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Arms control and WMD non-proliferation
31 January 2020 16:50

The first international document in the field of biological weapons prohibition was the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare of June 17, 1925, known as the Geneva Protocol of 1925. Still, regardless of the signing of this international act to prohibit only the use of biological agents in warfare, the world's leading states continued to research, produce and stockpile biological weapons, thus creating a constant threat of their use.

The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) of 1975 was the first international agreement to prohibit States Parties from developing, producing and stockpiling an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. The Convention is particularly important as it also obliged states to destroy or divert to peaceful purposes the stockpiles of these weapons.

The text of the Convention was approved by the UN General Assembly on December 16, 1971. The document was opened for signature on April 10, 1972, in London, Moscow and Washington, the capitals of the States Parties designated as depositaries. The BTWC entered into force on March 26, 1975, following its ratification by twenty-two states. As of now, the Biological Weapons Convention has 184 States Parties.

A landmark event was the decision of the Sixth Review Conference of the BTWC in 2006 to establish an Implementation Support Unit (ISU) to assist States Parties in implementing the provisions of the Convention.

The Ukrainian SSR was a co-author of the draft of the BTWC, signed it on April 10, 1972, and ratified it on February 21, 1975.

Ukraine, as a co-author and full member of  the BTWC, supports the comprehensive strengthening of the BTWC regime, in particular through further universalization of the Convention, improvement of the confidence-building mechanism, strengthening of monitoring and evaluation of the development of scientific research and biotechnology, expansion of international cooperation for the peaceful use of scientific and technological achievements, ensuring effective prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases, as well as prevention and response to the possible illegal use of biological warfare agents. In this regard, important areas include intensification of cooperation, exchange of experience and information in the field of biotechnology and biomedicine, as well as the introduction of educational programs on biosafety and bioethics.

Ukraine is interested in the comprehensive and effective development of the national biotechnology, medicine and agriculture, as well as in expanding economic, scientific and technical cooperation with the Convention's States Parties being recognized leaders in these areas.

Participation of the Ukrainian side in the annual meetings of experts and member states, as well as in the review conferences of the Convention, enables us to duly protect and promote national interests and priorities in the areas of biosafety and biosecurity of our country.

Ukraine's cooperation with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (hereinafter - the Convention) was adopted on September 3, 1992, at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. On January 13, 1993, the Convention was opened for signature in Paris and entered into force on April 29, 1997.

The Convention is the first multilateral disarmament treaty to provide for the elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction under global international control.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), headquartered in The Hague (Netherlands), is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Convention. Ukraine signed the Convention on January 13, 1993, and ratified it on October 16, 1998. The Convention entered into force for Ukraine on November 15, 1998. Ukraine strictly complies with its obligations under the Convention and has never possessed or intended to develop, stockpile or use chemical weapons. Ensuring the implementation of the Convention is one of the most important aspects of our state's policy in the fields of disarmament, arms control and confidence-building. This issue is under constant control of the President and the Government of Ukraine.

Presidential Decree No. 673 of November 15, 2012, approved the Action Plan for 2012-2021 to implement the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (hereinafter - the Plan). The provisions of this document define: a set of measures necessary for the effective implementation of the Convention at the national level; a list of institutions to be involved within their competence in the implementation of specific items of the Plan, their areas of responsibility; mechanisms of interagency cooperation; sources and amounts of funding. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine is responsible for overall control over the implementation of the Plan.

According to the Decree of the President of Ukraine dated 26.08.1999 No. 1080/99, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine was designated as the National Authority of Ukraine for the implementation of the Convention (hereinafter - the National Authority), which is responsible for organizing systematic interagency coordination of a wide range of practical measures approved by the Action Plan for 2012-2021.

The provisions of the Plan cover the following directions: preparation of national declarations; ensuring the OPCW inspection activities; control over international transfers, use and transportation of chemicals subject to control under the Convention; training of personnel necessary to ensure the fulfillment of Ukraine's obligations under the Convention; establishment of the State Analytical Laboratory; protection of restricted information transmitted within the framework of fulfillment of Ukraine's obligations under the Convention and international cooperation.

On October 21, 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued Order No. 352 "On Amendments to Appendix 1 to the Instruction on the Procedure for Preparing Information in accordance with the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction," registered in the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine on November 7 2022 under No. 1377/38713.

Order No. 352 was adopted to implement the Decisions of the 24 - th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention dated November 27, 2019 C-24/DEC.4 "Technical amendments to List 1(A) of the Chemicals Annex of the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons" and C-24 /DEC.5 "Amendments to List 1 of the Annex on Chemicals of the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons" and with its adoption, the list of chemical toxic agents subject to declaration under the Convention is updated.

