Dhaka August 12 2022 :
Statement by the Deputy Head of the Delegation of the Russian Federation at the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Igor Vishnevetskii, Main Committee II, New York, 8 August 2022.
The effective functioning of the nuclear non-proliferation regime plays a key role in maintaining international peace and security.
One of the main elements of this regime is the IAEA safeguards system, which is important for maintaining the stability of the NPT and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. It is essential that the safeguards system enjoys the confidence of all States parties to the Treaty. To this end, it should be impartial, politically unbiased, technically reliable, and sound. Failure to comply with these criteria would seriously damage not only the Treaty verification regime but also the objectives of nuclear non-proliferation as a whole.
The safeguards system is designed to verify the non-proliferation commitments of the NPT States parties. Safeguards must be implemented with due respect for the sovereignty of states. Attempts to use safeguards to settle political scores and exert political pressure undermine the credibility of the safeguards system and have a negative impact on the NPT.
The Russian Federation supports the universalization of the Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreement. At the same time, we believe that the conclusion of the Additional Protocol should be carried out only on a voluntary basis.
Russia assists the IAEA Secretariat through financial and technical support by means of the national safeguards support program. Over four decades of its existence, extensive work has been carried out to reinforce the conceptual and technical framework of the Agency’s Department of Safeguards.
In particular, as part of this program, we interact with the IAEA by examining in Russian analytical laboratories environmental samples collected by the Agency during inspections. We place great emphasis on the training of inspectors, including in the conduct of inspections at uranium enrichment facilities. Russian institutions provide training in nuclear material accounting and control to the staff from IAEA Member States. We actively support IAEA efforts to develop innovative measurement technology necessary to more accurately monitor irradiated nuclear fuel, as well as to establish uniform, non-discriminatory approaches for safeguards implementation at decommissioning facilities. We implement joint projects to develop verification methods to be used at new types of facilities, such as mobile nuclear power plants with small modular reactors, and to study ways of taking potential safeguards implementation into account in nuclear facility design.
Challenges to nuclear non-proliferation must be addressed exclusively by political and diplomatic means on the basis of the NPT. In this regard, the early recovery and full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to resolve the Iranian nuclear program (JCPOA) is required. Together with the rest of the parties to the agreement, we are making determined efforts within the Vienna consultations and in other formats to bring the nuclear deal back to the initially agreed framework. During the time the nuclear deal was in force, Tehran never exceeded the established limits. For several years since the conclusion of the JCPOA, Iran has been the most verified state among the IAEA members. Strict adherence to the letter of the 2015 arrangements without any appendages or exemptions is the only right path. The JCPOA has no reasonable alternative. Its “relaunch” fully meets the interests of nuclear non-proliferation.
The Russian Federation takes an active part in finding a political and diplomatic settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. We follow closely the situation in this region. Everyone needs to show restraint in order to prevent an arms race there. We call on all parties concerned to honor their commitments to reduce military tension on the peninsula and normalize bilateral relations.
We believe that the process of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula should be phased and based on equality and mutual respect for interests. The negotiation process should find ways to address the legitimate concerns of all parties involved, including the provision of security guarantees.
If arrangements to dismantle the DPRK’s nuclear-military program are reached, the work should be carried out under the supervision of experts from nuclear-weapon states only. In our view, the IAEA’s role is to verify that nuclear material is not diverted to undeclared purposes once Pyongyang’s military nuclear infrastructure is eliminated.
NATO has openly declared itself a nuclear alliance. There are U.S. nuclear weapons on the territory of non-nuclear bloc allies. Its practical use is being exercised with the involvement of non-nuclear members of the bloc. Such actions, which are contrary to Articles I and II of the NPT, not only continue to be a significant negative factor for international and European security, but also increase the risk of nuclear conflict and generally hamper nuclear disarmament efforts. U.S. nuclear weapons must be withdrawn to the national territory, the infrastructure of their deployment in Europe must be eliminated, and the practice of NATO “joint nuclear missions” must be stopped.
We note that the AUKUS partnership provokes tensions in the sphere of international security, lays foundations for a new arms race in the Asia-Pacific region.
Nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZs) play an important role in ensuring the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Russia has ratified the protocols it has signed on negative security assurances to the NWFZ treaties and is strictly fulfilling its obligations. In total, Russia provides such guarantees to more than a hundred states. Our reservations to these protocols are clarifying in nature and do not affect the interests of states that faithfully abide by the “letter and spirit” of the NWFZ agreements.
We are open to joint consultations between the P-5 and the states parties to the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone with a view to signing the Protocol to the Bangkok Treaty as soon as possible. We are ready to sign such a Protocol at any time.
Russia is a consistent supporter of the establishment of a zone free of nuclear and other types of WMD (WMD-free zone) in the Middle East. We are convinced that its establishment will contribute to the stability of the Middle East region and the world as a whole.
As a co-sponsor of the 1995 resolution adopted at the NPT Review and Extension Conference, our country took specific practical steps to find a compromise between proponents of the zone and those skeptical about it.
A landmark event was the UN General Assembly’s decision in December 2018 to convene the Conference on the Establishment of a WMD-free zone, under which two sessions of this forum have already been held. Russia participated in them as an observer.
We appreciate the outcomes of these two sessions. We call on Israel, as well as the United States, which is a co-sponsor of the 1995 resolution, to join the process and participate in these sessions. We hope that the states of the region will, in the foreseeable future, be able to reach an agreement on the establishment of a WMD-free zone. For our part, we will provide all possible assistance.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) plays an important role in international efforts to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime. In fact, the Treaty should become a link between non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. The opening of the Treaty for signature in 1996 was a step comparable in scale to the conclusion of the NPT. Russia is fully committed to the CTBT. Since ratifying it in 2000 it has strictly fulfilled its obligations under this important treaty for the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Since the early 1990s our country has strictly observed a voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing.
We are consistently pursuing a policy of completing the construction of facilities for the Russian segment of the International Monitoring System within the CTBT. We are in the final stretch, as the total number of certified facilities has reached 30 of the 32 planned.
We are seriously concerned about the continued uncertainty surrounding the CTBT. Despite intensive international efforts, the Treaty has not yet entered into force. Eight Annex 2 states of the CTBT have not completed ratification procedures. The situation has been further complicated by the officially announced refusal of the United States to ratify the Treaty. We believe that Washington should reconsider its destructive approach to the CTBT. The pause with the entry into force of the Treaty has clearly been protracted.
Russia is in favor of negotiating a universal, non-discriminatory and effectively verifiable Treaty Banning the Production of Fissile Material for Nuclear Weapons or Other Nuclear Explosive Devices on the basis of the Shannon mandate of 1995 set out in document CD/1299 within the framework of the comprehensive and balanced program of work of the Conference on Disarmament. It is imperative that all countries with the potential to produce weapons-grade fissile material take part in them without exception.
As we see it, the main objective of a future FMCT is to provide a reliable guarantee against the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices on a global scale.
One of the challenges to international security remains the threat of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of non-state actors. In this context, we stand for the consistent implementation by all countries of Security Council resolution 1540, aimed at strengthening national legislation and enforcement mechanisms for the non-proliferation of WMD, their means of delivery and related materials. Russia takes an active part in the work of the UNSC Committee 1540, tasked with monitoring the implementation of the resolution and coordinating efforts to provide technical assistance to states that need it at their request.
The Zangger Committee (ZC) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) continue to play a prominent role in the context of Article III of the NPT. For decades, these multilateral export control regimes have been providing in practice the necessary conditions for the development of international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in a non-discriminatory manner while strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime. We look forward to strengthening these control mechanisms and expanding their membership.
We are convinced that only a systematic and balanced approach to nuclear non-proliferation and the strengthening of the NPT regime will eventually make it possible to achieve the vital goal of preventing the nuclear threat and making our world more stable and predictable.
Thank you, Madam Chairperson.
As a leading nuclear power, Russia has consistently advocated broad access to the benefits of peaceful nuclear energy for States parties to the NPT and the development of international cooperation in this area.
In 2020, the Russian nuclear industry celebrated its 75th anniversary, having reached high levels during these years. The share of nuclear generation in 2021 was about 20 percent of the total electricity generation in the country. An absolute record was set for electricity generation over the entire history of our nuclear power industry – over 222.4 billion kWh, which exceeded the 2020 figures of 215.7 billion kWh.
