Russia blocks nuclear non-proliferation treaty deal over Ukraine

RUSSIA late Friday (Aug 26) blocked agreement on the final draft of a review of the UN treaty considered the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament over criticism of its actions in Ukraine, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

The 4-week talks over updates to the 50-year-old nuclear non-proliferation treaty, already delayed two years by the Covid-19 pandemic, were stymied over wording referencing Russia's occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power facility in Ukraine, Europe's largest. With the war continuing, Russia has yet to allow international inspectors access to the facility. 

"We do not have a consensus document because of Russia," US under secretary of state for arms control Bonnie Jenkins said on Twitter. 

Igor Vishnevetsky, deputy director of the Russian foreign ministry's non-proliferation and arms control department, told delegates that "unfortunately there is no consensus on this document." 

He insisted that many countries - not just Russia - didn't agree with "a whole host of issues" in the 36-page last draft, the AP wrote.

Earlier, Argentine ambassador Gustavo Zlauvinenf, who was leading the conference, circulated a draft aiming to address concerns by China, AP reported. China wanted the document to mention last year's US-UK-Australia deal to provide Australia with a nuclear-powered submarine, AP reported. 

Any agreement requires a consensus among the treaty's 191 members. BLOOMBERG

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