Nobel Peace Prize and nuclear disarmament: the world must help Ukraine first


The Nobel Peace Prize 2017 has been awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). On December 10, before formally receiving the prize, ICAN’s executive director Beatrice Fihn with her colleagues installed 1,000 red paper cranes outside the Norwegian Parliament as a symbol of peace and a call for action. “We are facing a clear choice right now: The end of nuclear weapons or the end of us,” she said. ”As long as atomic bombs exist, disaster is inevitable.”

Atomic bomb survivor Setsuko Thurlow received the award together with Beatrice Fihn. After the ceremony, thousands of people participated in a torchlight procession organized by the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo in support of nuclear disarmament.

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Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chairwoman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced the winner on October 6, 2017. She stated that “some states are modernizing their nuclear arsenals, and there is a real danger that more countries will try to procure nuclear weapons, as exemplified by North Korea.” ICAN won the Nobel Peace Prize for its decade-long campaign to ban nuclear weapons.

Ukraine was the largest of four nuclear states that voluntarily destroyed or surrendered their nuclear weapons. At the time of independence, Ukraine was the third largest nuclear state in the world. UkraineIS emphasizes that the only real incentive for any other country to implement the ideas of the ICAN would be full respect of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and security guarantees to Ukraine specified in the Budapest memorandum by nuclear powers.

UkraineIS also reminds that non-proliferation and eventual prohibition of nuclear weapons is especially important in the wake of digital security concerns. One of the first steps to make the world without nuclear weapons possible would be ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty by all countries.

Sergiy Vakarin already described the importance of nuclear research at #CERN, including for UkraineIS’ projects. Use of nuclear technologies must be exclusively for peaceful purposes. One area where the humanity managed to prohibit nuclear weapons is in space. Many speakers of the 2017 Space and Future Forum co-organized by UkraineIS mentioned that ongoing cooperation in space is in many cases more successful than back on Earth, and this could be a model for international relations in which nuclear weapons would not be needed any more. In particular, full de-weaponization of space was proposed by the Forum speaker, world-famous researcher Garry Jacobs.

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During his visit to Norway, Sergiy Vakarin discussed with Norwegian officials, businesses and former Members of Parliament the importance of Ukraine’s role and its aerospace and IT sectors.

In 1994 Ukraine committed to full nuclear disarmament and joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The leaders of Ukraine, Russia, the UK and the USA signed a memorandum that provided Ukraine with security guarantees (the Budapest memorandum).Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, the Memorandum was not respected by Russia, and many countries are escalating, or considering, nuclear armament and increasingly using nuclear threats as a political tool. Sergiy Vakarin believes this trend can be only expected to grow unless Ukraine’s territorial integrity is restored.

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