On April 18, 2023, Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine «On Amendments to the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine dated February 7, 2001 No. 109» was adopted pursuant to the  clause 2.6.2 of the Decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine dated March 19, 2021 "On measures to increase the level of chemical safety in the territory of Ukraine", put into effect by the Order of the President of Ukraine No. 104/2021 dated March 19, 2021. Draft of this Decree was submitted by the MFA of Ukraine.

Adoption of this regulatory act provides a clear division of responsibilities of the state authorities of Ukraine in the preparation of national declarations regarding the activities of the chemical industry of Ukraine, which are submitted to the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW (TS OPCW).

With the beginning of the full-scale aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, the TS OPCW takes an active part in preventing the possible use of chemical weapons during hostilities on the territory of Ukraine and preparing the civil defense services to eliminate the consequences of the eventual use of toxic chemicals during the war.

In accordance with Article X of the CWC, the OPCW provided technical and advisory assistance to Ukraine's requests. Courses on improving the potential of Ukrainian specialists were held with the aim of strengthening their ability to respond to threats of the use of chemical weapons and attacks on chemical industry facilities. TS OPCW participates in providing Ukrainian emergency services with the necessary equipment for the detection of chemical substances, conducts trainings and advanced training courses on the use of this equipment. The trust fund for the implementation of Article X of the CWC, to which the participating states have recently made contributions, has been used and will be used to finance expenses for the needs of the Ukrainian side.

Ukraine has been a member of the OPCW Executive Council from the Eastern European Regional Group five times (in 1999-2001, 2004-2006, 2009-2011, 2012-2014, 2018-2020). This executive body of the OPCW consists of 41 countries out of 196 member states of the Organization, which are elected by the Conference of the States Parties to the Convention for a two-year term.

Ukraine's participation in the International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons

The Partnership was established on January 23, 2018 in Paris (France) during the Conference of Foreign Ministers. As of today, the EU and 40 states, including Ukraine, participate in the Partnership.

The purpose of the Partnership is to supplement international mechanisms to combat against the proliferation of chemical weapons. The Partnership aims to ensure the collection, systematization and storing of all available information on persons responsible for the use of chemical weapons; to assist states in strengthening their capacity to introduce mechanisms for collecting information or implementing national legislation on the prosecution of persons responsible for the use of chemical weapons.

The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Ottawa Convention) was opened for signature on December 3, 1997 and entered into force on March 1, 1999. Ukraine signed the Convention on February 24, 1999 and ratified it on May 18, 2005.

The main purpose of the Ottawa Convention is to eliminate stockpiles of anti-personnel mines (Article 4) and to ensure the clearance of areas mined with these weapons (Article 5). Therefore, one of the priority tasks for Ukraine in the context of implementing this international instrument is to implement a wide range of measures on demining the territory of our country from anti-personnel mines and eliminate them.

The Review Conferences of the Convention are convened once every five years to consider the implementation and scope of the Convention. In addition, meetings of States Parties to the Convention and meetings of experts are held annually.

In November 2019, during the Fourth Review Conference of the Ottawa Convention, the Oslo Action Plan for 2020-2024 was approved, replacing the Maputo Action Plan, which was in force during 2014-2019. The document will serve as a roadmap for the implementation of the Ottawa Convention for the next 5 years. The event also resulted in the adoption of the political Oslo Declaration, in which the States Parties to the Ottawa Convention declared their intention to strengthen efforts to achieve the common goal of building a world free of anti-personnel mines.

Given the aggression of the Russian Federation, the key thematic components of the Ottawa Convention are particularly relevant for Ukraine. It is a priority to use the meetings in the framework of the Ottawa Convention for  the condemnation by the parties to this international legal document of the numerous facts of the use of anti-personnel mines (APM) against military personnel and the civilian population of Ukraine by the Russian Federation; clarification of the reasons due to which our state was forced to temporarily suspend the process of liquidation of its APM stockpiles; the need to significantly increase international assistance for the purpose of humanitarian demining of the territories of Ukraine freed from occupation.

The Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which may be deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW) is one of the most important instruments in the field of international humanitarian law regulating methods and means of warfare.

The CWC was adopted at the UN Conference held in Geneva in September 1979 and September-October 1980. Ukraine ratified the international instrument on June 23, 1982.

The main purpose of the Convention is to protect civilians and combatants from excessive injury or unjustified suffering from the use of specific types of conventional weapons.

