Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the 2018 Substantive Session of the UN Disarmament Commission

Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the 2018 Substantive Session of the UN Disarmament Commission

Madam Chair,

Allow me to congratulate you on your election to chair this session.

We certainly appreciate our leadership given the universally recognized high standing of your country, Australia, on the issues of disarmament.

We believe that the UN Disarmament Commission, with its universal membership, continues to play an important role in the overall UN disarmament machinery, through its deliberations on specific thematic issues and submission of respective recommendations to the General Assembly.

We welcome the successful adoption by consensus in 2017 of recommendations on practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional weapons for the first time since 1999. Ukraine looks forward to continued discussion on recommendations for achieving the objective of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Madam Chair,

Ukraine reiterates its support of multilateral approach to the disarmament and international security agenda. While recognizing the difficulties in the implementation of existing international treaties and in bringing new ones into force, we reaffirm our commitment to maintaining and strengthening the current disarmament machinery and international cooperation in order to reinforce existing international disarmament and non-proliferation regime. It is essential that both non-nuclear and nuclear weapon States are involved in this process.

As regards nuclear weapons, Ukraine demonstrated a proactive approach in this area by abandoning its nuclear capability and acceding to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1994, as well as by taking practical steps to eliminate the use of highly enriched uranium for civilian purposes through the removal of all of its existing stocks from our national territory in 2012.

Regrettably, the credibility and efficiency of some of the key pillars of the NPT have been seriously undermined. Let me recall that the historic decision of Ukraine to renounce its nuclear weapons was largely based on the clear international security assurances provided in writing in 1994, in particular in the Budapest Memorandum signed by Ukraine, the US, the UK and Russia. The validity of this document becomes even more vital in an era of the evolving proliferation threats as well as efforts to quell security concerns of states seeking nuclear deterrent capabilities.

Brutal violation of the international obligations, including under the Budapest Memorandum, by one nuclear-weapon state, has undermined the whole UN-based security system. What is even more disturbing is that, striving to escape responsibility, the high-ranking Russian officials initially have recoursed to the open lies, stating that the provisions of the Budapest Memorandum were only relevant to the use of nuclear weapons against Ukraine, and recently went even further – by alleging that the Memorandum was a mere declaration with no legally-binding consequences. I wonder what can be the next argument.

One can also recall in this regard the obligation of nuclear states contained in 2010 NPT Review Conference Final Document “to fully respect their existing commitments with regard to security assurances”.

Nevertheless, even being affected by the Russian military aggression and occupation of our territory, Ukraine continues to regard the NPT as a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. We continue to render comprehensive support to its effective implementation, further strengthening and universalization.

Ukraine consistently stands for reducing the nuclear arsenals, cessation of modernization of nuclear weapons, and overall decrease of nuclear weapons' role in military and strategic doctrines of the states.

Madam Chair,

Ukraine supports the universalization of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (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 call upon all States which have yet to sign or ratify the CTBT, in particular the remaining Annex 2 States, to do so without delay.

We also continue to support commencing negotiations and concluding the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) which will be essential both to constrain nuclear proliferation and to advance the goal of nuclear disarmament. Ukraine strongly appeals for finding common grounds on the issue of existing fissile materials stocks and immediate commencement of negotiations on the FMCT within the framework of the Conference on Disarmament. In this respect, we fully support the continuing work of the high-level FMCT expert preparatory group.

Madam Chair,

Ukraine supports all national and international efforts in order to promote preservation of a safe and secure space environment and the peaceful use of outer space on an equitable and mutually acceptable basis. The outer space should be considered as a global common good, to be used for the benefit of humankind.

We are of the position that transparency and confidence-building measures should make its contribution to the security, safety and sustainability of activities in outer space. With this in mind, Ukraine supported the inclusion of the item on outer space to the agenda of the next 3-year cycle of the Disarmament Commission and looks forward to constructive discussion aimed at elaboration of substantial recommendations on this issue to the UN General Assembly.

Thank you.