At the outset, I would like to thank you for convening this important and timely Open Debate which, we believe, will make its valuable contribution to addressing the issue of illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons.
Since Ukraine aligned itself with the EU statement made earlier today, we would like to make some additional comments from our national perspective.
Recognizing that weapons of mass destruction and their proliferation is the real threat to the humanity as a whole in 2015, we must admit that possibility of use of WMD depends on the bunch of factors where SALW has also their strong toxic effect.
In particular, instability caused by proliferation of SALW and their use could serve as a real precondition of a nuclear conflict. Thus, today we must tackle the issue of illicit transfer, accumulation and misuse of SALW with highest level of responsibility.
In this respect, we welcome the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in December 2014, which includes SALW in its scope and contains provisions on ammunition, further raised the level of attention and scrutiny given to controls of SALW. Ukraine was among co-sponsors of the UN General Assembly Resolutions devoted to the ATT and signed this document in 2014.
The implementation of its provisions to national legislations of signatory countries would be an important step in reaching the ATT objectives, particularly preventing and eradicating the illicit trade in conventional arms and preventing their diversion. However, without joining the Treaty by the key arms export states we can not speak about the comprehensive nature of the ATT. Thus, we call upon all the states to become a part of this important process.
Human cost of illicit SALW execution is extremely dramatic. It is not a secret that in my country SALW-related challenges emerged mostly after the Russian aggression against Ukraine of 2014-2015.
But the first steps in that regard were made earlier. Long before occupation started the Russian Federation conducted numerous supplies of arms, including SALW, into the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. These weapons have been clearly showed up during the so-called referendum in Crimea in 2014. As a result, this part of Ukraine is occupied by the Russian Federation since then.
During 2014-2015 the illegal pro-Russian armed groups – so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” and “Luhansk People’s Republic” in close coordination with Russian troops have gained and continue to control the respectful segment of Russian-Ukrainian border. Thus, terrible gate for illicit transfers of SALW to the territory Ukraine has been opened.
The continuous flows of sophisticated weapons and ammunition from the Russian Federation to Crimea and Eastern part of Ukraine have had a disastrous and destabilizing effect.
The most cynical thing in this regard is that large amount of SALW is moved to Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine from Russian territory under the guise of so called Humanitarian Convoys.
The abovementioned problems have been regularly reported to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. Numerous documentary evidences have been presented to the SMM members.
Without deepening into technical details I would like to draw your attention to one of the evidences of weaponry supplies through Ukrainian-Russian border segment.
A week ago during neutralization of subversive group in Donetsk region an Under-Barrel Grenade Launcher UBGL-34, which is on the inventory of Russian army, was confiscated. It is easy to verify that the UBGL-34 model is not on the Ukrainian Armed Forces inventory.
We have many similar examples with respectful documentary and photos. UBGL-34 and other SALW have strong destabilizing effect in the heart of Europe killing hundreds of peaceful Ukrainians.
The conclusion is the following. We have no right to be blind with regard to illicit supplies of conventional weapons, including SALW from the Russian Federation to Ukraine.
In the wider context, after the brutal occupation of Crimea by the Russian military forces with the use or threat of use of conventional weapons, including SALW, we witness statements of Russian officials on their right to deploy nuclear weapons on the Crimean peninsula. Such activity would constitute the direct threat for security both at the regional and global level. We should keep an eye on every such an action.
I thank you.