Currently, Russia has 37 nuclear power units with a total capacity of about 30 GW. In 2021 the sixth power unit of the Leningrad NPP with a VVER-1200 generation 3+ reactor, which meets all post-Fukushima requirements and has both active and passive safety systems, was commissioned.
Nuclear energy is a source of low-carbon electricity and is an essential tool for combating global climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions during the entire life cycle of NPPs are similar to those of hydro, wind and solar generation and are almost 70 times lower than the values for coal-using TPPs. The scale of the contribution made by nuclear power in the fight against climate change can hardly be overestimated. The existing nuclear power plants in the world provide savings in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the absorption capacity of all forests on the planet.
We have no doubt that modern nuclear energy is consistent with the principles of sustainable development and provides the economy with stable and clean energy. The highest safety standards enshrined, inter alia, in IAEA standards, ensure that no negative impact on human health and the environment is caused by nuclear facilities. We are already implementing specific projects to reduce emissions in various economic sectors using nuclear technology. The theme of the contribution made by nuclear energy to combat climate change was high on the agenda at the Glasgow Climate Conference in November 2021 and will be highlighted at the upcoming Sharm el-Sheikh Conference in Egypt in November 2022.
We believe that the future of nuclear energy is inextricably linked to a closed nuclear fuel cycle with “fast” reactor technologies being its integral part. This approach would expand the resource base and significantly reduce the accumulation of spent nuclear fuel waste, thereby achieving radiological equivalence to the natural uranium consumed by nuclear power.
Russia is the only country in the world that has accumulated significant experience in the commercial operation of fast neutron reactors with a focus on the development of closed fuel cycle technology. The first reactor became operative in the Soviet Union (Kazakh SSR) in 1973, the second in 1980, and the third in the Russian Federation in 2015. In February 2021, the core of the BN-800 fast reactor was one-third loaded with mixed plutonium-uranium fuel. The use of such fuel will be the first step in the transition to a two-component nuclear power system with a closed fuel cycle.
In June 2021, the construction of a nuclear power unit with the BREST-300 fast neutron reactor was launched in Siberia (Seversk, Tomsk Region). First time in the world practice, a nuclear power plant with fast neutron reactors and on-site closed nuclear fuel cycle facilities will be built on the same site.
Our country is continuing a program to manufacture nuclear icebreakers using the new generation of RITM-200 low-power reactors. The lead icebreaker in the Arktika class (two reactors with a capacity of 175 MW), completed its sea trials in 2020, having reached the North Pole. In January 2022, the first serial icebreaker, the Sibir, was put into service; the second icebreaker, the Ural, is due to be commissioned in the same year. Two more icebreakers of the same series are under construction. We have launched serial production of RITM-200 reactors, which are also planned to be used in the construction of onshore nuclear power plants.
Our other priority is the development of small-scale nuclear energy. The world’s only floating nuclear power plant with two low-power reactors is successfully operating in Chukotka. Four upgraded floating power units will also be built there. In Yakutia, a project is being implemented to build an onshore low-capacity nuclear power plant based on the RITM-200N reactor unit.
Russia remains the leader in the construction of nuclear power plants abroad. In these activities, we prioritize long-term and sustainable development objectives. In May 2021, the construction of unit 7 and unit 8 of the Tianwan NPP and unit 3 and unit 4 of the Xudapu NPP was launched in China. In June 2021, the construction of unit 5 and unit 6 of the Kudankulam NPP in India started. Also in early June 2021, the first unit of the Belarusian NPP was put into commercial operation, in December 2021 the physical launch at unit 2 was started. In July 2022, work began on pouring the “first concrete” into the foundation of the reactor building at the last unit 4 of the Akkuyu NPP in Turkey. The Akkuyu NPP is now officially the world’s largest nuclear construction project with the simultaneous construction of four power units. In 2022, the first concrete was poured into the foundation plate of unit 1 of the El Dabaa NPP in Egypt. In total, out of 15 power units, the construction of which began in the world in 2021–2022, 10 are of Russian design. We continue building an NPP in Bangladesh and are working on licensing the construction of an NPP in Hungary.
