Round-table transcript "Ukrainian crisis - is there any influence over the NPT regime?"

Polina Sinovets

Let me start our roundtable which is dedicated to the implications and influence of the Ukrainian crisis on NPT regime. I am very glad to see you all here. I think the Ukrainian crisis plays great role in the transformation of the system of the international relations after the Cold War. I think that is one of the signs that the system is in crisis. We are here to discuss it. I think this is a great and valuable opportunity for us to hear opinions from brilliant scientists from the different countries. It’s really great we are all here and we can exchange our opinions.

We’ll start with the fact that the world is different now. We have finally understood that the world has become very different since the end of the Cold War. Something very different happens, such like for the first time in the post-Cold War history: the territory of the independent state was annexed by another state. Moreover something which is very crucial for the NPT regime is the fact that the permanent member of the UN Security Council, moreover, the official nuclear state has annexed the territory of the non-nuclear state. And the state with the biggest nuclear arsenal has annexed the territory of another state which denied one of the biggest nuclear potentials in the world. In this connection I would like to say that I believe that Russia has made the great contribution into the erosion of the NPT regime which in fact is the product of Moscow’s efforts done during the Cold War. I think this is one of the biggest pushes and one of the biggest contributions into the erosion of the NPT regime made by Moscow, and one of the greatest pushes for the non-nuclear states to revise their options. I would not like to say that it could happen tomorrow, may be it even will not happen in 5 coming years. But I believe in 10 – 15 years we might witness the situation when some special states which are still considering the possibility of their nuclear choice might change their point of view as for the non-nuclear development. And it will be the result of the present situation when in fact the hybrid war in Ukraine is waged under the umbrella of nuclear weapons and deterrence of any kind of interference from the third side into the situation by the greatest nuclear potential in the world. And in the same time Russia’s military doctrine gives the possibility to use the nuclear weapon regionally and gives a possibility to deter any kind of aggression and provides and proclaims the possibility of de-escalation of the regional conflict with the help of the nuclear weapons. In this regard I’d like to say that Russia possesses the biggest arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons in the world which is of course one of the tools of nuclear threats now and one of the tools of manipulation. We know that Russia pursues the strategy of the manipulation with the nuclear weapons threats. The number of statements of the Russian officials made last time has become much bigger in quantity than it was during the previous times. I don’t want to say that the nuclear weapon has become the most important tool of the Russian strategy. But undeniably it is important for doing of some political steps of conducting Russia’s current international policy. In this connection I would like to discuss the issue of tactical nuclear weapons as a tool of policy or just as a tool of the military policy of the state. And Oleksiy Izhak is going to say something on this point.

Oleksiy Izhak

Thank you. In fact, I don’t believe that this current crisis could undermine. But the influence exists, and one of these influences is the tactical nuclear weapons problem. I’ll try to explain it. I’ll start with the description of the situation, and then I’ll try to explain the mechanisms through which the Ukrainian crisis made an influence on NPT regime.

The NPT itself doesn’t differ tactical and strategic nuclear weapons.

Vague terminology

The NPT does not differentiate nuclear weapons by types. According the military vision strategic weapons have a mission to destroy enemy's ability to wage a war. Tactical weapons are used on a battlefield. As a rule, strategic nuclear weapons have longer delivery distance and bigger yield. But these criteria are not strict. Thanks to long history of SALT/START talks we have pretty clear definition what weapons are regarded strategic in American and Russian views. All other nuclear weapons may be designated non-strategic. Terms "tactical" and "non-strategic" in most cases are synonyms. But as far as Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty gives its own definitions we have to distinguish battlefield and intermediate weapons, which used against rear echelons.

Anyway, START and INF treaties does not give comprehensive notion what is strategic and what is non-strategic. One may notice that France, for example, believes all its nuclear weapons are strategic while on START/INF background some of them are clearly tactical. The other thing is that these treaties deal with delivery systems, not nuclear weapons themselves. No one outside close circle of nuclear authorities know it for certain, but there are a lot of suggestions that at least some nuclear cores (this is nuclear explosive devices themselves) are the same or interchangeable for strategic and non-strategic weapons.

Regime for non-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe

Considerable parts of non-strategic weapons of the United States, Russia (and other USSR successive counties) are prohibited under INF treaty of 1987. Under this treaty ground- based ballistic and cruise missile with range from 500 to 5 500 km were eliminated. The US seem to have eliminated or converted by now all the warheads from these missiles, while Russia may have retained some small amount. This exacerbates the problem of introducing by Russia a new ground-launched cruise missile which very likely has a prohibited distance. Basic regime for tactical nuclear weapons in Europe besides INF is politically, but not judicially binding. It is based on so called Presidential Nuclear Initiatives.

In September and October 1991, U.S. President George Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev announced unilateral, but reciprocal initiatives on drastic reductions of tactical nuclear weapons. They were not specifically European, but influenced first of all European theater of war.

United States promised to withdraw from overseas bases all land-based tactical nuclear weapons and all sea-based tactical nuclear weapons from surface ships, submarines, and naval aircraft. During one year most of them were dismantled. Additionally, in late 1991, NATO decided to reduce by about half the number of weapons for nuclear-capable aircraft, based in Europe.

Soviet Union replied with commitment to withdraw and destroy all nuclear artillery ammunition and warheads for tactical missiles, remove warheads for nuclear anti-aircraft missiles and destroy some of them, destroy all nuclear land-mines; and remove all naval non-strategic weapons from submarines and surface ships and ground-based naval aviation, destroying some of them. Russia conformed these soviet obligations. Yet, the process of reductions was not so rapid as for USA, possibly due to bigger numbers and financial constrains.

Actual numbers

The only U.S. type of tactical nuclear weapons for European theater are B-61 bombs. There are roughly 700 of them with up to 200 in Europe. United States are conducting now a program aimed to extend lifetime of B-61s far beyond 2020.

Russian stockpile is much bigger and more diverse. It is believed that Russia has about 2000 tactical nuclear weapons, most of them for European theater of war. This number includes bombs and short range missiles for aircraft, warheads for air and missile defense, and for navy cruise missiles. At the same time, quantitative imbalance in favor of Russia to much extent is compensated by greater readiness of NATO nuclear forces. All Russian weapons are in central storages, while NATO's B-61 bombs are kept by aircraft.

The United States under Obama Administration have supported the idea of deeper reduction of nuclear arms and expanding them on tactical ones. The last unsuccessful attempt was made in 2013. Russia rejected the idea demanding instead inclusion in any new treaty of ballistic missile defense.

