This week, the UK has hosted a team from the Russian Arms Control Verification Agency to inspect UK defence units in-line with our obligations under the Vienna Document.
The Vienna Document came into force in 1990 and currently has 57 participating States, including Russia. Designed to promote mutual trust and transparency, it commits participating States to accept a number of inspection visits by other members each year, in order to verify there are no undeclared military capabilities or activities of concern.
The UK’s lead officer for Arms Control implementation, Wing Commander Danny Endruweit, Commanding Officer of the UK’s Joint Arms Control Implementation Group (JACIG), oversaw the inspection:
This week we welcomed a team from Russia and Belarus to the UK for a Vienna Document mission. Such missions are commonplace, reciprocal and have been going on for many years. We last welcomed Russia to the UK in April last year, and we conducted an inspection in Russia in January.
When these missions occur in the UK, my unit acts as the escorts for the inbound delegation. We ensure that the UK meets its international obligations, smooth the interaction between the visiting team and the UK military, and provide assurances to both sides that everything is being conducted in an accordance with the specifications of the agreement.
So why do we do it? Even at times of heightened political tension we stick to our values, and honour our agreements. The UK is a champion of the rules based system upon which all our security depends.
Conventional Arms Control policy is provided by the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office through the Joint Unit on Euro Atlantic Security Policy. The United Kingdom remains fully committed to the Vienna Document, to its principles and to the benefits we have derived, and continue to derive, from its admirable aims and objectives. The UK firmly support its positive impact on Euro-Atlantic Security – including the transparency, certainty and predictability that are delivered through its implementation.