Ukraine Joins UN Protocol Against Illicit Firearms

Apr 04, 2013, 07:15 ET from Worldwide News Ukraine

KYIV, April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Ukrainian parliament voted in favor of the law regulating the country's joining the UN Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The document aims to create a complex international system of firearms trafficking control and promote cooperation between the participating parties.  The respective decision has been voted in by 386 (of 415 present) MPs on April 2, 2013.

The Protocol against Illicit Firearms was introduced in May of 2001 and came into force in 2005. As of April 2, 2013, the document has been introduced by nearly 100 states. With the decision to join the Protocol, Ukraine demonstrates consistent cooperation with international community in combating transnational crime, as well as goes in line with the Easter European country's Action Plan on visa liberalization with the EU, reads the explanatory note to the law.

Ukraine has been positioning itself as a peaceful country since the declaration of independence. Once the Soviet Union has ceased to exist, Ukraine gradually rid itself of the military heritage. The Eastern European country affirmed its non-nuclear status in the Constitution and the declaration "On the State Sovereignty of Ukraine". In December 1994, Ukraine joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and proclaimed its non-nuclear status. The last nuclear warhead was shipped from Ukraine to Russia in 1996. In March 2012, Ukraine fulfilled its obligations to completely remove the highly-enriched uranium stock from its territory.

The second stage of demilitarization of Ukraine within NATO's Partnership for Peace program started in July 2012. In 3.5 years it is planned to dispose of 76,000 tons of off-grade ammunition (mélange, grenade launcher fillers, etc.). Having started in 2006, the program will last for 12 years. Ukraine is also transferring from using a conscript army to contract military service. It is expected that 2013 will be the last year of conscription in the country.

Ukraine's peace keeping efforts complement the country's contribution to global peace. At the moment, Ukraine carries out peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Kosovo, and Liberia. As the ruling OSCE chairman, Ukraine is also promoting peace in the region, e.g. facilitating the continuance of Transnistria conflict negotiations.

SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine