- Sputnik International, 1920, 21.09.2021
On 15 September, the US, UK, and Australia announced the new trilateral AUKUS defence partnership. While the partners said it's designed to protect and defend "our shared interests in the Indo-Pacific", some experts believe the true purpose of the partnership is to counter China.

Russia Hopes AUKUS Will Abandon Nuclear Submarine Project, Envoy in Vienna Says

© AP PhotoU.S. nuclear-powered submarine USS Providence crosses the Suez canal in Ismailia, Egypt
U.S. nuclear-powered submarine USS Providence crosses the Suez canal in Ismailia, Egypt - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.11.2021
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Moscow expects that Australia, the UK and the US will abandon plans to implement the project on nuclear submarines as part of the AUKUS partnership, Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia's permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, said Saturday.
“We hope that in the long run common sense will prevail and following the 18 months that the AUKUS participants took for additional discussions of the nuclear submarine project, they will come to the conclusion that it is necessary to curtail the implementation of the project, with the opinion of the international community in mind,” Ulyanov said at a discussion of the IAEA Board of Governors on AUKUS, as cited by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
He also said that it was fundamentally important for the IAEA chief to regularly inform the Board of Governors on the agency's interaction with AUKUS.
"It is necessary to ensure maximum transparency and accountability. Member states have the right to receive a complete picture of what is happening," Ulyanov stressed.
Chinese flag - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.11.2021
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Moscow voices concern about the secrecy around the AUKUS alliance between the US, the UK, and Australia, and is waiting for answers to its questions, Ulyanov added.
"We are concerned by the fact that there are still information vacuum and a complete absence of transparency around AUKUS over two months after the initiative was announced on September 15, 2021," Ulyanov said.
Russia's representative mentioned that Moscow keeps monitoring the situation around AUKUS, and stresses that it is obvious now that the partnership holds significant risks for the international security.
"The plans to construct nuclear submarines for Australia's Navy with assistance of the US and the UK, as part of AUKUS, have a destabilizing impact on the Non-Proliferation Treaty," Ulyanov said, adding that Moscow is still waiting for an exhaustive answer on what fuel will be used in nuclear propulsion reactors in the submarines.
In mid-September, Australia, the US and the UK announced the new trilateral defense partnership, which forced Canberra to give up on a $66 billion contract with France to develop 12 state-of-the-art conventionally powered attack submarines, as the alliance promises to enhance Australia's fleet with nuclear-powered submarines.

The announcement led to a diplomatic spat between France and the alliance members, with Paris notably temporarily withdrawing its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra. Earlier in November, French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters that he was certain that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had lied to him.
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