of troop readiness, the posting of detailed and exhaustive information on their conduct on official web-sites of defence agencies, and the invitation of military attaches of foreign States to corresponding public events as international observers.
We have repeatedly proposed to agree on de-escalation measures, including the reduction in military activities along the border of Russia and NATO countries on a reciprocal basis, the improvement of mechanisms for the prevention of incidents at sea and in the air, as well as dangerous military activities. We have also mentioned the need to extend the practice of concluding such bilateral agreements to all sea and land NATO member States. In light of the above, we are willing to maintain a pragmatic approach to the participation in the work within the OSCE Structured Dialogue.