Saturday, March 23, 2024

Moscow Considering Withdrawal from UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 19 – Nikolay Kharitonov, chairman of the Duma committee on the far east and Arctic, says that Moscow is currently discussing the possible denunciation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, an action that would free Russia’s hand in some ways but end its hopes to use LOS arrangements to confirm its own demands and aspirations.

            The Duma committee chairman says that “we will not continue to be a part of it to our detriment,” because “as Vladimir Puitn says, we are no longer going to believe their words” (

            But Tore Henriksen, a Norwegian legal specialist on the Arctic, tells The Barents Observer that he “is not sure what [Moscow] would gain from it.” Even if it did pull out, it would still be bound by many of the treaty’s provisions as customary law and would not be in a position to use the UN to ratify its claims on the Arctic (

            Henriksen’s comments suggest that Moscow’s suggestion that it will denounce the treaty reflects its anger that the UN is not moving more quickly to agree to Russia’s demands and that Kharitonov’s words may be more a negotiating ploy than any indication of what Moscow will ultimately do.

            (On Moscow’s diplomatic strategy at the United Nations on this point, see, and  

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