The United Kingdom abandoned tactical nuclear weapons and retained only "Trident-2" on submarines. They are strategic by nature, but some missiles may have non-strategic roles, may be, a couple missiles per submarine. France on its part have up to 50 short range air- surface missiles. But France does not participate in the NATO nuclear planning group at all. So, its forces are completely independent and linked to NATO only politically.

Obligations under the NPT that are important to tactical nuclear weapons

According to the NPT, it is not possible to transfer nuclear weapons or control over such weapons directly or indirectly. However, the deployment of nuclear weapons on the territory of non-nuclear-weapon States is not prohibited.

Since the text does not define what is meant by "to transfer" interpretations are possible. In fact, exactly what is meant by the requirement "not to transfer indirectly" - the process or the result? If the nuclear State were not to surrender national control, but made preparations for the possible transfer of that control, including technical training, military hardware and the establishment of approval procedures, the situation would be debatable.

The other important thing is the question of final aims of the NPT. Is it to prevent nuclear war or to achieve zero levels of nuclear weapons? The text of the Treaty leaves possibility for both interpretations. Yet, it should not be forgotten that the 1995 Conference, which extended the NPT indefinitely, gives only one indirect reference to the need to prevent nuclear war, whereas the disarmament aspect of the NPT is emphasized.

NATO’s Nuclear Sharing

United States have special agreements in frames of NATO with Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey. These agreements provide, firstly, for pilots from these countries to receive training in delivering United States nuclear warheads, secondly, for aircraft from these countries to be certified for the delivery of American tactical nuclear weapons, and, thirdly, for these countries to have negative control (right of veto on use) over the nuclear weapons deployed on their territory.

The NATO does not consider these procedures infringing the NPT. The NATO procedures were established before the NPT was signed and the United States declared at the time that it interpreted the provisions of the NPT as not affecting its military co-operation with its allies. There were no objections raised at the time, including from the USSR. The end of the Cold War did not have any legal effect on the NPT. Therefore, NATO’s nuclear sharing remains lawful. It is important to note that during the preparation of the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russia signed in 1997, despite all the ideological strains, Russia did not make a fuss about of NATO’s nuclear arrangements. The objections were to any possibility of eastward advance of NATO’s nuclear infrastructure.

In a nutshell, NATO legal view is following. The main NPT aim is to preclude a nuclear war in Europe. Thus, if a war breaks the NPT loses its force and nuclear sharing procedures may be legally activated.

Nevertheless, another view of the problem is also justified. The objectives and principles on which the Treaty was prolonged indefinitely in 1995 point unambiguously to the disarmament aspect of the NPT, including the need to achieve zero levels of nuclear weapons. This means that until the objectives of the Treaty are achieved, it will remain binding, even in the event of a nuclear war. In other words, since 1995, NATO’s nuclear arrangements are no longer a form of preparation for the Treaty’s losing its legal force. It is now a question of preparing for a possible violation of the NPT.

Nevertheless, it cannot be said that NATO’s nuclear arrangements in themselves infringe articles I and II of the Treaty. The existing procedures do not lead to transfer control over nuclear weapons, only give possibility for it. The NATO Strategic Concept of 2010 refers to a possibility of further reductions in nuclear weapons, both within the alliance and globally, in the future. This includes complete withdrawal of U.S. bombs from Europe. The condition is "Russian agreement to increase transparency on its nuclear weapons in Europe and relocate these weapons away from the territory of NATO members". The same vision gives the NATO Deterrence and Defense Posture Review finished in 2012. In 2013 the Alliance established the Special Advisory and Consultation Committee on Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation with a dual mandate as an advisory body on forming positions regarding NATO-Russian transparency on tactical nuclear weapons and a forum in which the United States can consult with its allies on the full range of U.S.-Russian strategic stability topics.

Russia in recent years seemed to considerably increase reliance on nuclear weapons, including tactical ones. But, she did not go to the preemptive use of nuclear weapons. Indeed, Russia even narrowed conditions. The version of the Military doctrine of 2000 allowed using of nuclear weapons "in situations critical to the national security". The version of 2010 speaks about situations "that would put in danger the very existence of the state" The newest Russian military doctrine of 2014 just repeats this formula.

The problem is that Russia indicates, that even situation in Ukraine "would put in danger the very existence of the (Russian) state". On many occasions during last year Russia communicated to the West this notion. One of ideas aired by Russia was especially dangerous. It suggested that demonstrative use of tactical nuclear weapons, say just one device somewhere in eastern Ukraine, may deescalate the crisis. Russia meant to intimidate NATO and dissuade it from active position on Ukrainian crisis. Instead, NATO reacted with military build-up. This spring Russia stopped to escalate military confrontation with the West, but did not reversed it and just has frozen on pretty high level.

Situation around tactical nuclear weapons in Europe is deadlocked. NATO is ready for more transparency on reciprocal basis. United States would support inclusion of tactical weapons in further START negotiations. Russia says it is possible only if a new treaty on nuclear disarmament would include limitations on ballistic missile defense. Until United State disagree to it, Russia may introduce military countermeasures, including abandoning INF treaty. It seems the situation will remain frozen on this stage until 2020 when the NATO members participating in nuclear sharing procedures will have to decide on replacement of their dual- capable aircraft. By that time Russian policy might change as well.

Polina Sinovets

Thank you very much, Oleksiy. In this connection I have one question to Oleksiy. Maybe it is not connected with the tactical weapons directly, but it is very important for my understanding of the future of Russian modernization. As I know there are agreements between Yuzhmash and Russia on providing services for the Russian facilities. They were stopped after the start of the conflict. And Russia is going to use its own facilities for the same functions. At the same time as I know there is some kind of the legal custom that only the maternal industry could fulfill these functions. I heard from Sutyagin that this would be dangerous when the services are not provided by the maternal facility. As a representative of the Dnepropetrovsk missile industry school what do you think about this?

Oleksiy Izhak

It is risky for Russia, but Russia decided that it has enough knowledge, documentation, and experience. So Russia transferred the authority to oversee SS-18 to the production plan which produces liquid fuel for ballistic missiles for submarines.

Polina Sinovets

But what do you think is it wise?

Oleksiy Izhak

It is wise politically, but dangerous technically. In fact they plan to retire all Ukrainian produced missiles till 2020. So if nothing happens during these 5 years nothing dangerous will happen. It is risky but not so risky as this one may imagine. There are risks which sometimes happen to missiles but these would not be the nuclear incidents.

