President Putin: There Is No Legal or Political Precedent to Launch a Nuclear Attack

October 22nd, 2022 - by NoFirstUse Global

Dear Vladmir Putin: The Hiroshima and Nagasaki Nuclear Bombings Were Illegal – Not a Precedent for a Nuclear Attack

NoFirstUse Global

(October 21, 2022) — On September 30, in his speech in the Kremlin announcing the annexation of four Ukrainian regions – Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson – Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that these territories are now part of Russia, warned that Russia has nuclear weapons to defend its territory, and claimed also that a precedent for using nuclear weapons was established by the United States when they attacked Hiroshima and Nagasaki with nuclear bombs in World War II.

On October 18, NoFirstUse Global sent a letter to President Putin and the Russian people countering Putin’s claim that the United States established a precedent for nuclear attack through their use of nuclear weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Aggression, Nuclear Threats and the Law

In a resolution adopted on October 12, the United Nations General Assembly condemned the illegal annexation of the territories, reaffirmed its previous resolutions concerning the Russian invasion of Ukraine as being an ‘Act of Aggression’, and called on Russia to reverse its illegal invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Ukraine territory.

The President of the UN General Assembly, presiding over the debate and vote, also warned about the increased threats of nuclear weapons use and said that ‘Any threat to use nuclear weapons should be universally condemned’.

In follow-up, and to give further strength to the UNGA President’s comments, the NoFirstUse Global Steering Committee sent an Open Letter this week to President Putin and the people of Russia, countering President Putin’s claim that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings established a legal or political precedent for using nuclear weapons.

The letter also:
•   opposes Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and threats to use nuclear weapons;
•   argues that the existence of Russia is not under threat (as alleged by Putin), but that it would be if Russia starts a nuclear war;
•   affirms that Russia’s threat to use nuclear weapons is illegal – as would be any actual use;
•   alls on Russia to restore its former respect amongst the international community by affirming non-use of nuclear weapons and by ending the war.

Nuclear Weapons Use Is illegal
“The USA nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not provide a precedent for the use of nuclear weapons – and especially not for the first use in any conflict. The nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were affirmed as illegal by the Tokyo District Court in 1963 (Shimoda Case).”

“In addition, the threat or use of nuclear weapons was affirmed as generally illegal by the International Court of Justice in 1996, with the only possible exception being a case of self defence when the very survival of a state is at stake. The very survival of Russia is not threatened in this war.

“It would only be threatened if Russia launched a nuclear war and then might face nuclear retaliation for such an unwarranted, illegal and suicidal act.”
— Excerpted from the NoFirstUse Global Open Letter to President Putin and the people of Russia.

NoFirstUse Global is a network of organizations, academics, policy makers and civil society advocates working cooperatively for the adoption of no-first-use policies by nuclear-armed States, the support for such policies from nuclear allied countries, and the implementation of such policies to help achieve broader nuclear risk-reduction, non-proliferation and disarmament measures.

NoFirstUse Global
PragueVision Institute for Sustainable Security
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