We assist states in the application of nuclear technologies for non-energy purposes, in particular in the construction of national centers of nuclear science and technology (CNST). Bolivia has completed construction and installation work on the facilities of the 1st and 2nd stages of such a Center (a pre-clinical cyclotron-radiopharmacological complex and a multipurpose irradiation center); the “first concrete” of the research reactor building has been poured. Cooperation in the construction of the CNST is also underway with Rwanda, Serbia, Vietnam and Zambia.
Nuclear technologies, being one of the most science-intensive and breakthrough technologies, cause qualitative changes in the curriculum of educational institutions, in the training of highly qualified nuclear professionals and in the retraining of personnel, taking into account the high requirements of the IAEA. In the academic year 2021–2022 more than 2000 foreign students in nuclear and related fields of study, recruited with the assistance of ROSATOM from 65 countries of the world, are enrolled in Russian universities.
We fully support IAEA efforts to promote the widespread use of nuclear energy for peace, health and prosperity throughout the world.
Our participation in IAEA activities is comprehensive and constantly expanding. Russia is contributing financially, as well as through specific technical work and intellectual resources. The figures speak for themselves: our annual support to the Agency is about 15 million EUR.
Russia supports the IAEA policy to strengthen the development of nuclear energy. The implementation of the 2017 initiative to develop the nuclear energy infrastructure of newcomer countries is one of the largest components of our interaction with the Agency aimed at achieving this goal. Another cycle of this work was completed in 2021. In 2017–2021, 50 training events were organized with over 700 foreign experts participating.
Russia is not only the initiator but also the leading sponsor of the IAEA International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO), which has become a fully operational mechanism and a center of excellence in the comprehensive analysis of nuclear power systems. This intellectual platform enhances understanding in member states of the technical innovations and institutional features that ensure the sustainability of nuclear energy systems. 43 countries are involved in the INPRO project.
Russia remains one of the leaders in joint work with the IAEA to develop the Concept of assured supplies and multilateral approaches to nuclear fuel cycle services. The concept contributes to the goals of developing and expanding the geography of peaceful uses of nuclear energy. At the same time, it strengthens the nuclear non-proliferation regime, the objective of the NPT. More specifically, the International Uranium Enrichment Center, established jointly with Kazakhstan, continues to operate in Russia.
We highly appreciate the work of the IAEA Secretariat to stimulate cooperation between States in the Department of Technical Cooperation and the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications. Russia is a donor of the Technical Cooperation Fund. Together with the IAEA, we are implementing a project to remediate uranium legacy sites.
Russia’s priorities include scientific research into and development of radiation technologies and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in medicine, agriculture, industry and other key economic sectors. In 2021, Russia made a supplementary contribution to the Agency’s ReNuAL+2 project to modernize its research laboratories in Seibersdorf (Austria).
In 2016, we joined the Agency’s Programme of Action for Cancer Treatment. Over the past five years, 22 training events organized by the Programme have been held in Russia, funded from Russian contributions and attended by more than 390 experts from 19 states members of the Agency. In 2019, it was decided to allocate about 900 thousand EUR in 2020–2023 to continue the Program.
We have been consistently strengthening our national capacity to ensure the safe use of nuclear energy in extensive collaboration with the IAEA. Russia is party to the Convention on Nuclear Safety, the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident and the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, as well as to the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency. In 2005 Russia acceded to the 1963 Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage.
The development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy is impossible without an adequate level of nuclear safety. The Russian Federation supports the strengthening of nuclear safety around the world, while respecting the fundamental principle, according to which states themselves should bear sole responsibility for ensuring nuclear safety on their territories and determine its optimal parameters at their discretion.
We support the universalization of key international legal instruments in this area, in particular the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the 2005 Amendment.
We are convinced that the IAEA should play a central role in international cooperation on physical nuclear security since it is the most representative and technically competent international organization in this field.
In the context of nuclear and physical nuclear security, we would like to draw attention to the emergency situation at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant. On 5–7 August, Ukraine committed several criminal acts in the form of artillery and rocket attacks on the Zaporozhye NPP. As a result, a fire broke out on the territory of the plant and the high-voltage power line and pipelines were damaged, which could lead to a large-scale disaster. This left more than 10 thousand people without electricity and water supply.