Hanna Shelest

We should probably take into account that in 1996 we already had the military equipment crisis with Russia about the tanks because we were producing almost 50-50. When we broke the contract, for both Ukraine and Russia it was impossible to produce tanks. But in two years these tanks were already produced in Russia and provided to Iraq. Theoretically everything is possible. Technically we have enough engineers and other specialists in Russia who accumulate this knowledge. But the rationality and the amount of money to be spent – this is another question. However the history of the last years showed that even if Russia does not have money they can take it from anywhere but give it to military. So it should be very big economic crisis not to allow them producing of the missiles because as we see the military budget is the only budget which is not really cut because of the sanctions. They try to keep it as much as possible.

But in general, from the very tactical issues, for me it is interesting that, except of the Indian-Pakistan conflict the threat of the use of the nuclear weapon was almost absent in the rhetoric. Not about strategic documents, but rhetoric. Politicians were using different threats, configurations but from the beginning of the 1990s mostly, most of the countries were not speculating this issue. And especially when we are talking about the bigger countries. India and Pakistan are probably the only cases when they tested the nuclear weapon for the first time. Pakistan said that that would be weapon which any of Muslim country would be able to use etc. So it was perceived as a theoretical threat to use this weapon. However for the last one and half year more and more Russian politicians speak about the possible use of the nuclear weapon. The same rhetoric that was in 1950s may be. The rhetoric is extremely similar. Because of this and I’m coming to another question that it is definitely overused in rhetoric, it is overused by some changes inside of the country. At the same time it was paid little attention from the political experts to this point. Because for most of the biggest security forums since March last year it was only one event where I really heard that the experts and politicians discussed what are the implications of the Ukrainian crisis in terms of the guarantees provided to the other countries. It seems to me that was the Brussels forum last year. The US and UK members of parliament discussed this issue. Other events discussed rather sanctions than security guarantees. So I think when we are discussing the NPT regime, its development in the future (because now we have such talks) it is necessary to speak about not only the technical issues, about what can be prohibited, can be limited or can be just withdrawn from some territories. But we also should speak on the political implications, not only military but political implications. Should it be connected with some guarantees of the national security? Or should the nuclear weapon become purely the military issue without securitization in the political discourse of the countries. Should we pay attention to the statements of the top level politicians who are definitely not the experts in the use of the nuclear weapon but they know just that this is very big threat, so why not to use it? Because definitely we understand that the chance of the real use is extremely small. But the chances to destroy the political dialogue and politically clear understanding of the situation to become just psychologically afraid of the possibility of use can have a dramatic influence on other negotiations in terms of the arms control, human security, national sovereignty and guarantees.

Polina Sinovets

I am sure that this is a point we are speaking about. Fortunately now the nuclear weapon is still not something which can be really used in the battlefield. But this is an active tool of politics, and Russia has just brought this thing to the political discourse recently. And now we can’t say that the nuclear weapon could be used in the battlefield. It is just a political tool of manipulation. But the more you are using it in the rhetoric, the more you believe it can be used. I even guess that according to the statistics and opinion polls undertaken in Russia, like in comparison to the Cold War years when just everyone understood that any kind of use of the nuclear weapon will cause the destruction of the whole human civilization, it was even the initial for the first class school which was taught to all children. Now about 30 – 35 % of Russian people believe that the use of the nuclear weapon is not so frightful and will not destruct the civilization. And so about 30% of the Russian people support the use of the nuclear weapon by the Russian president. It means that the more you are speaking about the possibility to use the nuclear weapon the more it is usable in your mind. And the more it is usable in your mind that is more it is possible. And this is one of the most dangerous things in the current situation. Again this tendency becan not with beginning of the Ukrainian crisis of course because previously Russia proclaimed the same principle. But now it is multiplying and becoming more and more possible just like for understanding of the practice.

Now assessment of the role of the Ukrainian crisis on NPT regime will be developed by Sergiy Galaka.

Sergiy Galaka

I believe that the risk that current crisis in Ukraine and the failure of the Budapest memorandum will definitely have the negative consequences. May be we will not see the immediate negative influence. Some countries will pretend to behavior like “this is business as usual, nothing drastic happened”. On the surface it might seem that nothing drastic supposedly happened. But in the reality, in the minds of the policymakers, in the minds of the leaders of many countries who are thinking about the future risks that will definitely have the influence. So it will change the whole pattern of discussion between NPT members unavoidably. Because as we know NPT is based on the mutual trust, on mutual concessions, on balance of interests. And this very shaky and delicate balance was ruined by the recent events. I believe in the midterm it will definitely have the negative consequences for international security in general and for the nonproliferation regime in particular. The fact that one of the founding members of the United Nations, Permanent Member of UN Security Council, the country which objectively plays very important role in the international system has broken its promises, may be not legally binding guarantees. But these were assurances, political promises supported by the signatures of the main leaders of the key countries of that time, and annexed part of the territory of the sovereign country violating Helsinki Act, Ukrainian-Russian bilateral agreement and whatever was possible to violate. It was the first case when the European borders were changed after WWII. One might argue that the nonproliferation regime is not directly connected to the European and international security structures. But if you look even to the text of the NPT itself there is the direct reference to the UN Security Council. Key Council members have undertaken voluntarily certain obligations by providing negative security assurances by the resolution 255 in 1968. Further, promises were given in the resolution 984 in 1994. This was important for the climate of the mutual trust, for the atmosphere of discussions. Yesterday we discussed with Lars and our students the consequences which are immediate and negative, although not drastic. We considered the failure to adopt the joint document at the NPT Review conference. My understanding is that the countries decided not to risk trying to promote this document because it might cause the breaches in the opinions between nuclear and nonnuclear states.

What we have now? If this trust and the compromise on which NPT was based is broken there is a real risk that in the mid-term future the regional or global crisis might tend up in the number of countries threatening the NPT itself. We can’t predict what events would cause such crisis. But as recent events of last two years demonstrated, nobody could predict Russia would annex Crimea, would dare to shake the international security structure and ignore the international law. So definitely although not directly, but indirectly these events will influence both the European and international security structures and the NPT regime.

May be some experts would argue "Yes, but till now the NPT survived a lot of crises". Yes, it did. But if you recollect the Ukraine’s role in one of the important events 20 years ago. Ukraine fulfilled its obligations to become non-nuclear country. So it expected that other states which signed NPT will do their part. In fact the United States and Britain did provide political support to Ukraine, but unfortunately now we can state that it was not decisive for the crisis resolution. And the very fact that did not dare to act more decisively would make the leaders of some countries in the future to think twice about the possibilities which might be opened for risky approaches, which might involve attempts to develop the nuclear arms secretly. It would be the catastrophic scenario for the NPT.

