Recently, Australia, the UK, and the US announced the formation of the new defence and security partnership AUKUS to “protect and defend” common interests in the Indo-Pacific. The Permanent Representative of Russia to International Organisations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, stated that the newly created alliance puts in question non-proliferation efforts worldwide, Sputnik reports.
“At the same time, the issue of violation of nuclear non-proliferation is being raised. Why? Because the United States and Great Britain took 17 months to decide on how to help Australia […] master the technology of creating nuclear-powered submarines. From the point of view of non-proliferation, this is a very sensitive issue, because the submarines operate on highly enriched uranium, which, in principle, can be used to create nuclear weapons,” Ulyanov said.
The Russian diplomat also noted that from a political point of view, the alliance “appears to be directed against China”. He warned that the pact’s activities should be closely monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). According to him, Russia is calling on the IAEA’s Board of Governors to keep the situation under control.
“This decision was quite unexpected and strange. Trying to assess the situation from a strategic point of view, I cannot understand why Australia needs to acquire such sensitive technologies now. There is no rational explanation. This can create a global-scale problem for the nuclear non-proliferation regime,” Ulyanov noted.