A month-long meeting on nuclear disarmament ended in failure at the United Nations Friday night when Russia refused to accept the final draft of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
The treaty is reviewed every five years as part of an effort to reduce nuclear risks and stop the expansion of nuclear arsenals around the world.
The failure of the negotiations came amid disagreements over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has entered its sixth month.
Russia had tried to make amendments to the treaty which would have “produced chaos” at this late stage in the negotiations, said UN Ambassador Gustavo Zlauvinen.
“It’s like we made a movie this month, but don’t have the final picture,” Zlauvinen said.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons said the lack of action was inexcusable at a time of heightened risk.
“This result is terminally unserious and a total abdication of responsibility in the face of an unacceptably dangerous global situation,” the group’s Executive Director Beatrice Fihn said.
“The nuclear-armed states have not only failed to make progress on their disarmament obligations but have spent over $82 billion on maintaining and upgrading their arsenals, when the risk of use of nuclear weapons is higher than ever, the failure of the review conference to take any action is inexcusable,” Fihn added.
Meanwhile the United States and dozens of other countries issued a joint statement warning of the threat posed by Russia’s takeover of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – Europe’s largest.
The threat of nuclear calamity has loomed for months since the plant fell into Russian control in March. Kyiv has repeatedly accused Russian forces of storing heavy weaponry inside the complex and using it as cover to launch attacks, knowing that Ukraine can’t return fire without risking hitting one of the plant’s six reactors.
“We condemn the interference of the representatives of the Russian Federation in the (power plant’s) operations and efforts to extend the Russian Federation’s control over the plant,” said the joint statement.
“We demand that Russia immediately withdraw its armed forces from Ukraine and hand back full control of (the power plant), as well as of all nuclear facilities within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders, to the proper Ukrainian authorities in order to ensure their safe and secure operations.”
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was first signed in 1968 and went into effect in 1970. One hundred and ninety one parties have signed up to it, including the five nuclear weapon states, according to the UN.