LHCb detector at CERN

CERN to end collaboration with Russia and Belarus from 2024

Image credit: Dreamstime

The CERN Council has declared its intention to terminate cooperation agreements with the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus at their expiration dates in 2024, as a response to the invasion of Ukraine.

The CERN Council, which oversees the world's largest particle accelerator, has publicly opposed the “illegal” military invasion of Ukraine, supported by Belarus, and is looking to cut ties with both nations.

In its latest meeting, the Council announced its plans to terminate the organisation’s International Cooperation Agreements (ICAs) with the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus after their 2024 expiration dates. However, the Council is open to amending this decision in the light of developments in Ukraine.

The ICA with Belarus will last until June 2024, while the one with Russia expires in December 2024.

“CERN was established in the aftermath of World War II to bring nations and people together for the peaceful pursuit of science,” the statement said.

“Member States recalled that the core values of the organisation have always been based upon scientific collaboration across borders as a driver for peace, and stressed that the aggression of one country against another runs counter to these values.”

CERN, the historic acronym for the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, usually signs five-year long International Cooperation Agreements, ICAs, which are tacitly renewed for the same period unless a written notice of termination is provided by one party to the other at least six months prior to the renewal date.

The Council had originally grappled with its response to the invasion, as almost 7 per cent of its 18,000-odd researchers from around the world were linked to Russian institutions before the war broke out.

Nonetheless, this decision follows the Council’s condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in March 2022 and it includes a waiving of the remaining fees that Ukraine was expected to pay to retain CERN membership. The other members will instead cover the difference by increasing their 2022 contributions, according to the organisation.

“Yesterday’s Council’s decision confirms the strong condemnation of the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation aided by Belarus, while leaving the door ajar for continued scientific collaboration should conditions allow in the future,” said CERN director-general Fabiola Gianotti.

The Council will also review CERN’s future cooperation with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in advance of its expiration date in January 2025.

The announcement comes as CERN's Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, is in the process of launching its third run this summer.

Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.

Recent articles