So basically I think that it is very difficult to definitely state what concrete consequences for the regime might happen. But the very fact of the breach of the international law in general and of the Budapest memorandum (although it is not the legally binding document, but is important politically, symbolically, not only for Ukraine, but for other NPT members) it would definitely have negative consequences which could not be predicted in full length and depth by now.

The discussion about that how can we believe the country which acts according to the slogan “Do as I say, not as I do”, nobody could put in the doubt the development of the situation. So as the balance is shaking and risk is very real, so I believe the powers even those which try to pretend that nothing extraordinary has happened, are playing the bad role in this situation, because it did happen.

What can I say about the long standing problems for the NPT regime they are even more unpredictable. But again this case definitely will be in the books. And this would be the bad example of disfunctioning of the international security system in general. And NPT, one of the key regimes, which provides this security, which guarantees certain norms, certain principles for the implementing is also under definite risks.

The last point I would address is critically important how to minimize the risks. May be it might be produced some more positive ideas. But can face very prolonged and difficult period in international system development in general. Perhaps the future changes of the international system will include the UN SC council reform, the OSCE radical transformation to make this organization really viable and effective instrument in key security areas. It might be one of the results. And NPT is also in the risk zone. So the long standing period really requires from us to think about some fresh ideas to minimize this negative influence.

Polina Sinovets

Thank you very much. Now we have a comment from Thomas, and then Lars, and then Sergiy.

Thomas Jonter

I think it is important to distinguish between two phenomena that play similarity. Sergei has already touched upon them. There is one thing: we can talk about the risk within the NPT regime, and then about the European security structure or the European security architecture I would say. I think it is necessary to distinguish between those two, I would say, not completely separate processes, but somehow separate processes. And I agree with Oleksiy Izhak that in terms of the NPT regime I don’t see that many risks in the medium and short run. Of course that is problem because when we talk about the faith and trust building and so on and especially on Obama’s initiative for disarmament and so on. On the other hand the nuclear weapons states have the common interest to keep the NPT regime. We could clearly see that during the NPT Review conference. Of course, the references were made to the Ukrainian crisis. But not much as it could expect.

On the other hand, and we also saw this during the NPT Review conference, is the humanitarian initiative. 159 countries pushed for the talking, discussing of the humanitarian consequences of the nuclear weapons, pushing for norms of banning in the end of the nuclear weapons etc.

On the other hand let us speak clearly about this. The nuclear weapons states are not interested to move ahead in this direction. So that is the separate discussion because what they had done before the Crimean crisis, before the Ukrainian crisis, was to do this peaceful step by step. And their message during the Review conference was very clear about that.

So I am not so pessimistic. Ok, you are right, Sergei, some states may interpret this negatively, especially the security assurances, definitely. But we can see before, and I think the NPT regime will handle with this. However, the problem is the European security architecture. Here we have the problem. I mean everybody would agree that was a real violation of the international law, the annexation of Crimea, there is no question about that. And what we see is the build-up of the conventional forces of the western states, and also of the eastern states. No question about that. And that will have negative impact on trust building for many-many years definitely, at least for decade. So that is the problem, and it is serious enough.

Lars van Dassen

I agree with a lot of what was said here. I think there are a couple of risks. But they will be also managed, and they are manageable. It is also important to remember that some things will not give what is the trajectory of events.

Let me mention one thing that I think is a problem and going to be a growing problem. It relates towards what Sergei said. Russia is one of the founders of the UN system. Russia is one of the depositaries of the NPT. Then this state occupies the territory of another state. This occupied territory has the nuclear facilities which are under IAEA safeguards in Sevastopol. That is a setback, it is not a huge set back. But in terms of symbolic it is a setback, and it is a problem.

Then according to the records of IAEA the University of Sevastopol and the research reactor are still under Ukrainian safeguards. So this is a deadlock, and there are no expectations to solve this problem. And Russia has said that the IAEA can stay out of the facility.

I think there is a big problem on how the Russian argumentation over the Budapest memorandum has been done. I think this was a surprisingly a little. To study the Russian position it is better to look on the speech of the Russian ambassador during the Prepcom conference in 2014.There was actually very long Russian statement, and it said that the Budapest memorandum is not something that obliges Russia towards Ukraine or the other powers. The Budapest memorandum creates an obligation for Russia vs. OSCE, and not toward Ukraine. Then if you go in the speech and read the written text of the speech you can see this.

So that is the central piece of the legal issues: safeguards in Ukraine and finding ways of getting through the arguments in a way that served to the national purposes. And then we can say how dangerous this is. There is one danger, and that is the risks credibility in Russia as the depositary power which plays the central role in NPT. Because directly now more and more states want the NPT to go away. They want the NPT to be replaced with the nuclear weapons convention. And there are a number of countries which are usually strong supporters of the NPT system and Review Conferences. And some countries hope that when NPT collapses it would be possible to go to the nuclear weapons convention. And we have actually enemies from two sides now.

If we look at the risks we should say that Russia should be aware of the risks for itself. And one risk is already playing out. That is that the international credibility towards the Russian civilian nuclear industry is falling day by day. Russia is actively expanding internationally. And it signs the contracts with more and more countries to build the nuclear power. But from what I heard from people who are working in Rosatom not even one of these contracts is going to be viable economically for Russia. So the more projects they are building the more they are going to suffer economically from the nuclear power plants which they built.

I don’t think that Russia can actively neglect the full scope of its obligations. So a lot of risks can actually occur. There are other issues, and I think, I could mention them later.

Sergiy Glebov

Thank you very much. Before I leave you because of my department obligations I would like to get back to the question what actually the international community should do in order to guarantee the security for the countries like Ukraine. To my mind there are two urgent and priority steps to do. The first one is to start discourse at the very political level, at the top level, on how to narrow the deterrence of the UN SC members, of Russia. I know it is hard to do. But the security cuts are much more than the political ambitions.

Secondly we should make lessons from the Budapest memorandum case. It is obvious that this memorandum failed to guarantee to Ukraine any security. To my mind there is a strong need to expand any security guarantees including nuclear one beyond traditional international law like classical interstate agreements and memorandums.

I’d like to propose the option which actually could guarantee on the interstate level security for anyone. In a way it looks like a business contract. Any act which could be treated as business contract with all the set of the rights and obligations and sanctions which could overcome any detail. This kind of the revolution in the international law, but we all know that the ground core of any international system – this is the ground of law. This is the ground of good, strong words to understand for anyone that there is no chance to neglect what has been written in a very document which could be treated as a business contract.

As far as we are talking about NPT we are talking about interstate activity. We should also think more about non-governmental and non-state actors, agents of the nuclear security. And of course, even on the international and interstate level we could work on any guarantees. But it is not possible to guarantee protection from the terrorist groups which could use dirty bombs. There were some signals in the eastern part of Ukraine on that someone could use dirty bombs to attack Ukrainian positions.