Due to the need to implement further prohibitions and restrictions on the use of specific types of conventional weapons, in October 1980, Additional Protocol I to the Convention - "On Undetectable Fragments", Protocol II - "On Mines, Booby Traps and Other Explosive Devices" and Protocol III - "On Incendiary Weapons" were approved.

The First Review Conference of the States Parties to the CCW adopted an additional Protocol IV on Blinding Laser Weapons (October 13, 1995). This protocol is considered as a preventive measure against the threat of the use of laser technology as a weapon to directly affect the personnel of armed forces. Protocol IV entered into force on July 30, 1998.

In November 2003, during the annual meeting of the CCW States Parties, Protocol V "On Explosive Ordnance - Consequences of War" was approved and entered into force on November 12, 2006.

The Review Conferences of the Convention are convened once every five years to review the implementation and scope of the Convention and its Protocols. In addition, meetings of the countries parties to the Convention and its Protocols, as well as meetings of experts, are held annually.

Ukraine's participation in the above-mentioned events allows us to protect and promote the national interests and priorities of our state in the field of combating explosive remnants of war.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an international intergovernmental scientific and technical organization with 171 member states. The IAEA is an international inspection body to verify the non-diversion of nuclear materials, equipment and technologies from authorized peaceful activities to military use, using its own safeguards system. The IAEA also sets nuclear safety and security standards, provides technical assistance to member states, and encourages the exchange of scientific and technical information in the field of nuclear energy.

Ukraine has been a member of the IAEA since the establishment of this international organization. The Ukrainian side takes an active part in the work of the IAEA. The Ministry of Energy, the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate and the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management are designated as the competent executive authorities of Ukraine responsible for cooperation with the Agency.

On September 21, 1995, Ukraine signed and ratified the Agreement with the IAEA on the Application of Safeguards in Connection with the NPT on January 22, 1998. On August 15, 2000, Ukraine signed and ratified the Additional Protocol to this Agreement on January 24, 2006. These documents are the legal and technical basis for cooperation with the Agency.

Ukraine is a party to important IAEA documents, in particular: Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the Agency, Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Damage Resulting from a Nuclear Accident, Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (Ukraine has also ratified the Amendment to it), Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear or Radiological Accident, Convention on Nuclear Safety, the Joint Protocol for the Application of the Vienna Convention, the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste Management, the Protocol amending the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Damage resulting from a Nuclear Accident, the Revised Additional Agreement on the Provision of Technical Assistance to the IAEA, and the Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

The main directions of cooperation between Ukraine and the IAEA are the following:

- use of the Agency's technical assistance (since 1990, Ukraine has received about 16 million US dollars) to overcome the consequences of the Chornobyl disaster (technological aspects) by implementing national and regional projects on decommissioning of Chornobyl NPP units, spent fuel management at the plant and radiological support for the restoration of the affected areas

- improvement of the nuclear and radiation safety infrastructure in Ukraine and relevant national standards, improvement of environmental radiation monitoring;

- NPP life cycle management and lifetime extension;

- safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste at nuclear facilities;

- development of regulatory infrastructure in the field of nuclear safety;

- modernization of radiation therapy services;

- knowledge management in the nuclear industry;

- participation in the International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO).

In September 2014, Ukraine received an official notification from the IAEA Secretariat that its actions are guided by the IAEA Statute and international law on the issue of territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders. Taking note of the IAEA's mandate covering strictly technical issues related to safeguards for the safety of nuclear facilities and materials, the IAEA's position is that the Agency continues to apply safeguards to nuclear material and facilities located in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol in accordance with the Agreement between Ukraine and the IAEA on the Application of Safeguards in Connection with the NPT and its Additional Protocol.

Ukraine actively uses the IAEA platform to inform the international community about the threats to the international non-proliferation regime from a nuclear weapon state as a result of the ongoing occupation of the peninsula and militarization of this territory, including the use of nuclear weapons delivery vehicles. In 2015-2019, the adoption of the IAEA Report was ensured in the wording acceptable to Ukraine, which approved the Agency's position on the extension of Ukraine's jurisdiction over all nuclear facilities and materials located on the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, including the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. In April 2021, IAEA Director General R. M. Grossi, during meetings with President of Ukraine V. Zelensky, Prime Minister of Ukraine D. Shmyhal and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine D. Kuleba, reaffirmed that the Agency does not recognize the illegal occupation of Ukrainian territories by the Russian Federation and its sovereignty over them.

