Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly to commemorate and promote the International day for the total elimination of nuclear weapons

Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the High-level Plenary Meeting  of the General Assembly to commemorate and promote  the International day for the total elimination of nuclear weapons

Mr President,

We share the view that the use of nuclear weapons is the most serious threat that humankind faces nowadays. For many years Ukraine has been consistent in its call for the total elimination of nuclear weapons as a final purpose of nuclear disarmament and for strengthening the international nuclear non-proliferation regime as a tool to achieve this goal. We believe that it is essential to strengthen international cooperation in order to reinforce existing international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime.

Pursuing this goal my country has demonstrated a proactive approach by abandoning its nuclear capability and acceding to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in November 1994, as well as by taking concrete steps to eliminate the use of highly enriched uranium for civilian purposes through the removal of all of its existing stocks from its national territory in March 2012.

Being affected by the foreign military occupation of its territories, namely Crimea and certain areas of Donbas region, Ukraine continues to regard the NPT as a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and renders comprehensive support to its effective implementation, further strengthening and universalization. Ukraine consistently stands for reducing the nuclear arsenals, stopping the modernization of nuclear weapons, and overall decrease of nuclear weapons' role in military and strategic doctrines of the states.

However, we have to stress that historic decision of my country to renounce its nuclear weapons and to access the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon state was primarily based on the clear international security guarantees provided by the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances signed by Ukraine, the US, the UK and the Russian Federation.

The State-signatories to the Memorandum «reaffirmed their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations».

We deem necessary to re-emphasize that the aforementioned Memorandum was signed in connection with Ukraine’s commitments to eliminate all nuclear weapons from its territory within the specified period of time. As a result we gave up all our nuclear arsenals. And now in return our sovereignty and territorial integrity are explicitly violated by the Russian Federation, one of the Guarantor States under the Budapest Memorandum.

That is why a legally binding document on security assurances provided for the non-nuclear-weapon states is a vital for the new security architecture. We should use all existing institutional mechanisms to promote the consideration of this issue.

Mr President,

Ukraine supports 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. In this respect, Ukraine supported the Joint Ministerial Statement issued at the Eight CTBT Ministerial Meeting on 21 September 2016, as well as the UN SC resolution 2310 (1026) adopted 23 September 2016.

Announced by the DPRK the fifth nuclear test, followed its nuclear tests in 2006, 2009, 2013 and on 6 January 2016, proved the urgent necessity of entry into force of the CTBT and its universalization.

Mr President,

The establishment of the internationally recognized nuclear-weapon-free zones on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among the states of the region concerned enhances global and regional peace and security, strengthens the nuclear non-proliferation regime and contributes towards realizing the objectives of nuclear disarmament. The delegation of Ukraine underlines the importance of the establishment of zones free of all weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, where they do not exist, especially in regions of tension, such as in the Middle East.

Thank you.