Lars made very topical point on the nuclear facilities in Crimea. Russia says there is no any violation of any regime because Crimea is the territory of Russia. And Russia says you can’t use any nuclear facilities on our territory without any additional obligation as far as we are in the center of this system from the very beginning. On the other hand, Ukraine and the rest of the world consider Crimea the Ukrainian territory. So in this case we can see the clear contradiction on all levels. And this is the challenge for the international community. How to talk with Russia in front of this particular challenge? I think there are a lot of questions to discuss, and see you later. Thank you very much.

Polina Sinovets

Thank you, Sergiy. There are many questions. I guess one of the most problematic issues of the international relations is the fact that the international law, in contrary to the internal law, does not have really working mechanisms for the enforcement. If one of the most influential participants of the international enforcement mechanisms is the guilty side who will do the job? So the system based on the results of the second Cold War already proves its ineffectiveness. And in this connection the situation with the NPT and this post-Cold War system should be changed. But the question is how to be changed. Because usually the regime is changed by the big war. And now fortunately we don’t have such a war. And then who will initiate these changes? Of course this is a sort of philosophical question, and we can discuss it. Grigory Perepelitsa prepared a report on this.

Seregiy Galaka

Sorry, I’d like to make a short remark. Thomas has said I have more skeptical approach to the possible influence of the Ukrainian crisis on NPT regime. May be, but we cannot predict what influence this event might have. The history knows insignificant events which had unproportional influence on the other events. Thomas is right when he has spoken about OSCE. Its significance decreased.

Let me also mention my personal experience. In 1995 I participated in NPT Review Conference. One Indian who participated in the Indian nuclear program invited me for coffee to the lobby. He was indignant how Ukraine could lose the chance to secure itself. And his final statement was very definite: we should never follow your example. We will go nuclear. And as we know by the autumn 1995 India prepared its first official nuclear test. Then because of US pressure it shifted this test in time, but they did it. So that was the Indian reaction to the Ukrainian case in 1990-s. During our discussion we mentioned the cases of Saudi Arabia, Turkey. And they have already initiated the peaceful nuclear programs. These are big countries which have big ambitions. They could obtain a possibility to conduct secret underground nuclear program. There is also a risk of the regional destabilization there.

So, again, I am not stating that it is a definite inevitability. But during the crisis situation these things could have very bad influence. So I believe, in the end we have to discuss what kind of measures could minimize that negative effect.

Polina Sinovets

Now we have a presentation of Grigory Perepelytsa on Budapest memorandum.

Grigory Perepelitsa

At the beginning of my speech I would like to mention the definition of our round table “the Ukrainian crisis”. I disagree with this definition. What is the Ukrainian crisis? How we can define this crisis? Where is the drive force of this crisis? Is it the violation of the Budapest memorandum by Russia? Then we should speak not about the Ukrainian crisis. We should speak about the Russian crisis. Then we should speak about NPT crisis. Russia declares that we have the Ukrainian crisis. Putin says that the conflict of Donbas is not a problem of Russia. He stresses that it is a civil war, and therefore he calls it the Ukrainian crisis. But it is not the civil war.

Unfortunately the Ukrainian government agrees with the Russian definition that it is the Ukrainian crisis. But it is incorrectly to use this classification. Because using the sophisticated method Mr. Putin shifts the Russia’s role from the aggressor to the mediator. In reality we should say honestly that is a war. It is Russian-Ukrainian war. In this case this is the Russian-Ukrainian crisis or the crisis of the Russian-Ukrainian relations.

But there is one problem. I fully agree with Thomas, it is not a problem of Ukraine. It is also not a problem of the Russian-Ukrainian relations. I think that is a crash of all world order. It is a crisis of European and global security. This crisis showed as the global security structure is not effective in the new era of a multipolar world. Russia started this process of destruction of this world. All European and global structures don’t work unfortunately. As I know UN adopted more than 20 declarations on the Ukrainian issues. You can ask me, are there any declarations which have impact on the Russia’s behavior in this war. Do you remember at least one or two such declarations? I don’t remember. It means that the United Nations is ineffective in the new international conditions.


Now I’d like to speak about OSCE. Mr. Galaka has just explained what it is. But Sergei, I would like to ask you what is the function of OSCE? OSCE was found at the end of the Cold War. The main function of OSCE is to be mediator in the bipolar system between NATO and Warsaw pact, between the Soviet Union and the Unites States. This is a mediator of all European Community. We require from OSCE to be warrior. Unfortunately OSCE uses the function of the warrior in Donbas. Therefore this organization cannot be effective in the new situation and in new conditions.

European Union

We are grateful to EU for that this organization provides economic sanctions against Russian Federation. How effective are these sanctions? What we expect from the consequences of these sanctions? These sanctions can’t stop war. If we want to achieve peace in a peaceful way, without military tools, we, Ukrainians, should agree with our defeat, with our capitulation. Unfortunately sanctions could not help to achieve peace.

The next problem.

Of course, EU wants, but EU can’t solve this problem because the European Union does not have sufficient resources and instruments. You can tell me that the EU has European and security policy. But this is a virtual policy. In face of war it does not work.

The next risks and challenges are connected with the security regimes including nonproliferation regime. I mean first of all arms control. The CFE (Conventional Forces in Europe) treaty does not work because Russia withdrew from this treaty. Some NATO countries did not ratify this treaty.

Unfortunately just now there is a very big risk and challenge to Intermediate Range Missiles Treaty. When Russia withdraws from this treaty what will happen? Therefore I think that is a global crisis of the world order which was established at the end of Cold War.

Let us return to nonproliferation regime and risks and challenges for this regime in the new era of the multipolar system of the international relations. First of all, the failure of the security guarantees given to Ukraine made a big dangerous precedent. All countries which agreed to join NPT as non-nuclear countries will never believe in the guarantees from the guarantors, from Russia, from the United States and other countries which gave such guarantees.

Secondly, it is very negative that the states lost motivation to comply with the NPT regime.

The third challenge is that the authority of the United States and Russia as guarantors and mediators was significantly undermined. This means that Russia will continue to ignore such agreements and guarantees. Russia will not fulfill its obligations under NPT but will continue to be a member of NPT. This is also a big challenge.

The next challenge for the NPT regime in the new conditions. Russia’s violation of the Budapest memorandum will influence on US policy regarding disarmament. The failure of the Budapest memorandum showed the ineffectiveness of the security guarantees. Is this problem connected with the Article VI of the NPT? In this article the nuclear weapon states only promised to do actions for the full nuclear disarmament. It is not a guarantee. It is a promise. Therefore if we want to make NPT regime more effective we should revise Article VI. It should be strong responsibility to disarm for the nuclear weapon states.

