Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

6, Kyiv 06:17

Statement of H.E.Mr. Pavlo Klimkin, Ukraine's Foreign Minister, at the United Nations NPT Review Conference

29 April 2015, 20:52

Mr. President,

Excellencies,

Distinguished delegates

On behalf of the delegation of Ukraine allow me to congratulate you, Mr. President on your election.

Mr. President,

Ukraine has always been the country with an exceptional role within the Non-proliferation Treaty.

We started from voluntary refusal from the nuclear weapons in 1994. We passed through gradual elimination of nuclear arsenal inherited from the Soviet Union during all the following years. Finally we have eliminated highly enriched uranium by 2012. With this background Ukraine should have become the model state of the NPT regime.

Ukraine's nuclear-free success story could become an example to follow. This success could contribute greatly into strengthening of the NPT regime.

But all those efforts were brought to naught by the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Mr. President,

Five years ago the NPT community, including my country acknowledged that the risks of nuclear proliferation still existed posing threat to global peace and security.

Since that time the issue of the NPT efficacy and integrity became much more complicated and even dramatic. We are on the edge of nuclear proliferation. 

A year and a while ago, we were preparing to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Budapest Memorandum on security assurances given to Ukraine that joined the NPT as a non-nuclear state.

We were going to send out a message to all the WMD aspiring nations that there is another option embodied in sovereign, democratic and prosperous Ukraine integrated in the European and Euro-Atlantic structures and living in peace with its neighbors.

That positive picture, that message and our vision of global security have been crushed almost overnight by the Russian aggression against Ukraine and its occupation of the Crimea.

     The Budapest Memorandum has been blatantly discarded by the country which pledged to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine.

Today we witness the situation when Russia undermines the NPT regime not only by violating the Budapest Memorandum but also by violating key principles of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Treaty clearly quotes in its Preamble the UN Charter by saying that “States must refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner”.

Occupation of the part of Ukrainian territory and a de facto military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine create situation when some states can consider international legal instruments as insufficient to ensure territorial integrity and inviolability of state borders.

It is a tremendous challenge to the international nuclear security system based on the NPT, P5 within the UN and the IAEA.

Mr. President,

Even in the current situation, I would like to draw your attention to the unique example my country has been showing today by remaining committed to the provisions of the NPT.

It is not a surprise that today there are already some political voices in Ukraine calling to resume production of nuclear weapons as the only means to protect ourselves from any outside aggression. But from the Ukrainian government’s standpoint, this option is not on the table.

Hereby we confirm that Ukraine considers the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime and an essential basis for achieving the objectives of nuclear disarmament.

In this context we commend the efforts of states that have reaffirmed their guarantees for territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine within the internationally recognized borders and appraise their support and engagement for these commitments to be further fulfilled.

But we obviously need more from the side of international community to survive! We call on all responsible international actors to assist Ukraine in withstanding the Russian aggression and to increase your pressure on Russia to stop this aggression.

We call to do so for the sake of  peace and security. Because if Ukraine falls under the pressure of the aggressor – it would automatically mean that the NPT does not work, that the guarantees made by the nuclear states to non-nuclear ones are not worth a cent.

Mr. President,

Less than in a year, Russia has turned the Crimea from flourishing sea resort into the modern military base ready for the deployment of nuclear weapons.

Taking into consideration strategic location of the Crimea in the region, we cannot exclude the deployment of nuclear forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Autonomous Republic of Crimea. It constitutes a serious challenge to the existing non-proliferation regime and must be tackled by the international community immediately.

I would specially like to express Ukraine’s concern about unilateral actions of the Russian Federation to denounce the Agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on status and conditions of deployment of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine of May 28, 1997.

Under provisions of the Article 5 of the Agreement «the Russian Federation is obliged not to have nuclear weapons in formation of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation, which is stationed on the territory of Ukraine».

Statements of Russian officials on their right to deploy nuclear weapons in the Crimea are more than worrying. Implementation of these aggressive plans would directly infringe the non-nuclear status of Ukraine. Furthermore, it would indicate ongoing violations of Russia’s obligations as the IAEA member.

Distinguished delegates, 

This Review Conference is overshadowed by a huge breach in the world security system including nuclear security. In this regard I would like to specially underline the importance of the IAEA compliance and the threat of nuclear terrorism.

The violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity by Russia impedes the implementation of the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards. Russia seized Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, installations and materials located on the temporarily occupied Ukraine’s Crimea, in particular the Sevastopol National University of Nuclear Energy and Industry, in contradiction to the Agency Statute.

Russian-backed militants and Russian regular troops made life of industrial Donbas region of Ukraine a nightmare. Since Minsk agreement was reached we witness constant violations of the ceasefire by the Russian-backed militants in the East of Ukraine. In such situation Ukraine is deeply concerned over the nuclear safety of the facilities located in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.

In this respect, we are looking forward to prompt restoration of Ukrainian control in these regions in accordance with Minsk agreements.

We urge the international community and key regional actors to facilitate the swift fulfillment of this goal – vitally important for the maintenance and effectiveness of the international nuclear security and safety regimes, including the implementation of the Agency safeguards.