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion in February 2022, Ukrainian diplomacy has been making increased efforts to fully implement the IAEA's tools in responding to unprecedented nuclear risks and threats caused by the aggressor's actions, including seizure and missile attacks on civilian nuclear facilities, damage to their critical infrastructure, and crimes against nuclear power facilities personnel.

On the initiative of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba, a permanent mission of IAEA experts was deployed to the temporarily occupied Zaporizhzhya NPP in September 2022. Since January 2023, the Agency's permanent presence has been ensured at all Ukrainian NPPs.

Within the Agency's Response and Assistance Network (RANET), Ukraine receives equipment and personal protective equipment required to ensure nuclear safety, physical protection and emergency preparedness in war conditions. The IAEA approved the technical cooperation project "Improving the Efficiency of Radiation Therapy and Medical Visualization in Ukraine" with a total funding of almost 20 million EUR.

Immediately after the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation and the seizure of the Chornobyl NPP, an extraordinary meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors (hereinafter - the Board) was held, which led to the adoption of the first resolution on the issue of "The safety, security and safeguards implications of the situation in Ukraine" GOV/2022/17, which condemned "the violent actions of the Russian Federation against a number of nuclear facilities, nuclear and radioactive material" in Ukraine. Since then, the Ukrainian issue has been on the agenda of regular meetings of the Board of Governors and has been focused on at the IAEA General Conference. Thus, on 15 September 2022, the second thematic resolution GOV/2022/58 was adopted, which, in addition to condemning the illegal actions of the Russian Federation against nuclear facilities in Ukraine, demanded the liberation of the Zaporizhzhya NPP and the restoration of Ukraine's control over the plant.

The third thematic resolution GOV/2022/71 on the Ukrainian issue was adopted following the meeting of the Board of Governors held on 16-18 November 2022 in Vienna. The adopted resolution recognises the situation at ZNPP as "dangerous, precarious and challenging", points to " constant stress and pressure" on Ukrainian personnel due to Russia's attempts to establish control over the facility, records repeated off-site power outages due to attacks and military operations after Russia seized the plant, and confirms the groundlessness of Russia's accusations of Ukraine's alleged production of a "dirty bomb".

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is a multilateral international act developed by the UN Disarmament Committee to prevent the expansion of the number of states possessing nuclear weapons, to ensure the necessary international control over the fulfilment by states of their obligations under the Treaty to limit the possibility of armed conflict involving such weapons, and to provide broad opportunities for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The Treaty was approved by the UN General Assembly on 12 June 1968 and opened for signature on 1 July 1968 in Moscow, Washington and London.

Ukraine acceded to the NPT with reservations by adopting the relevant Law of Ukraine No. 248/94-ВР "On Ukraine's Accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1 July 1968" dated 16 November 1994 ("Vidomosti Verkhovnoi Rady Ukrainy" (VVR), 1994, N 47, p. 421). The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons entered into force for Ukraine on 5 December 1994.

Although the Treaty was initially intended to be in force for 25 years, on 11 May 1995, more than 170 States Parties agreed to extend the Treaty indefinitely without any additional conditions.

As of today, almost all independent states of the world (189 countries) are parties to the Treaty. Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea (DPRK) are not parties to the Treaty. The latter three countries conduct open tests and declare that they have nuclear weapons (North Korea initially joined the Treaty, but violated it and terminated it in 2003).

The NPT consists of a preamble and eleven articles. Although it does not mention the concept of "core principles", the Treaty is occasionally interpreted as a system of three principles with a hidden balance:

1. Non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

2. Disarmament.

3. The right to peaceful use of nuclear technology.

The Treaty is reviewed every 5 years at meetings known as the Review Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Furthermore, in the years between these conferences, the Preparatory Committee holds sessions. The last 10th Review Conference was held on 1-26 August 2022 in New York.

Ukraine's participation in the above-mentioned events enables us to demonstrate to the international community the unprecedented nuclear risks and threats caused by Russia's genocidal war against Ukraine.

The aggressor state has already provoked a dangerous imbalance and undermined the existing nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation architecture. Due to Russia's destructive efforts, the 10th NPT Review Conference failed to adopt a final document; the work of the Conference on Disarmament remains blocked.

The decision of the Russian Federation to suspend its participation in the New START Treaty has once again proved the aggressor's clear intention to destroy international peace and security.

Russia's recent statements about its intentions to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus are another provocative step by the criminal Putin regime, undermining the principles of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the nuclear weapons architecture and the international security system as a whole.

Russia once again confirms its permanent inability to be a responsible steward of nuclear weapons as a means of deterring and preventing war, rather than an instrument of threats and intimidation.

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