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News > Russia

Russia Vetoes UNSC Draft Resolution on WMD in Outer Space

  • Russian diplomat Vassily Nebenzia (C), NYC, U.S., April 24, 2024.

    Russian diplomat Vassily Nebenzia (C), NYC, U.S., April 24, 2024. | Photo: X/ @RecordGBA

Published 25 April 2024

The U.S.-Japan resolution on weapons of mass destruction is a "dirty spectacle", said Russian diplomat Nebenzia.

On Wednesday, Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council draft resolution on the placement of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in outer space.


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The draft resolution, tabled by the United States and Japan, won the support of 13 out of 15 UNSC members. Russia, which has veto power, voted against it. China abstained.

Before the vote, the Security Council rejected an amendment to the draft resolution proposed by Russia and China to include a ban on the placement of weapons of any kind in outer space.

Russia's permanent representative to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, accused the U.S. and Japan of staging "a dirty spectacle" at the Security Council by tabling the draft resolution.

"At first glance, it looks harmless, it looks positive, because officially it is devoted to a topic that is of great importance to the international community -- that's the non-placement of WMDs in outer space. Yet behind this fig leaf, there is a cunning plan that was concocted by our Western colleagues," he told the council before the vote.

Nebenzia explained that the ban on the placement of WMDs in outer space has already been enshrined in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. The United States and Japan had the hidden motives of cherry-picking WMDs out of all other kinds of weapons in outer space.

By doing so, the United States and Japan could camouflage their lack of interest in outer space free from any weapons, he said.

The Russian ambassador stressed that the draft amendment does not delete from the draft resolution the ban on the placement of WMDs in outer space. It simply adds the provision about the inadmissibility of weapons of any kind being placed in outer space.

Russia's first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyanskiy, said that Wednesday's vote was one of the most ridiculous ones in his career in New York, and probably in the UN history, because there is absolutely no added value in this draft resolution.

Fu Cong, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, regretted that the amendment proposed by China and Russia was not adopted.

The draft resolution, without the amendment, is incomplete and unbalanced and does not reflect to the fullest extent the common interests and the shared call of the 193 member states on the issue of outer space security. Therefore, China had to abstain from the vote on the draft resolution, he said in an explanation after the vote.

As UNSC members work together to advance outer space security governance, efforts should be made to demonstrate goodwill, enhance mutual trust, and promote cooperation, instead of suspecting, criticizing, blaming each other, or stoking confrontation, said Fu.

The U.S. should stop its development and deployment of offensive weapons in outer space, change its negative attitude toward the negotiation of a legally binding instrument on arms control in outer space, and get engaged actively in the discussions at the Conference on Disarmament and the UN General Assembly First Committee, which deals with disarmament affairs, he said. 

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