After weeks of intensive but productive negotiations, the Russian Federation alone decided to block consensus on a final document at the conclusion of the Tenth Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Russia did so in order to block language that merely acknowledged the grave radiological risk at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, the very kind of challenge the conference is called upon to address. For the Russian Federation to not accept such language in the face of overwhelming international consensus underscores the need for the United States and others to continue urging Russia to end its military activity near ZNPP and return control of the plant to Ukraine.
Despite Russia’s cynical obstructionism, the fact that all the other remaining States Parties were able to support the final document speaks to the Treaty’s essential role in preventing nuclear proliferation and averting the danger of nuclear war. Over the course of the conference, NPT Parties affirmed the need for action on arms control, proliferation crises, and expanded access to peaceful nuclear energy, science, and technologies, especially among states of the global south. Amid a challenging international political and security environment, the extent to which NPT States Parties found common ground in support of strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation regime is remarkable.
The United States will continue to work alongside the international community to achieve the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. The NPT remains and will remain the fundamental cornerstone of the nuclear nonproliferation regime and essential to advancing nuclear disarmament and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. We are proud to have worked constructively and in good faith with all Parties toward a consensus. Russia’s actions reflect only on Russia. It is clear that the rest of the NPT’s States Parties recognize the Treaty’s role as an essential pillar of the international rules-based order.