Russia Vetoes UN Nuclear Weapons in Space Resolution

26th Apr 2024
Russia Vetoes UN Nuclear Weapons in Space Resolution

Russia vetoed a resolution in the UN Security Council on 24th April regarding space. The resolution called for all nations neither develop nor deploy nuclear weapons nor weapons of mass destruction, in line with the 1967 international treaty on space that the Soviet Union had signed. It also called for compliance verification. The Russian ambassador to the UN called it a “dirty spectacle” that focused solely on WMD instead of all the weapons that should be banned.  

However, the U.S. ambassador pointed out that the veto ran against Putin’s claim that the Kremlin had no intention of placing nuclear weapons in space.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said, “Today’s veto begs the question: Why? Why, if you are following the rules, would you not support a resolution that reaffirms them? What could you possibly be hiding,” she asked. “It’s baffling. And it’s a shame.”

According to the meeting coverage from the UNSC, Japan’s ambassador emphasized that the proposal which Russia and China put forward, “is inconsistent with the UN Charter, which permits the use of force for self-defence or where authorized by the Security Council.  About the elaboration of legally binding multilateral agreements in the amendment, he said the Council should not seek to get ahead of ongoing discussion in the General Assembly for a conference on disarmament but rather seek to complement and support it.”

Nuclear weapons under development

After the vote, the United States government commented on the development of satellites carrying nuclear devices by the Russian Federation. Spokesman Jake Sullivan pointed out that the fact that Russia is still developing its new satellite that will carry nuclear weapons.

According to the UNSC:

 The representative of Malta, Council President for April, speaking in her national capacity, said the Council missed a “timely opportunity” to adopt its first resolution on outer space.  “These weapons threaten our existence and should be eliminated altogether,” she stressed. In the same vein, the United Kingdom’s representative emphasized:  “There should be no nuclear weapons stationed in space and that is something every Council member should agree on.”

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