OdCNP Fellows took part at the EUNDC Ad Hoc Seminar "War in Ukraine: The impact on the international security architecture"

On May 16-17, 2022 Polina Sinovets and Iryna Maksymenko participated in the EU Ad Hoc Seminar of the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Consortium "War in Ukraine: The impact on the international security architecture: non-proliferation, disarmament, arms control, export controls".

The meeting took place in a hybrid manner, with some participants attending the meeting in-person while the rest of participants joined virtually via Zoom.

The aim of this ad hoc seminar is to bring together leading European experts as well as EU officials and representatives of EU Member States to reflect on the first lessons to be learned from the Russian invasion war against Ukraine in terms of international security. The conduct of operations on the ground is already providing useful lessons in terms of missiles and emerging technologies, but also in terms of non-conventional threats: threats to civilian nuclear facilities, the link between nuclear deterrence and threats of use, chemical and biological issues, among others. The EU's response in terms of sanctions and export controls also needs to be analysed in detail. Finally, the impact of war on the European security architecture and the wider global order, especially the global nuclear order, is already considerable: what form this impact will take in the years to come and how to respond to it requires both rigorous and creative thinking.

Dr. Polina Sinovets discussed the growing role of the nuclear factor with a focus on Russia's war against Ukraine. She noted that Moscow’s nuclear threats made during the course of the Russia’s war against Ukraine have to be addressed in the complex analysis of the combined internal (Russian doctrines) and external (the international reactions) factors, putting the light on the Kremlins’ reasoning for the nuclear coercion. Implications of such nuclear threats as well as possible scenarios of the nuclear weapons use by Russia will be suggested, as to provide an overview of the possible outcomes of the Russian nuclear coercion for the future role of nuclear weapons, the NPT regime, and the international world order.

Dr. Iryna Maksymenko drew attention to Russia's nuclear narratives and the impact of war on Ukraine on the security assurances. She stressed that security guarantees by nuclear-weapon states (NWS) are a tool used by non-nuclear weapons states (NNWS) to control nuclear proliferation. NNWS require security guarantees in cases where they have strong concerns about threats to national security from other states, mainly NWS. Ukraine is one such example. The Budapest Memorandum, which was signed in exchange for the denuclearization of Ukraine, provided positive and negative guarantees on Ukraine’s security. However, it failed to prevent Russia from exerting political and economic pressure, drawing ‘red lines’ and making unilateral changes to its land and sea borders with Ukraine. Following the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, Russia’s aggressive policy towards Ukraine was compounded by a large-scale military invasion in February 2022 and threats of the use of nuclear weapons. Experts and politicians are discussing the long-term consequences of President of Russia Vladimir Putin’s threat of use of nuclear weapons in the modern world, which include an enhanced raison d’être for North Korea’s and Iran’s nuclear options as well as reducing the incentives for nuclear disarmament. In a broader sense, further disarmament and non-proliferation efforts will require alternative approaches, as well as increased credibility of the major powers’ security assurances.