Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at the UNSC on the Deployment of Russian Nuclear Weapons in Belarus


We thank Ms.Nakamitsu for the briefing.

Today we heard quite a number of critical remarks addressed to Russia. According to our former Western partners, Russia is to blame for all calamities of the modern world, but this logic no longer surprises us.  However since we are speaking about serious matters that have implications for security of the entire planet, we would like to provide some clarification as to who is the real source of threat to peace and stability. By the way, we were rather impressed by the reference to a letter by Ms.Tikhanovskaya, head of so-called “United transitional cabinet of Belarus” and the “Democratic forces of Belarus”. Equally, it could have been a reference to an opinion by J.Guaido. I assume it would have been just as authoritative.


In recent years, the global security architecture has eroded significantly. The process of dismantling key agreements in the area of arms control and confidence-building, that the United States and its allies initiated once they proclaimed themselves the winners of the Cold War, had a systemic and consistent character, and had not been provoked by any actions on our part. It was caused solely by the desire of the United States to assert its geopolitical dominance and impede the objective process of formation of a multipolar world. Yes, we reiterate the point that was first made in a joint statement by the leaders of Russia and the United States that there can be no winners in a nuclear war. However let me briefly remind of the dynamic and the fate of treaties in the area of strategic stability.

In 2003, Washington unilaterally suspended the Soviet-American Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Other crucial strategic agreements turned out to have the same destination. In 2019 the US quitted from the INF Treaty. I stress that it was not Russia who did that, as the US representative misstated today. Go and check against the statements of that time. They do not leave any doubts as to who really initiated the withdrawal from the INF. If the US forgot this, we can remind of the sequence of steps that were taken and also remind who really caused the collapse of the treaty.

Washington’s course at the undermining of the Open Skies Treaty resulted in the unilateral withdrawal of the United States in 2020. The US consistently violated provisions of the Treaty for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START), which is why Russia made a decision to suspend the Treaty on 21 February 2023. Washington undermined the crucial agreements around the Iranian nuclear program despite UNSC resolution 2231 that endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which the US had quitted unilaterally in 2018. Speaking of international agreements in the area of WMD non-proliferation, we would like to remind that the United States refused to ratify the CTBT, has not implemented its obligations under the CWC, and is blocking the strengthening of the BTWC regime by opposing the adoption of a legally binding protocol with effective verification mechanism.

Speaking of the European continent, in early 2000s the United States refused to ratify the Agreement on Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, having ruined the very foundation of pan-European security and predictability in the military area. As a reminder, in 1999 the Charter for European Security was signed that endorsed the principle of indivisible security and an obligation to not strengthen one’s own security at the expense of others. However NATO’s expansion to the East that followed and the inclusion of Eastern European states in the NATO orbit put this principle to rest. Finally, may I remind that in 2021 we put forward an initiative for a Russian-American comprehensive dialogue on strategic stability, where we proposed to address all outstanding security issues and define possible ways to resolve those by political and diplomatic means, including arms control mechanisms. But the Americans turned down all our proposals. Same as the Russian proposals to build a European security architecture in compliance with principles stipulated in the OSCE framework. Then came the revelations of Western politicians who admitted that they had never really planned on having equal partnerships with Russia. All this testifies to the real value of their previous promises.


We see no objective reason for convening this meeting, especially on the US initiative. In 1990s, we made all efforts to withdraw nuclear armaments from former Soviet republics back to the Russian territory. We repeatedly called on the United States to do the same – reject the Cold War-style thinking and take back all American nuclear weapons to the national territory. By the way, this is also mentioned in the Russian-Chinese joint statement that many delegations referred to earlier in this meeting. We also called to dismantle such infrastructure in Europe and stop the protracted practice of violations of the NPT by the US and other NATO members who do the so-called nuclear sharing. We said publicly on many occasions that such practice does not meet either the letter or the spirit of the NPT, and called on NATO states to bring their policies in accordance with their assumed obligations. I remind that under Article 1 of the NPT, each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty “undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly”. Under Article 2 of the NPT each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive such control directly, or indirectly.

Our interaction with Belarus does not violate any Russia’s international obligations in the area of nuclear non-proliferation. President Putin indicated directly that we are not transferring nuclear weapons. What was announced is a transfer to the Republic of Belarus of a tactical ballistic missile system “Iskander-M”, re-equipment of aircraft of Belarusian Air Force, training of the crews, and also construction of a special storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus that will be controlled by Russia.

By various estimates, Europe’s cooperation with NATO in nuclear area may have led to deployment of about 100-150 American tactical nuclear bombs in European states. Modernizing of these stockpiles and potential delivery vehicles of nuclear weapons is gaining momentum. Precise locations are nor disclosed. Reportedly, US nukes are deployed in the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Germany, and Türkiye. However we must not forget about the Cold War legacy, so there are also deployment sites in other states, for example in Greece. In recent years, calls have been heard to expand the geography of American nuclear weapons on the European soil towards the borders of the Union State Russia-Belarus. I also remind that as recently as in October 2022, the leadership of Poland claimed publicly to be negotiating in order to secure a part in “nuclear sharing”.

