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Five Nuclear Powers Support Reagan Era Declaration on No Nuclear War

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Sochi
Russian President Vladimir Putin. | Image from reuters

On January 3, 2022, the Russian government helped to initiate a joint statement from the five most prominent nuclear powers, vowing to prevent nuclear conflict.

The Russian government issued a statement expressing hope that this move would be internationally beneficial.

“We expect that amid the current challenging international security environment, the endorsement of such a political statement by the leaders of nuclear powers will help to reduce international tensions,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated.

“This document was formulated on our initiative and with the most active participation of Russian representatives,” Zakharova said in regards to the joint statement, which the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, and China jointly signed.

At the center of the joint statement is a declaration by the five powers “that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

Patrick Goodenough of CNS News observed that the five powers are the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

“As nuclear use would have far-reaching consequences, we also affirm that nuclear weapons – for as long as they continue to exist – should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war,” the statement outlined.

The five governments declared “that none of our nuclear weapons are targeted at each other or at any other State.”

The five powers confirmed their commitment to complying with their responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which included their obligation “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date, and to nuclear disarmament.”

“A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” is a declaration that first appeared in a joint statement by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev at the 1985 Geneva summit.

The January 2022 agreement marked the first time Britain and France publicly signed on to the principles laid out in the Reagan-Gorbachev statement.

Per Zakharova, the statement was intended for release at an NPT Review Conference, scheduled to be held in New York on January 4. However, the conference was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“[G]iven the importance and self-sufficiency of this joint statement, the nuclear powers decided not to delay [the statement’s] publication,” she declared.

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