Let me reiterate that all aforementioned nuclear facilities are the property of Ukraine and their legal status, operating procedures and exploitation rules are regulated in strict conformity with the legislation of Ukraine. 

Notwithstanding these challenges Ukraine remains fully committed to the principles of the Agency, our bilateral agreement and Additional protocol thereto.  

Ukraine continues to support the development of the IAEA safeguards system and calls on all NPT Parties that have not yet done so, to conclude and strictly implement comprehensive safeguards agreements with the IAEA and to conclude and put into effect Additional Protocols.

Mr. President,

Nuclear terrorism remains among one of the most threatening challenges for all of us. Since 2007 Ukraine is a member of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT). The Initiative was launched by the United States and Russia with the aim to promote policies, procedures, and interoperability of partner nations in the sphere of combating the nuclear terrorism as well as the smuggling of the nuclear materials.

  Understanding the importance to resist the nuclear terrorism, Ukraine confirms its readiness to further continue the development of the cooperation in the framework of the GICNT and to increase the countermeasures against the nuclear terrorism as well as on the global level, as on the regional.

Mr. President,

Emphasizing the importance of the implementation of the 2010 NPT RevCom decisions, Ukraine would also like to render its support to the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

In this context we also encourage the universalization of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty’s (CTBT) with a view that its entry into force will constitute a tangible stride in attaining the noble objective of a safe and peaceful world free of nuclear weapons.

We also continue to insist that negotiating and concluding the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) will be essential both to constrain nuclear proliferation and to advance the goal of nuclear disarmament.

Mr. President,

This year the international community commemorates 70th anniversary of the end of the World War II and prays for the souls of victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings.

The humankind will never forget the horrific aftermath of a nuclear blast.  We owe this remembrance to the innocent victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We owe them a peaceful future where such inhumane orders and similar tragedies will be never repeated.

Retrospective analysis of history allows us to deeply understand the consequences of events that are taking place today and make necessary joint decision to prevent and neutralize possible threats.

Possibly, the World War III will not erupt tomorrow, but Who can be sure what deadly weapons will be used. It is our utmost responsibility to handle with care nuclear arsenals and be accountable for them. We must do our best to strangle any signs of aggressive behavior of the NPT members similar to those performed before the World War II started.

In this regard I would like to draw your attention that Ukraine for more than a year suffers from aggression by nuclear state Russia. I would also like to use this forum to invoke Russia to stop aggression and liberate Ukrainian territories, illegally occupied throughout 2014.

Mr.President

We must admit that the total elimination of nuclear weapons cannot be achieved in a short period of time. From this perspective we supported the adoption of the UNGA resolution on establishment of the Open-ended working group to develop proposals to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations.

Ukraine has consistently supported discussions on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons held in Oslo in 2013, Nayarit and Vienna in 2014 which demonstrated the need to exert all efforts for these weapons never be used again.

At the same time Ukraine stands for the necessity to jointly find the way to overcome the humanitarian impact of nuclear blackmail which is taking place in the UN format. Russia is constantly using its veto rights as the nuclear weapon state in the UN Security Council against Ukraine.

Such policy had direct humanitarian consequences and brought hundreds of deaths not only to Ukrainians but also to Russian soldiers send to perform fratricide in the East of Ukraine. 

Mr. President,

The issue of the negative security assurances is one of the veritable priorities of the international disarmament agenda and is widely supported by the vast majority of members.

Despite the fact that Budapest Memorandum has no Treaty status, 21 years ago it became an important political instrument, which consolidated unprecedented case of achieving guarantees in exchange of nuclear weapons elimination. No doubt that this political decision should receive additional legal confirmation.

Taking it under consideration, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry launched in 2009 the bilateral consultations with the P5 states to obtain more considerable guarantees for our national security. Following this request in December 2009 USA and Russia in a joint statement reaffirmed guarantees fixed in a Budapest Memorandum.  UK made its statement on this matter in January 2010 China reaffirmed its commitment to the Memorandum's provisions in May 2010. These additional political confirmations did not work. 

That is why a legally binding document on security assurances provided for the non-nuclear-weapon states is a must for the new security architecture to be created during next NPT review cycle.

UN Member States should use all existing institutional mechanisms, including the Conference on Disarmament, to promote the consideration of this issue.

During the NPT Review Conference of 2010 Ukraine co-sponsored the document aimed at strengthening the Treaty by the elaboration of the modalities by which states can implement article X of the NPT.

In 2015 adoption of such document will be irrelevant. At present the NPT regime should be reinforced primarily by securing its compliance. Ukraine welcomes all efforts aimed at bringing Russia back to the legal framework within the UN Charter, IAEA Statute, NPT and other related documents such as Budapest memorandum. 

Mr. President,

Despite gross violations of the international law by one of the P5 states, we still have a chance to preserve international nuclear security system.

International community must recognize that Ukraine is the starting point indicating whether NPT regime is or is not capable to stop proliferation of nuclear weapons. Until territorial integrity of Ukraine is restored and the Crimea is liberated we cannot discuss “business as usual” within the NPT.

We strongly believe that those challenges should find their rightful reflection in the final document of this Conference wherein the UN General Assembly Resolution “Territorial Integrity of Ukraine” is fully considered.

Thank you.

Author: Pavlo Klimkin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

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