Thomas Jonter

Let me talk on article VI and on what Grigory has said in the end of his speech. I think the problem is that the nuclear weapon states don’t see that way. They don’t see that that part of NPT is legally binding. They see that the nuclear disarmament has to be a separate process outside the NPT. And that is something on what Russia and the United States have been dealing for many years. Nothing has changed. We can discuss whether it is true or wrong. I don’t say it is a good thing. But nevertheless that is the interpretation of the nuclear weapons states. UK, France, and China also have interest to see that way.

Once again I don’t see there are negative challenges within the NPT regime. It could be, but I don’t think that some certain countries would pick up the globe because they are afraid the security guarantees don’t work. But I think the big challenge is the security architecture, both European and global security architecture. I think it is in a big damage. I think the European Union is guilty in this process as well. I would say the whole western side is guilty, but especially the EU, because after Cold War we were very naive. We thought that Russia established a market which would liberalize economy, and sooner or later it would be a democracy and would support the new world order based on human rights etc. But we know today that was an illusion. And that illusion became a concept and understanding that the EU should not really deal with security. That should be taken care by NATO.

And there is another problem. I think it relates to the security assurances problem. Because lately we have seen the shift of US interest away from Europe to China. And the Ukrainian crisis has so to speak highlighted this problem within EU and NATO. Of course, states have stopped to think about what is it the security guarantee? What is it security assurances? What does it mean in practice? We had a number of statements by president Obama regarding NATO members and US security assurances. I think we should discuss what are the security assurances.

I participated in the research project of the security assurances headed by the different US universities. During one conference we invited one State Department expert on security guarantees and people from Japan. And it was very interesting because Japan has also security guarantees from the United States. And Japan has different understanding of the security guarantees comparing to US perspective. For Japanese point of view, if it is at war the United States help them at once. A couple years ago the state department interpreted this situation in other way because there are many aspects of the conflict.

And there is a different kind of the security guarantees. Most of the security guarantees are secret.

To summarize, I don’t believe there is a big problem for the NPT regime because the crisis is not in the NPT regime, it is in the security architecture. Of course it is connected with the nuclear weapon but I think we have to be aware of this.

Hanna Shelest

I have few short comments on the Japanese issue. During the Brussels security forum in March 2014 just after Crimean annexation happened the Japanese Ambassador said openly before the media that if EU and NATO are not afraid of what just happened I would say that we are afraid because we can be the next one. Thus we can’t be sure that all these security guarantees which we have will work. My conclusion is that the changes about the security guarantees should probably go from those countries who trusted in these guarantees for them, but not from those who promised them.

Oleksiy Izhak

I have some remarks on the guarantees and the Budapest memorandum. I express my own view which not necessarily reflects the official position. In fact it contradicts to the official mainstream. I believe that the Iranian nuclear deal decreased the importance of the Budapest memorandum in terms of nonproliferation. Indeed Iran signed the deal knowing that the guarantees or assurances don’t work. But Iran did it. So after this deal is reached the negative consequences of breaching of the Budapest memorandum are not so important. And when Ukraine realizes this I believe, it will change its policy towards the nuclear issues. Until recently Ukraine tended to react on all threats to its security with renewal of discussion on its nuclear status. Some Ukrainian officials and experts said Ukraine had some potential to revive the nuclear status etc. May be for some period this new drive would be contained by US influence as a key partner. But in a longer term, I believe, several years, Ukraine will be more aligned with those forces in Europe who advocate for zero levels and for making greater pressures on the nuclear weapon states to reject the nuclear weapon. If the world were non-nuclear now Russia would not have so much influence in the world in the context of the Ukrainian crisis.

May be the new understanding of the guarantees and assurances is not a state, but a process. Some policy which minimizes the risks, and not just documents or mechanisms which automatically provide security. May be Russia supported the Iran deal because of this understanding. I believe that Russia has just forgotten about the Budapest memorandum. Or maybe it thought that it may always devise any argumentation on that. But I believe they have just forgotten about it. And when Russia has realized that is a problem it supported Iran nuclear deal also because of this aspect.

Grigory Perepelitsa

I fully agree with Oleksiy. Yes, of course, Russia forgot. But remember that Russia opened Pandorra box for proliferation regime.

Polina Sinovets

I would like to make a short comment for the Iranian nuclear deal. It is a very interesting point. In this sense this is a very interesting opinion. But at the same time I don’t know why I regarded this deal with Iran as a sort of not ultimate. But the Budapest memorandum looks like an ultimate guarantee or assurance. The Iranian deal looks from my point of view as a sort of the bargaining process. In case if any side is not satisfied with the results, I think, every side preserves the possibility to step away from this.

Oleksiy Izhak

I would put it in another way. Imagine just a model. What is important for nonproliferation? Before Iran deal one of the big issues was the Budapest memorandum and adherence to it. Now one of the most important things is Iran deal. It was possible to reach Iran deal even after the Budapest memorandum had been broken. Thus one phenomenon replaced the previous phenomenon.

Oleksandr Cheban

I’d like to continue to speak on Iran nuclear deal. It is interesting that when I defended my PhD dissertation several months ago, most Ukrainian experts who discussed this PhD, expressed the opinion that Iran would never sign that deal because it would be another Budapest memorandum, and Iran could see what happened with Ukraine and assurances for it which were listed in the memorandum. But as we see these pessimistic predictions were not realized.

However signing this deal could be not so positive for NPT regime as we hope. First of all, there is a big risk of breaking this deal. The republicans in US congress as well as the hardliners in Iran try to torpedo this deal. There is no guarantee that this deal will exist during the long time.

And there is also second big challenge. The Iran deal is not so good as it could be. According to the Belfer Center’s assessments before the deal Iran was able to produce the amount of fissile materials which is necessary to construct one nuclear bomb during only two months. After fulfilling the deal Iran will able to produce such amount of fissile materials during 12 months. But this is also not so much. So even if the Iran deal is fulfilled Iran will remain rather close to the nuclear weapons possession, and this could further destabilize the situation in the Middle East region and the whole world.

However I think this deal is better than nothing. The main positive result of this deal is that the international community received 10 additional months for preventing Iran from going nuclear if Iran decides to renew its nuclear weapons program. In this case it would be important to have additional months to try to persuade Iran not to obtain nuclear weapon by conducting talks and using sanctions.

