GENEVA, October 1. /TASS/. A trilateral security pact between Australia, the UK and the US (AUKUS) allowing Canberra to create a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines poses a challenge to the international non-proliferation regime, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov reported on Friday.
"It’s a great challenge to the international non-proliferation regime," he noted recalling that within the framework of the AUKUS alliance, Australia will acquire technologies to construct nuclear-powered submarines and can become among the five countries with a similarly capable fleet.
"We are concerned especially by the statements produced earlier in the year in London on future prospects for expansion of its nuclear capabilities. [We’re] also concerned by the most recent announcement by the US, the UK and Australia to develop a technologically advanced partnership that could allow Australia after eighteen months of consultations and some years of practical efforts to acquire nuclear-powered submarines in sufficient numbers to become among the first five to possess this type of similar capability," the diplomat said.
On September 15, Australia, the UK and the US announced the establishment of a new security partnership in the Indo-Pacific region - AUKUS. Under the agreement, Canberra plans to build at least eight US-designed nuclear-powered submarines with the first ones among them coming into service in 2036 as well as to reequip its armed forces with US-produced cruise missiles. Due to this, Australia terminated a defense contract with France, the largest in its history.