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AMBASSADOR'S ARTICLES

05.10.2013

Is nuclear disarmament possible? (by Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to UK, for Russia Today)

 

Russia is constantly advocating further limitations and reductions in nuclear weapon stockpiles along with strengthening international regimes of arms control and non-proliferation.

At the heart of our approach is the need for responsible, pragmatic and gradual steps to be taken in this sphere aimed at finding effective ways to reduce the nuclear danger.

Within this context promotion of the Non-proliferation Treaty is central to such efforts. We believe that the attention of the international community should be focused on the priority areas of nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful use of nuclear energy established by the NPT. These are important tasks that should be further implemented, including within the framework of the Action Plan adopted at the 2010 NPT Review Conference. The Action Plan contains the list of “64 practical steps” that states are asked to take in support of these three pillars of the NPT, which could contribute to the strengthening of the Treaty and serve as a “scorecard” for measuring progress and ensuring there would be accountability in this sphere.

The practical contribution made by Russia to the limitation and reduction of nuclear weapons is well-known: the Soviet-American Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate- and Shorter-range Missiles, which opened the way for disarmament, the 1991 Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START), the 2002 Moscow Treaty on Strategic Offensive Potentials, and the 2010 Treaty between Russia and the United States on Measures for Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.

The entry into force of the new Russian-American START Treaty presented a huge step in nuclear disarmament. The ceilings for the warheads established by the Treaty are one third lower than those of the Moscow Treaty, and for the means of delivery - half as much. It means that the nuclear arsenals of both countries will be reduced to the lowest level since the early 1960s. This is a huge achievement.

Further reductions should be discussed after all necessary steps to implement the new START Treaty have been taken. Negotiations on strategic offensive arms reductions are only possible if all the factors influencing strategic stability are duly taken into account. First of all, it concerns the plans of unilateral development of a strategic missile defense system, development of non-nuclear strategic offensive arms, potential deployment of weapons in outer space, increasing imbalances in conventional armaments, uncertainty over entry into force of the CTBT, etc.

We also listen to the calls of those, who propose a serious and responsible dialogue on "general and complete" nuclear disarmament. The main efforts in this sphere, as we strongly believe, should be focused on creating conditions that enable phased movement towards nuclear disarmament while strengthening strategic stability on the basis of principles of equal and indivisible security for all states. Without this it is hard to imagine how nuclear disarmament could be brought about. Building up trust between major powers is also a factor, including through universal commitment to multilateral diplomacy, collective action and international rule of law, based on the UN system.




LATEST EVENTS

09.08.2018 - Letter from Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko to the Guardian’s editor

In response to the Ambassador Beruchashvili’s letter, offering not so much a recollection of the August 2008 events in the Caucasus, but rather a misleading reiteration of the Georgian claims against Russia I have to refer to some of the universally recognized facts and consequences resulting from those tragic events.


24.07.2018 - Eastern Economic Forum: the East is bright (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

When talking about Russia’s Far East, you invariably remember its stunning natural beauty, abundance in natural resources and vast territories. But when one thinks of its investments prospects, you also invariably remember its harsh climate, low average population density and the lack of transport and other infrastructure. But now the situation is changing fundamentally. The region is undergoing a huge and qualitative revival. The development of the region has been declared one of the national priorities for Russia. In the last 5 years 18 advanced development zones and 5 free ports have been established in the Russian Far East. Long-term tax exemptions have been provided for large investment projects. Paperless e-visas for visitors of Vladivostok are available for citizens of 18 countries.