Mr. President,

Against the backdrop of NATO’s openly declared intention to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia, we are compelled to take response measures, including in the military area, to ensure security of the Union State. Measures that President Putin announced recently and that scared Zelensky’s regime and its Western sponsors so much serve exactly this goal. Or did you seriously think that we would not respond properly to your provocative and aggressive actions?

The concern about global stability on the part of Western countries looks even more hypocritical against the backdrop of their provocative activities outside Europe. Establishment of the US-UK-Australia security partnership, so called AUKUS, raise a multitude of questions not only with us, but also with other states, especially in light of the announced plans to build nuclear submarines within this partnership. As we repeatedly indicated, creation of this bloc provokes tension, undermines efforts for maintenance of peace and stability in Asia Pacific, and forms prerequisites for another round of arms race. Yet as we are well aware, such considerations can never stop Americans or their allies, who are only bothered to preserve their geopolitical dominance.

This double-dealing approach no longer surprises us. The Ukrainian crisis just added another proof. By the way, the interests of Ukrainians have never been a concern for Western states. To illustrate this, look at the recent decision by London to deliver armor-piercing projectiles with depleted uranium to Kiev. We are well aware what dire consequences such toxic munitions caused for the areas where they had been used. Victims of Western invasions in Yugoslavia and Iraq were exposed to the use of such munitions, and the effects of it have been showing until this day. It might seem that the Kiev regime that says it cares for ordinary Ukrainians, ought to reject such a “gift” resolutely so to pose no risks to civilians and avoid prospective land contamination. The US representative started a logical chain that Russian tanks would not have been exposed to projectiles with depleted uranium, if Russia had not started what he called an “aggression against Ukraine”. I would like to follow up on this logical chain. Russian tanks would not have turned up in Ukraine and Ukrainian soldiers would not have died for someone else’s geopolitical interests, completely alien to them, if the United States and the allies had not carried out an anti-constitutional coup in Kiev in 2014, had not brought Russophobes, nationalists and Nazis to power in Ukraine, had not covered up for their crimes against the Russian-speaking population of eastern and southern Ukraine, had not armed and equipped them and, under the guise of the Minsk Agreements, prepared them for a war on Russia. Ukraine would long have had peace if the US and the allies were not pumping up the Kiev regime with weapons and were not forcing it to send thousands new recruits to a senseless slaughter, the only goal of which is to justify the allocations of money to Ukraine in the eyes of Western public. This logical chain would be more correct.

However we have long been aware of the man-hating nature of the current Kiev authorities who are in full subservience to the West. They have shelled the civilians of the Donbas for years, and they continue to use Western weapons against them. Their indifference to their own people and also to European neighbors fully showed itself as the situation around the Zaporozhye NPP was evolving. Ukrainian armed forces repeatedly targeted the ZNPP despite related risks of causing a full-fledged nuclear disaster at Europe’s major atomic plant. Western countries are well aware of that, but they continue to keep silent. Their hypocrisy reached a climax when they tried to pose as the champions of peace while at the same time saying that fire in Ukraine must not stop and while arms continued to flow uninterruptedly to the Kiev regime. I remind that Washington and some European capitals said that the fighting in Ukraine must continue when responding to the recent peace initiatives that Russia supports. Of course, this is not about so-called Zelensky’s peace plan.

The lack pf integrity and inconsistency of the collective West as regards the situation in Ukraine and also other international problems clearly illustrates the very essence of the “rules-based order”, which has nothing to do with the international law. It is the way Western states try to impose their own rules (which are only beneficial for themselves) on the entire world, so they can later demand everyone to comply. While doing so, of course they do not think of themselves as bound by whatever obligations. Such neocolonial approaches, aimed at ensuring prosperity of the “golden billion” at any cost, cannot mislead either us or our colleagues from developing countries. They are just as deceitful and unconvincing as the attempts to blame Russia for undermining strategic stability. The earlier the collective West understands this and tunes in for a meaningful dialogue about equitable principles of the global and European indivisible security, the more chances we have to avoid new acute problems and challenges.

Thank you.

Right of reply:


We have no intention to turn this meeting into an exchange between Russia and the United States, but I would like to make several points.

First, I appreciate that the US representative recognized that it had been the United States who quitted the INF Treaty in 2019, unlike what he initially said in his statement. This is a fact that we just heard. We will circulate a letter in the Security Council describing the entire sequence of steps: what action was taken, who did that, who was the initiator, and on what grounds. At this point, I will give you this one quote: “On 23 January 2019 the Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry of Russia invited foreign military attaches and journalists to a briefing where a few technical characteristics of 9М729 land-based ballistic cruise missile were first unraveled, and the missile launcher and launch-pod container were demonstrated. Representatives of the US and a number of other NATO and EU states disregarded the invitation. Then Spokesperson of the US Embassy in Moscow Andrea Kalan said to Russian Interfax Agency: “The US and most our allies abstained from attending this briefing, which we believe was another attempt to hide the violation and create a vision of transparency”. On 1 February 209, President Trump announced the US withdrawal from the Treaty”.

Second, I have a simple question to my American colleague. I wonder if he can confirm or deny it that the US nuclear weapons are deployed not only within the US national territory, but also in Europe. Perhaps he will dare to give an answer to it in this Chamber.

Thank you.