The Russian Federation has evidence confirming that the Kiev regime is the organizer and executor of these crimes. We are ready to share them with the international community. We call on the UN and relevant international organizations, as well as states that have influence over Kiev, to compel Ukraine to refrain from such criminal actions.
Nuclear technology is a reliable and proven tool for achieving the UN sustainable development goals. International cooperation is crucial to the success in achieving this goal and should be promoted and enhanced in every way possible. We intend to continue contributing to sustainable development and the geographic expansion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy while strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
On June 3, Russia and the IAEA Secretariat reached agreement on the itinerary and timetable for the visit by the Agency’s international mission to the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant. IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi planned to head the mission, which also included prominent experts from several countries.
Working closely with the Agency, we have succeeded in surmounting all the challenges related to preparing and holding this event considering the complexity of the current environment. However, the Department of Safety and Security within the UN Secretariat switched on the red light at the very last moment, and the Kiev authorities jumped on this opportunity by stepping up their provocations and shelling the nuclear power station.
We hope that in the current situation the UN Secretary-General awakes to the responsibility that rests upon him and refrains from creating obstacles for the IAEA mission through a department within the Secretariat which reports to him.
For our part, we stand ready to do everything we can to resolve any organisational matters that may arise.
With regard to another allegation against Russia, we would like to state the following. At the beginning of March, Russian troops entered the territory of the Zaporozhye NPP (ZNPP), as the plant happened to be in the territory under our control. It could not be left without an armed guard. Otherwise, there would be a threat of access to the site by non-state actors and the risk of leakage of radioactive materials. Non-proliferation assurances and normal functioning of the plant certainly had to be provided.
We have already said it before and we will say it again: Russia cooperates closely with the IAEA and is preparing a visit to the ZNPP together with the agency. The responsibility for the fact that this trip has not yet taken place lies solely with Kiev and those who support it. Therefore, we reject the cunning appeals to Russia to allow IAEA inspectors to enter the plant as untenable. These must be addressed not to us, but to the other parties on whom it depends.
There has been disturbing news in recent days. We have already informed the Conference that on 5 August the Ukrainian armed forces shelled the Zaporozhye NPP industrial site with large-caliber artillery. The shells fell in the area of the general plant facilities. A high-voltage power line was damaged. For this reason, it was decided to reduce the capacity of ZNPP units 5 and 6.
On 6 and 7 August, the Ukrainian armed forces shelled the ZNPP again. The territory of the plant was hit by shells of the Uragan multiple rocket launcher and again by large-caliber artillery. There was a dry storage facility for spent nuclear fuel near the impact zone.
Irresponsible actions of the Kiev regime could lead to a large-scale disaster at the ZNPP, with consequences not only for Ukraine but also for neighboring European countries. This must be stopped immediately. Russia has already called on international organizations, the UN and the IAEA to take the necessary steps, using their authority, to curb the insane actions of the Ukrainian authorities.
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi made a statement about this, expressing his deep concern about what is now happening around the ZNPP. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also spoke out in this regard, calling what is happening a suicide. But this is not enough. There must be tough demands to the Kiev authorities, directly to president Vladimir Zelensky, to stop attacking the largest operating nuclear facility in Europe.
We have photos and videos showing the consequences of these attacks on the ZNPP. Russia is ready to share them with all interested members of the international community and international organizations that can influence Ukraine and compel its leadership to stop, in fact, terrorist acts against the ZNPP.
The cynicism of Kiev’s statements, including those made by president Zelensky, that Russian troops allegedly hit the ZNPP, is striking. It seems that the common sense of the current Ukrainian leaders has completely gone. They are trying to convince that the Russian military is shelling itself because they are the ones guarding the plant right now. Furthermore, Kiev propagandists also claim that representatives of the Russian state corporation Rosatom are allegedly coordinating these shillings in order to cut off the ZNPP from the Ukrainian energy system.
These monstrous lies are eagerly picked up by the sponsors of the Kiev regime. In particular, as Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has stated, the EU condemns Russia’s military activity around the ZNPP, since it is allegedly another example of disregard for international norms. We hear such allegations from certain European states, namely – Poland, Germany, Sweden and others. The authorities of the Western countries continue to endanger their own citizens for the sake of endorsing the Ukrainian provocations.
