Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the First Committee general debate

Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the First Committee general debate

Mr. Chair,

On behalf of the delegation of Ukraine, allow me to congratulate you and other members of the Bureau on your election. I’m looking forward to a constructive and result orientated dialogue during this First Committee session. I assure you in Ukraine’s full support.

Ukraine strongly believes that effective multilateralism should remain the basic principle for negotiations in addressing arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. Ukraine stands ready to continue contributing practically to achieving this goal.

Even being affected by the Russian military aggression and occupation of its territories in violation of the key principles of the NPT, Ukraine continues to fully implement international arms control regimes. We confirm our adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime and an essential basis for achieving the objectives of nuclear disarmament.

We render comprehensive support to its effective implementation, further strengthening and universalization. This legal instrument itself provides treaty-level commitments to the goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons. At the same time, from our point of view immediate and compulsive elaboration of Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty or any additional instrument alike without participation of nuclear states as well as many other world powers, could not only harm the international efforts aimed at enhancing existing international legal bases but also weaken the NPT regime itself.

Ukraine’s decision to renounce its nuclear weapons to access the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon state was primarily based on clear international assurances of security, territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of borders provided by the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances signed by Ukraine, the USA, the UK and Russia. There is no doubt that this Memorandum is valid and should be adhered to by all its state-signatories. I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that the law of Ukraine on ratification of the NPT as the non-nuclear state has the provision that it will enter into force after Ukraine obtains security guarantees. I would also like to remind you that Budapest Memorandum is officially registered as the UN document. The validity of the Budapest Memorandum becomes even more vital in an era of heightening threats of nuclear proliferation and efforts to quell security concerns of states seeking a nuclear deterrent. Neglect to established security assurances related to relinquishing nuclear weapons ambitions undermines global endeavors to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to secure progress in nuclear disarmament, especially under the NPT.

We proceed from the understanding that the Russian Federation has been violating not only the Budapest Memorandum but the NPT itself. The NPT clearly states in its Preamble that “States must refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner”. In this regard, we appeal to the NPT states to recognize the violations by Russia of the key provisions of the Treaty.

Mr. Chair,

We also continue to believe that negotiating and concluding the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) within the Conference on Disarmament framework 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.

We acknowledge the importance of nuclear weapon free zones which should be established on the basis of arrangements among the States of the region concerned. In this respect, we fully support the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East.

The universalization of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty remains one of the key objectives of the multilateral efforts in the area of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. We support the signing of the Treaty and its ratification by all new states approaching its entry into force. Nuclear test moratorium voluntarily declared by different states plays a necessary but not sufficient role. It will never replace the legally binding nature of the CTBT. Therefore, Ukraine calls upon the States which have yet to sign or ratify the CTBT to do so without delay.

Ukraine recognizes the important role of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in addressing post-conflict remedial measures in order to minimize the occurrence, risk and effects of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW). Being a State Party to the Anti-Personnel Landmines Convention for over 10 years Ukraine acknowledges its fundamental character in minimizing the occurrence, risk and effects of landmines.

Mr. Chair,

The illicit trafficking of conventional arms, including small arms and light weapons (SALW) and conventional ammunition continue to contribute to instability and violence at the sub-regional, regional and global levels.

Ukraine considers the UN Programme of Action on illicit trade in SALW as an important and universal tool in global efforts to combat this challenge. And we welcome the unanimously adopted outcome of the PoA Review Conference held in June 2018 in New York.

Illicit weapons are fuelling global terrorism and conflicts and constitute serious impediments for peace, security, stability and development. This is why we must tackle the issue of illegal transfer, accumulation and misuse of conventional arms with highest level of responsibility.

The Russian aggression against Ukraine with the use of regular military forces armed with modern types of conventional armaments and ammunition has significantly damaged the existing system of conventional arms control. The Russian Federation continues illegal transfers of arms and ammunition and sending military personnel to our territory, both to Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, through Kremlin-controlled channels thus deliberately destabilizing not only sub-regional but the entire European security.

Mr. Chair,

Along with constant intensive combat activities in the Donbass region conducted by Russian-terrorist forces Russia continues to fuel our concerns over progressive militarization of Crimea.

Such harmful and violent actions enable Russia to intensify the use of and expand the area of use of warships and military aircraft not only in the Black Sea region or the entire Mediterranean basin and beyond.

Russian military bases in the temporary occupied Ukrainian Autonomous Republic of Crimea are widely used as the headquarters for Russian troops fighting in Syria.

We continue to receive the worrying reports that Russia is placing nuclear weapons in the temporarily occupied Crimea and restoring relevant infrastructure. These actions together with conventional military buildup on the Peninsula seriously undermine international law, peace and security.

This year Russia went even further. The expansion of its military presence in the Sea of Azov is the new challenge which we have to deal with. This sea territory between Ukraine and Russia is now being increasingly militarized by the Russian Federation that has implications not only for maritime trade and supplies into Ukraine. It also poses an additional military threat to Ukraine and undermines further the stability of the broader region. The illegal construction and partial opening of the Kerch Strait bridge between Russia and temporarily occupied Crimea makes its substantial contribution to this threat.

We firmly believe that such actions of the Russian Federation must not go unanswered by the international community.

For this reason, Ukraine plans to introduce the relevant draft resolution in order to prevent Russia from further militarization of the mentioned areas.

If we fail to address this challenge now, the militarization of Crimea could have far-reaching consequences for security not only in the Black Sea area, the Sea of Azov or the whole South Europe, but also in the North Africa and the Middle East.

On behalf of our delegation I wish all of us fruitful work in order to contribute to approaching the honorable goal of making our word more safe and secure.

I thank you for your attention.