“To their detriment to disarm, no one will”
The Director of the Department of the Russian foreign Ministry about Russia’s refusal to join a Treaty banning nuclear weapons.
In new York city on Tuesday opened the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly. One of its key events will be the opening of 20 September to the signing of a Treaty banning nuclear weapons (the NPT by), approved by a majority of the members of the General Assembly in July. On why Russia is strongly opposed to this document, the Director of the Department for nonproliferation and arms control, the Russian foreign Ministry Mikhail Ulyanov told the correspondent of “Kommersant” Elena Chernenko.
— The whole idea of banning nuclear weapons does make sense and from a moral point of view is very attractive. Why Russia opposes this agreement?
— It is contrary to Russia’s national interests and our vision of how to move towards nuclear disarmament. We have always confirmed that we share the goal of creating a nuclear-free world, repeatedly joined politically binding declarations on this matter, but has repeatedly emphasized that a long-term goal, which should be phased, and that the work in this direction should be pursued in terms of strengthening strategic stability and given the national security interests of all countries, including of course Russia.
In fact, the question is how and when to get rid of nuclear arsenals, how and when to introduce a ban on nuclear weapons. Probably, at some stage, such a ban would be appropriate, but it will happen on one of the last stages of the nuclear disarmament process, to ensure the irreversibility of progress. Now to raise the question of the prohibition of nuclear weapons is clearly premature.
The initiators of the NPT by saying that the nuclear powers do little to disarmament. While article VI of the NPT (the Russian Federation member) obliges them to seek to reduce our nuclear stockpiles.
— The thesis that disarmament is not enough, absolutely false, at least in regard to Russia and the United States, our main partner in the process of reducing nuclear arsenals. In fact, in this area.
For 30 years since 1987, when the Agreement was signed on the elimination of intermediate and shorter-range missiles, Russia and the United States has reduced about 85% of their nuclear arsenals, that is, four times. In addition, in the unilateral presidential initiatives of the early 1990-ies, we have reduced by three-quarters of the stocks of non-strategic nuclear weapons. I will cite two figures. At the review conferences on the NPT for the nuclear powers usually report on progress on disarmament. So, at the review conference of 2010, we reported that Russia has 3.9 thousand operationally deployed nuclear warheads, and the next conference in 2015, announced that the number had dropped to 1582. That is, in just five years — two and a half times. Is it “very slowly” and “little”? It’s a huge work and considerable financial costs.
So when we say that we almost sabotage the implementation of article VI of the NPT, this is discouraging and appears to be at least dishonest and shameless. In terms of Russia obligations are met.
The reduction of nuclear arsenals does not occur in a vacuum but in the modern world, which is very far from perfect. It is becoming increasingly turbulent, conflictual and unpredictable. We therefore encourage you to approach the task of nuclear disarmament a more sober and realistic. Their detriment to disarm, no one will.
In the current environment to raise a question about the complete rejection of nuclear arsenals frivolous and even irresponsible. A nuclear weapon is objectively one of the staples of international security. Anyone not like it, but that is the reality. In the first half of the twentieth century experienced two world wars. Since 1945, no world war was not. All conflicts, even the most bloody, was still local, not planetary. I think it happens because of many factors, including the establishment of the UN, which, as if it is sometimes criticized, performs a vital function in the maintenance of international peace and security. But nuclear weapons, of course, was one of the factors which helped to avoid a new world war. And if overnight, this cementing force to pull out, to abandon nuclear weapons, I’m afraid that the whole structure of international security at least will suffer with unpredictable consequences.
— Some experts consider North Korea a nuclear power, since it has acquired such weapons. Russia is ready to go?
— No. The NPT clearly stipulates that nuclear powers are the only country that manufactured and exploded a nuclear weapon or other nuclear explosive device before 1 January 1967. Those five — Russia, USA, France, England and China. Expanding this list would be contrary to the NPT and would be fraught with serious undermining of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Many parties to the NPT and the countries of the five special status is recognized with difficulty, speaking of discrimination. If someone else will be made an exception, I’m afraid, the contract did not survive. So on the totality of the circumstances to recognize the DPRK nuclear power, we definitely will not.