France also released the statement, underscoring that the five powers reiterated their determination for nuclear arms control and disarmament. They would continue bilateral and multilateral approaches to nuclear arms control, it said.
The declaration comes despite a UN decision last week to postpone a key arms-control meeting in New York – originally scheduled for February – due to rising COVID-19 infections.
Diplomats had been scheduled to meet to review the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the 1970 accord designed to limit the spread of atomic arms.
Under the accord, China, Russia, the UK, the United States and France were all granted dispensations to maintain stockpiles as long as they continued working toward the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.
The urgency to reduce the risks posed by weapons of mass destruction has come into greater focus amid recent talks designed to lower tensions between the White House and Kremlin, which administer the world’s biggest nuclear arsenals. The two adversaries are spending billions of dollars to modernise weapons systems, even as they occasionally work together to stem proliferation of weapons technologies.
The statement comes amid increased geopolitical tensions between Moscow and NATO countries over concerns about Russia’s military build-up near neighbouring Ukraine. Moscow says it can move its army around its own territory as it deems necessary.
Last Thursday US President Joe Biden told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that a possible move on Ukraine would draw sanctions and an increased US presence in Europe.