03.05.2018 - SALISBURY: A CLASSIFIED CASE (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

On 4 March 2018 two Russian citizens Sergei and Yulia Skripal were reportedly poisoned in Salisbury, Wiltshire with the toxic chemical named A-234 under the British classification. On 12 March Foreign Secretary Johnson summoned me to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and said that Russia was “highly likely” responsible for the attack. He invited us to respond by the next day, whether this had been a direct act by the state or Russia had lost control over this nerve agent. The incident had international repercussions, including expulsion of 150 Russian diplomats from 28 countries, notwithstanding the fact that the charges were based on assumptions and unverifiable intelligence. The Western countries lost the same number of Moscow-based staff. Meanwhile, the British government provided no evidence either to the public, its allies or Russia. Subsequent events revealed that no proof of Russia’s involvement existed. On 1 May, National Security adviser Sir Mark Sedwill confirmed that (despite a number of previous leaks) no suspect had been identified, a statement that speaks for itself.


14.02.2018 - The international community needs a unified legal base to combat information crimes (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Amid the rapid advance in technologies we face a growing number of cyber-crimes: in 2016, these offences caused damage of $445 billion and by 2020, according to experts, this figure can reach up to $3 trillion, exceeding the overall income received from the Internet.


26.01.2018 - UNGA: Glorification of Nazism must stop (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

In December the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the traditional resolution on “Combating the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”. It was supported by an overwhelming majority of UN Member States: 133 states voted for this document, 57 became its co-sponsors, and only Ukraine and the United States voted against.


29.11.2017 - Afghan opium production jumps to record level (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for RT)

According to the latest Afghanistan Opium Survey released by the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in 2017 opium production in Afghanistan increased by 87 per cent to a record level of 9,000 metric tons. The area under opium poppy cultivation also grew by 63 per cent to its highest level of 328,000 hectares. Afghanistan is the world's top cultivator of the poppy from which opium and heroin are produced. The 2017 record levels of opium production and poppy cultivation create multiple challenges for the country, its neighbours and many other countries that serve as a transit for or a destination of Afghan opiates. The significant levels of opium poppy cultivation and illicit trafficking of opiates fuel instability, insurgency and increase funding to terrorist groups in Afghanistan.


19.10.2017 - Why to fight with memorials (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The campaign in Poland against World War II memorials to Soviet officers and soldiers, who had liberated the country from the Nazi occupation, is gaining momentum. Warsaw has created a legal framework allowing the disposal of Soviet/Russian memorial objects or taking them out of public sight, including the most widespread monuments of gratitude to the Red Army. Why?


18.10.2017 - Syria: collective humanitarian efforts, not sanctions, are needed more than ever (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The situation in Syria is undergoing serious transformation. Due to the de-escalation process, it has now become possible to drastically reduce the level of violence, to improve the humanitarian situation as well as to fight terrorists more efficiently. The ISIS-controlled territory is shrinking. On 14-15 September, at the international meeting in Astana all four de-escalation zones were finalized.


05.10.2017 - What You Have to Know about Status of Crimea (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The coup d’état in Kiev in February 2014 backed by the West tore up the constitutional space in Ukraine. The legitimate President of the country was overthrown. It was marked by a severe lack of democracy and violence that posed a direct threat to the well-being of Russian-speaking population of Crimea. Citizens of Crimea faced the choice of becoming an oppressed minority or severing their ties with the hostile regime to secure a future for themselves and their children. The decision to hold a referendum was made by legitimate local authorities. The independence of Crimea was proclaimed and an appeal to enter the Russian Federation was made based on the indisputable results of the popular vote. Standards of international law were fully observed as the right of nations to self-determination enshrined in the UN Charter was exercised freely by the Crimeans. Crimea was recognized as an independent and sovereign state by Russia and on 18 March 2014 in Moscow the two countries signed a Treaty of Unification, under which the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol became two new regions - subjects of the Russian Federation.


05.10.2017 - NATO increased military presence in Europe: road to nowhere (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

As part of the implementation of the conclusions of the NATO Summit in Warsaw, four multinational battlegroups have been deployed in Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia with the total number of troops exceeding 4500. The idea of creating similar rotating units in Bulgaria and Romania in 2018 is being widely discussed by NATO members. If put together, these battlegroups amount to a motorized infantry brigade with heavy weapons.



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