The international community must speak in one voice in this situation. There can be no disagreement that weapons should never be used against large nuclear facilities such as nuclear power plants under any circumstances. This is a crime. And it must be prevented. We venture to hope that an understanding of the critical nature of the situation, and the real danger which it poses will prevail over political predilections.
The Russian Federation has asked to take the floor to exercise the right of reply to address repeated allegations about the situation at the Zaporozhye NPP.
The Kiev regime continues to threaten the security and safety of the Zaporozhye NPP, its infrastructure and personnel, creating the prerequisites for a large-scale technogenic catastrophe. We consider the actions of the Ukrainian side to be an act of nuclear terrorism. Only thanks to the skillful and prompt actions of the NPP employees, as well as the Russian forces providing comprehensive protection of the facility, a major disaster did not happen.
In the event of an accident at the ZNPP, the population of the Kiev, Zaporozhye, Kharkov, Poltava, Kherson, Odessa, Nikolaev, Kirovograd, Vinnitsa regions, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, the border regions of Russia and Belarus, and also of Moldova, Bulgaria and Romania, would be exposed to radiation (over 5,300 square km, the length is about 420 km). The situation may seriously worsen due to unfavorable weather conditions and the South Ukraine nuclear power plant and the nuclear fuel storage facility at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, as well as water arteries, entering the zone of possible contamination. The coasts of Abkhazia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania and Turkey also can be affected.
We are convinced that all of these actions by Kiev would not have been possible without the support of its Western curators. It is telling that Western governments continue to jeopardize the security of their citizens in order to encourage provocations from the Ukraine.
We note the statement of the UN Secretary-General on 8 August that “any attack on a nuclear power plant is suicidal”. He emphatically expressed the hope that these attacks will be stopped. In his turn, IAEA Director General emphasized his concern over the missile strike on the largest European nuclear power plant, pointing out the real risk of a nuclear catastrophe that could endanger people and the environment in Ukraine and beyond.
Once again, we call on the UN and the IAEA, as well as countries that have influence over the Kiev regime, to do everything possible to immediately stop the shelling of the ZNPP by the Ukrainian side before it leads to devastating consequences for all mankind.
On August 8, 2022, the Russian Federation officially notified the United States, through diplomatic channels, of its decision to temporarily exempt the inspection activities from the facilities subject to inspection under the Treaty. This exemption includes the appropriate facilities at which exhibitions may be conducted under the Treaty.
These actions are envisaged in item 5 of Section 1 of Part Five of the Protocol to the Treaty. They may be taken in exceptional cases, and for purposes not inconsistent with the Treaty. The Russian Federation is compelled to resort to this measure due to Washington’s stubborn striving to achieve, without prior arrangement, the resetting of inspection activities on conditions that do not take into account existing realities and are creating unilateral advantages for the United States, and are de facto depriving the Russian Federation of the right to conduct inspections on American territory.
Our goal is to bring an end to this unacceptable situation and ensure the functioning of all mechanisms in the Treaty in strict conformity with the principles of parity and equality of the parties, as was implied when it was agreed upon and entered into force. At present, these principles are not being observed. Thus, as a result of the US-inspired unilateral anti-Russia restrictions, normal airflights between Russia and the US have been suspended while the air space over US ally and partner countries is closed to Russian aircraft carrying Russian groups of inspectors to ports of entry on American territory. At the same time, there are no similar restrictions for US inspectors coming to Russia. The Foreign Ministry has raised this question before the countries concerned but has received no answer. Additional difficulties for Russian inspectors and Russian flight crews have been created – again as part of the Washington-inspired unilateral anti-Russia restrictions – through tougher visa requirements in transit countries along potential routes. American inspectors or flight crews are not encountering these difficulties. These and other issues known to the US, on which the parties exchange information via the appropriate channels, must be resolved. Without this, it would be premature to resume inspection activities under the Treaty, as the United States insists.
We hope to continue close cooperation with the American side. We have always advocated and continue to advocate a discussion on the resumption of inspection activities under the Treaty from a position of practical reality. This primarily includes the need to consider the epidemiological situation related to COVID-19 that remains complicated. At this time, there is no obvious indication of a decline in the scale of the coronavirus pandemic or a reduction in the related risks. We have noted the resumed growth rate of the incidence of the disease in the United States, where over 120,000 new COVID-19 cases and 300-400 deaths are recorded every day. In this context, Russia’s main priority is to maintain the health and safety of Russian inspectors and flight crews during any inspection on US territory. The same approach applies to American of inspectors on Russian Federation territory.