But as I think this deal could be much better if the Ukrainian crisis had not happen. If Russia and the Western countries had no contradictions on the Ukrainian crisis, probably they could agree on more intensive pressure on Iran which would force Iranian leaders to make more concessions in the nuclear issues. But after beginning of the Ukrainian crisis Iran has remained one of the few countries which are still friendly to Russia. Therefore Russia was not interested to pressure on Iran. It seems that the Iranian negotiators felt how difficult it was for the US and Russian delegation to hide their contradictions on Ukraine during the talks with Iran, and the Iranians used these hidden contradictions to demand as much as possible concessions. It appears that the Ukrainian crisis forced the US government to agree with not so good provisions of the Iran deal although this decision is hardly criticized by most members of US Congress. In this crisis the United States don’t want to have two crises with Iran and Russia, and probably the reason why US agreed with the Iran deal is the desire to concentrate efforts on sanctions and other actions against Russia. The US Secretary of State John Kerry openly stated that US congress should ratify Iran deal because otherwise it would be much more difficult to deal with the Ukrainian crisis.

It appears that signing Iran deal harms Russia’s interest. After lifting sanctions Iran will sell more gas and oil, and this will lead to further decreasing of the oil prices and weakening of the Russian economic positions. So the Iran deal could reduce Russia’s possibilities to conduct more active policy in different areas including Ukraine.

Sergiy Galaka

I just wanted to note that these cases of Iran and Ukraine might influence each other but they are very different. Ukraine renounced its existing nuclear arsenal, and Iran was suspected in undertaking efforts to develop the nuclear weapon. But I agree that on the side of propaganda, of political atmosphere they are connected.

Pavel Tishakov

I’d like to shift conversation from Iran to Norway and also UK. From 2008 UK and Norwegian governments are engaged in the so called UK/Norway Initiative (UKNI). This initiative gives option for the non-nuclear weapon states in terms of possible verification of the nuclear disarmament. Many non-nuclear states stated that they had their own options in terms of what they can do for the NPT regime. And then 7 years ago the sort of technology for the non-nuclear weapon states was elaborate to engage these countries into the verification of the nuclear disarmament process without breaking the nonproliferation rules (not giving the knowledge on how the nuclear weapon is constructed).

This initiative consists of a range of exercises, students simulations. We proved that it is possible to build the information barriers to prevent looking at the containers with the nuclear weapons inside. And when the weapon is deconstructed you can follow this material until it is properly disposed. So it is possible with certain tools for the non-nuclear weapon states to be involved into the process.

I think, the crisis, we are now (whether it is Ukrainian crisis or Russian crisis), gives for Ukraine a good opportunity to speak about this. Ukraine is a former nuclear weapon state, and it denounced the nuclear weapons. Now it is non-nuclear weapon state that has been cheated by nuclear weapon state (I’m talking about the Budapest memorandum). So I think it is a good opportunity for Ukraine to speak and revise the options in terms of what it can do for NPT regime. Ukraine has an opportunity to try to promote the role of the non-nuclear weapon states in the verification of the nuclear disarmament. I think it is possible.

We have published a paper about UKNI, about the simulations and how it is done. Today we have mentioned a lot of negative thing such as failure of the Budapest memorandum, the damage for the security system etc. But this crisis also gives this opportunity for Ukraine, for other non-nuclear weapon states to be engaged in the verification of the nuclear disarmament.

Sergiy Galaka

I have a question just to develop this topic. Say what kind of difference would be if Ukraine could be involved in the process of dismantling 200 or 300 of the Russian warheads, maybe alongside the agreement with the United States if Russia still keep 5 – 8 thousands nukes? And then that umbrella can be performed with the conventional weapons whatever it wants. What is the difference? Maybe I intentionally try to provoke the discussion.

Pavel Tishakov

We are trying to prove that not only Russia and US can negotiate and agree how they would disarm etc. More than 100 other states should be involved in the process as well. Right now there is no rule for them. They just wait when two countries come together and may be agree on a new treaty and agree how they would do it and how they would verify. But we think that the non-nuclear weapon states can be involved in the process with right tools, methods etc. So this is not only the process of big countries, it should be the process for the whole world.

Sergiy Galaka

I think that is a problem politically especially now in the critical situation.

Pavel Tishakov

We are not talking only about the Russian arsenal. We are talking about UK arsenal and other arsenals. We are working with Atomic Weapons Establishment in this project. This is an organization that is responsible for UK nuclear weapons and it works on its dismantling. UK is interested to disarm.

Thomas Jonter

I hope you are right that UK is going to disarm, but I am not convinced that they will take an action. There are ways to use Ukraine as a very good example. I think both of you are right. Of course we need to be skeptical because this situation is difficult. But allow me to be a bit optimistic. What you do in this historical research project, I think it could be very positive sign that you show to the rest of the world: Ukraine abandoned the nuclear weapon plans, Ukraine did what the international community asked it and what the international law required. If you try to see from the US point of view the Ukrainian crisis is very important. But I think there are bigger things at stake for the United States at the moment because to my mind they think what Russia is doing it tries even to destroy the world order based on international law, human rights, democracy. And the United States is afraid to lose the dominant role they are playing.

And it is not just about Russia. It is also China which also has not so much interest in the international law, human rights etc.

Lars van Dassen

We can look on how to change Russia’s behavior. May be the Russian are bluffing. Maybe they are just playing a game. Russia says in its military doctrine about this de-escalatory preemptive strike. This concept has a lot of contradictions in itself. May be the preemptiveness lies in the statement that they have this in doctrine. But they would never do the actual use. They are rally bluffing. The big question is should we counteract and show higher posture and speak on that we would be ready to protect the Baltic states also with the nuclear weapons. This is a big question on how to counter Russia’s behavior.

Polina Sinovets

This is a very interesting question because on one hand I am pretty sure they are bluffing. On the other hand this is a sort of bluffing related to Khrushchev’s behavior during the Cuban missile crisis when he was bluffing but at the same time he was doing something. This is a margin. When I was talking to Academic Arbatov he said Putin did not want to take Crimea, it was just a fast reaction to the Ukrainian crisis. If he thought before probable he would act differently. But he is very much inclined for some swift actions without may be deep thinking what happens next. So this is a mixture of bluffing. He does something unpredictable. May be he would go back if he thought on it before. But he does something, and then he is responsible to fit the credibility of his actions. And this is the most dangerous. But at the same time he does something, he feels that there is no reaction, so we can do something next.

Lars van Dassen

I think it could be really dangerous. I remember the article in the Swedish newspaper with the interview with the former advisor in the Russian government. And he said the issue of planning does not exist in the Russian government. It is date-to-date business. So I agree there are two sides in this bluffing, and one of them cannot be calculated.

