Russia is engaged in "reckless, dangerous nuclear saber rattling" amid its war in Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at the start of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference at the United Nations on Monday, CNN reported.
He warned that the landmark deal is "under increasing strain" due to not only the actions of Russia, but also of North Korea and Iran, and urged Moscow to live up to its nuclear arms control commitments.
Blinken criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin for warning "that those supporting Ukraine self-defense 'risk consequences such as you have never seen in your entire history,'" according to CNN.
The U.S., U.K., and France released a joint statement Monday at the start of the conference urging Russia "to cease its irresponsible and dangerous nuclear rhetoric and behavior, to uphold its international commitments, and to recommit — in words and deeds — to the principles enshrined in the recent Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races Leaders' statement" that was released in January.
Blinken also said that Russia's war is in violation of the U.N. Charter and the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, under which Moscow pledged to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and Kyiv agreed to give up its nuclear weapon arsenal.
Blinken stressed, "What message does this send to any country around the world that may think that it needs to have nuclear weapons to protect, to defend, to deter aggression against its sovereignty and independence? The worst possible message."
Blinken also criticized North Korea for its nuclear provocations, noting that "as we gather today, Pyongyang is preparing to conduct its seventh nuclear test," adding that Tehran "remains on a path of nuclear escalation," CNN reported.
Blinken said that "although it publicly claims to favor a return to mutual compliance with the JCPOA, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, since March, Iran has been either unwilling or unable to accept the deal to achieve precisely that goal."
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