We believe that under the circumstances, the parties need to abandon any deliberate, counterproductive attempts to artificially expedite the resumption of inspection activities under the Treaty and focus on the thorough analysis of the problems in this area. The successful resolution of these problems would make it possible to return to the full application of the verification mechanisms under the Treaty.
We would like to emphasise that the measures we have adopted are temporary. Russia is fully committed to the observance of the provisions of the Treaty, something we consider to be a very important instrument in maintaining international security and stability. We highly value its unique role in ensuring the necessary transparency and predictability in relations between Russia and the United States in the critical area of nuclear missiles. After the problems related to the resumption of inspections under the Treaty are resolved, we will immediately cancel these exemptions to the inspections, and we will conduct these activities in full again. We believe that this would meet the interests of both Moscow and Washington. We expect the US to adopt a similar approach.
Russia has long been calling on the international community, in various contexts and at various levels, to strongly condemn the Kiev regime’s incessant military strikes against the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), while using increasingly destructive weapons systems. The power plant came under Ukrainian fire again on August 5 and 6. Thanks only to the skillful and prompt actions of the employees and of Russian forces, which ensure the comprehensive protection of the facility, was a major disaster avoided.
It is impossible to ignore the obvious: the situation is growing more dangerous by the hour. We regularly send updated information from the site to the IAEA, which is reflected in the Agency’s Information Circulars. These reports clearly expose the criminal actions of the Ukrainian armed forces, suggesting their command has finally lost any ability to think sensibly. Clearly, they have also lost their sense of basic self-preservation. After all, by aiming artillery at operating reactors and spent nuclear fuel storage facilities, the Ukrainians are targeting themselves.
Treacherous murders in dark alleys are tactics straight from the Bandera follower’s playbook, if not its centerpiece, and a popular approach during the Great Patriotic War. Only now, the people of Russia and Ukraine aren’t their only target. In fact, they have taken the whole of Europe hostage, and apparently, they don’t mind setting fire to it to glorify their Nazi idols.
We noted the UN Secretary-General’s statement of August 8 that “any attack to a nuclear plant is a suicidal thing.” He emphatically expressed the hope that those attacks would end. In turn, the IAEA Director General also emphasised his concern about a missile attack on Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, pointing out the real risk of a nuclear catastrophe that could endanger people and the environment in Ukraine and beyond. He condemned any acts of violence directed towards the plant or committed in its vicinity, as well as against its personnel.
There is no way the heads of international organisations can turn a blind eye to the atrocities committed by Kiev. The Ukrainian military’s actions must be sending chills down their spines. But one question remains: are these signals heard in Kiev, and is Vladimir Zelensky’s regime interpreting them correctly? Time after time, the leaders of the UN and the IAEA fail to find the courage to openly name the source of the threat, revealing an unwillingness to point to the officials in Kiev. As a result, it sounds like those rockets and shells are just raining down on the Zaporozhye NPP and its employees’ heads, on Energodar, the city located in the immediate vicinity of the plant, out of the blue – when they are flying in from the areas controlled by the Ukrainian armed forces. It is perfectly clear who directs the hand that aims the weapon and pulls the trigger.
Paraphrasing a popular aphorism, speech was given to diplomats – especially diplomats of such a high rank – not to conceal their thoughts in such a situation, but to express themselves as loudly and clearly as possible. We provided enough supporting information to prompt the UN Secretary-General and the IAEA Director General to openly and firmly point out to the Ukrainian authorities that hitting a nuclear power plant is unacceptable, forcing them to immediately stop attacking the plant and its employees, including their families and other residents in Energodar.
Sly reasoning and assessment, as well as diplomatic maneuvering that’s totally inappropriate here, citing some imaginary equidistance, causes serious harm. The threat has grown so high that it is impossible to remain an indifferent observer. It’s time Kiev is called to order, and it’s time the leaders of the UN and the IAEA take a strong stance and show they can influence the source of the threat directly.