Grigory Perepelitsa

Short comment. I would like to mention the linkage between the conventional conflict and nonproliferation regime. What will happen if the conventional conflict occurs? What consequences should we expect? And what happened with India after India-China conflict? India became the near-nuclear state. After Pakistani-Indian conflict Pakistan became the nuclear weapon state. Therefore I think we should make some predictions on how the conventional conflict can impact on the nonproliferation regime.

Lars van Dassen

I think Russia also made other miscalculation. It comes out very clearly that Putin thinks that the West is weak. I think it is totally wrong. The conflict comes to a level where Russia has very little to offer. It has very few means to somehow play this game. And the Russian economy is about 6% of the economy of the countries that are putting sanctions against Russia. So that is the lost game at the beginning. The sanctions are crippling for the Russian economy.

Polina Sinovets

Now we come to the concluding remarks, each of us could say a couple of words to summarize our discussion.

Thomas Jonter

I think during the last NPT Review conference Russia and the United States agreed with each other because they have a common interest to prevent proliferation. Bu the problem is in other areas. I mean the conventional security architecture.

Sergiy Galaka

The situation would be better if the Ukrainian crisis was resolved by some mutual satisfaction. This situation should re-open or re-enhance the level of the discussion about the possibility to develop and enforce the legally binding security guarantees or some enhanced assurances which would be provided with the effective and reliable instruments and mechanisms. Then perhaps it would be helpful in minimizing the effect of the negative impact of this situation.

Oleksiy Izhak

I’d like to express my opinion on whether Russia bluffed in Crimea with the nuclear weapon. I think the bluffing is a basic nature of the nuclear weapons. When bluffing is supported with the computer modeling and political considerations it may become deterrence or strategic stability or flexible response or some sort of strategy or policy. But basically there is an intention not to use the nuclear weapon. Russia really miscalculated because this bluffing was not convincing. Russia miscalculated that other side has much more possibilities for bluffing and converts bluffing into convincing position.

Oleksandr Cheban

It is very important that the Ukrainian crisis would not undermine US-Russian cooperation in the nonproliferation and nuclear security field. Even during the most difficult times of the Cold War when Moscow and Washington disagreed on everything they however always managed to reach a compromise on the nonproliferation issues. Now US-Russian cooperation on these issues might be extremely important. There is a real risk of disintegrating Pakistan and falling Pakistani nuclear weapon in the wrong hands. There is a risk of the nuclear and radiological terrorism. These risks are much more dangerous, and they are more likely than the risk of uncontrolled proliferation or domino-effect which we have discussed today. To avoid these risks or at least to minimize their negative impact, the international cooperation is necessary. And this cooperation would be effective if Russia, a country with the biggest nuclear potential in the world, would participate in it. And there were international initiative to involve Russia in this cooperation. The so-called post-Nunn-Lugar program for the Asian and African countries was planned, the G8 Global Partnership was prolonged to use Russian experience of nuclear materials elimination and improving nuclear and radiation security in other countries. But unfortunately now these initiatives are suspended in fact. Furthermore Russia refused to participate in the last Nuclear Security Summit. These trends may show that Russia might stay outside the international nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear security cooperation. This would be one more negative consequence of the Ukrainian crisis.

Hanna Shelest

It seems to me that talking during two hours we mostly agreed, maybe not in tactic, but in strategic issues. The question of revision is definitely up-to-date. It depends on two unpredictable consequences. The chain of unpredictable consequences when one is influencing another one in such a way that you can’t predict anything. As soon as Russia and the West would see the nuclear weapon as completely different things and would perceive the threat in a completely different framework, it could be much more difficult. Currently both sides understand why they use it and for which purpose. In my opinion we are more in the times to be back in 1960s in terms of a bit of cooperation, a bit of conflict trying to limit both sides, but at the same time talking a lot about the issue.

The rhetoric, the discourse, the perception will be quite similar to the after Cuba crisis when we were very close but we have not used the nuclear weapon. That is what we see now. Definitely as many times the history showed it does not matter how two sides are arguing in terms of the third enemy, and Iran is someway this third enemy. It can be someway the case for cooperation. Honestly, especially in the Middle East, I know too many situations when Russia being on the table from one side against the third part, however played more on that side. And here I can imagine a theoretical situation, I can imagine hypothetically that in there is no crisis in Ukraine and there is no weak situation in economy and some other spheres which weaken Russian positions Russia could support Iran quite seriously unofficially to bargain another kind of deal that could be good for Russia but definitely not for the international community. We had it with Syria, we had it with Iran in Busher. There are many other cases, especially when we are talking about the Middle East. This region differs from Europe, and here the scenarios of cooperation often don’t work.

Lars van Dassen

I think Russia will face with three defeats (I don’t mean conventional defeats in Eastern Ukraine). What I have in my mind regarding Iran is that Russia was not able to somehow optimize the timing for the Iran deal. May it could be better for Russia when this agreement is reached two years later, this is a question. But Russia was not able to postpone this agreement. I think this agreement would come with Russia or without Russia.

The other thing is will the deal with Iran that is going to go away from sanctions and is going to increase trade, also in the nuclear issues. Iran has a couple of reactors that are built by Russia. But also Iranians want to make the fuel themselves for the nuclear reactors. Iran always wanted to have a trade with the Western Europe, with France, with South Korea, the United States etc, not particularly with Russia. So this is the second coming defeat.

The third one is missile defense. After Iran deal was signed, often it is said that now NATO can take away the plans for missile defense because NATO and the United States said all the time that the rationality for the missile defense was the threat from Iran. But NATO and the United States have been silent. And the pressure inside the European states – members of NATO is rising for having the missile defense system directly against Russia.

So the thing that Russia really wanted to avoid that is going to come. And there is nothing that Russia can do about it.

Polina Sinovets

Thank you, Lars. May be I’ll continue Russia’s topic. Perhaps, all those things which Russia theoretically would like to avoid is something that Russia is striving for, because now there is an idea that the sort of bureaucratic approach is a driver of everything what is happened. Now Russians understand who is the enemy, what to do, and they have very good experience of 50 years living in this situation and managing it. It was quite successful. So they understand the enemy, they understand the goals, they understand the possible loses and victims of this process. But Russia never cared about people, economic interests or something else. So they again play game in a very familiar field, and it does not make them to be afraid. On the opposite they feel it is something very familiar, and maybe the victory will come in one or another way. So it is not a strategy as you said, Russia is not doing the strategy. It is taking from one tactical step to other, feeling “we can do it”. But Russia never looks ahead. I think the lack of strategy and the lack of understanding what strategy is at all is very common for us and for Russia and for this region.