We certainly feel encouraged by the statements the UN Secretary-General made to support the IAEA’s efforts to facilitate stabilisation at the plant and to ensure access to it. We hope the UN will now find no obstacle to organising an international IAEA mission to the plant, which unfortunately, has been the case in the past. In particular, the head of Russia’s National Defence Management Centre, Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev mentioned this on August 6. Had the Secretary-General’s reaction been distinct from the outset, the current complications could have been avoided. Seeing his indecisiveness or even weakness, the successors of Bandera and Shukhevich lurking in Kiev will raise their heads and desperately hit the power plant again and again with full disregard for the potential victims or consequences.
We note the IAEA Director General’s intention to go through with the planned visit to the plant. We consider it necessary to remind you again that just a few weeks ago, Russia did everything necessary for a successful visit. There can be no complaints against us in this regard. The fact that this international mission was never accomplished is entirely on Kiev, as Kiev is the only player that has a reason to keep the IAEA away from Zaporozhye. After all, once the international experts and IAEA officials see things with their own eyes, there will be no doubt about Kiev’s responsibility for the attacks or any other crimes committed against the plant and its personnel. We know that through a joint effort, we will be able to put an end to the dangerous rampancy unleashed by the Zelensky regime.
Today, on the 14th anniversary of the beginning of Georgia’s military aggression against the people of South Ossetia and the Russian peacekeepers of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces in the zone of the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict, we yet again pay the tribute to the memory of the victims of that treacherous attack and to the courage of those who sacrificed their lives to save the South Ossetian people from extirpation.
During the night of August 7-8, 2008, the Georgian armed forces, in violation of all international agreements on the settlement of the Georgia-South Ossetia conflict, launched a massive artillery attack on the sleeping Tskhinval and several other towns, after which the army units and the Georgian Interior Ministry special forces invaded the republic. At the same time, the positions of the Russian peacekeepers were stormed. The fact of Tbilisi’s uncalled-for aggression was also recorded in a report of the created under the auspices of the EU Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia, led by Heidi Tagliavini.
The criminal military adventure of Mikheil Saakashvili’s regime was not left unanswered: in the extreme circumstances, Russia successfully conducted a peace enforcement operation, and then recognised South Ossetia and also Abkhazia, which was facing the same fate, as sovereign and independent states and took them under its protection.
Another result of the Georgian aggression being repelled was the launch of a new negotiations track in Switzerland, the Geneva Discussions on Security and Stability in the South Caucasus. Their main task is to provide stable and reliable security for Abkhazia and South Ossetia by maintaining a direct dialogue between the two republics and the Georgian side. Due in a large part to this format, it has been possible to maintain an acceptable level of stability and security in the region.
However, this important dialogue platform has recently been overpowered by the politically motivated approach of certain players, guided by their egoistic interests. As the result, the Geneva format has been essentially frozen. For the past eight months, it has not been possible to hold the next, 56th round of the Geneva Discussions, which has been postponed twice this year. In addition, since the previous round in December 2021, we have not received any coherent explanations of the pause in the negotiation format. The current activity of its co-chairs is more like a simulation of an attempt to unblock the talks rather than a sincere desire to reach a real progress in this area.
The true underlying reason for the “games” around the Geneva Discussions is obvious to us: it is part of the revenge against Moscow by the collective West, aimed at isolating Russia for its special military operation in Ukraine. Thereby, the Geneva Discussions have become a hostage of geopolitics. We hope that our partners understand that by introducing illegitimate sanctions against Russia and other restrictive measures, the European Union (as a co-chair organisation), the US (a participant) and Switzerland (the hosting party) are creating additional serious challenges for the already difficult work within the Geneva Discussions and discrediting the format itself and the initial choice of the venue.
Having introduced transport and visa restrictions for the members of our delegation to put pressure on Russia, the Western partners have unilaterally changed the rules of the game and given considerable relevance to the question of whether the regular meetings should be moved from Geneva to a more acceptable and neutral place acceptable to all the participants.
In the meantime, the prospects for holding the postponed round of discussion are still dim. It is not our choice. All responsibility for the sabotage of the negotiation process and the repercussions of this lies with the initiators of these destructive actions and those pandering to them.
Bangladesh Beyond is an online version of Fortnightly Apon Bichitra
(Reg no: DA 1825)