Since the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis, the agreements promoting nuclear arms control have come under increasing stress. Even though the current downturn in West-Russian relation calls for sustained crisis management, also in the form of arms control, the latter might seriously suffer from the crisis in the years to come. This effect pertains not only to bi- or multilateral agreements under the auspices of the United States, NATO and Russia but also to the realm of global efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament and to halt proliferation. Right now (27 April to 31 May), the Review Conference to the Treaty on Nuclear Non-proliferation (NPT) – the most important nuclear disarmament instrument – takes place in New York. Observers fear a failed Conference.

It was against that background that Deep Cuts Project Partners (ACA, IFSH, IMEMO) and the German Federal Foreign Office conducted an experts roundtable at the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nation in New York on April 30. On the occasion of the release of the second report of the Deep Cuts Commission, the newly appointed German Commissioner on Arms Control Patricia Flor, the outgoing High Representative for Disarmament Affairs of the United Nations Angela Kane, Steve Pifer (Brookings Institution), Victor Mizin (Russian Academy of Sciences) and Götz Neuneck (IFSH) discussed the recommendations of the Commission, contained in the second report. At the heart of the report are concrete political and technical suggestions on how to prevent further unintended spill-over effects of the Ukraine crisis to international arms control.

Both Patricia Flor and Angela Kane warned that the crisis in international nuclear disarmament efforts could intensify. In her opening remarks, Flor underscored ´the critical links between the Ukraine crisis, West-Russian relations, and the NPT. Angela Kane pointed to growing frustrations among NPT non-nuclear-weapon states because of a lack of fulfillment of the five official nuclear-weapon states’ (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States) disarmament obligations under the Treaty. Götz Neuneck stressed the responsibility of those so called “P5” states to achieve more transparency with respect to their arsenals and their employment strategies.

Steve Pifer and Victor Mizin concentrated on strategic nuclear stability issues and European security in their statements. Both stressed that it is of paramount importance to stop the dangerous practice of turning off transponders during military training flights. Further on, the United States and Russia should search for additional venues to discuss compliance issues under the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Since 2014, Washington and Moscow accuse each other of non-compliance with the Treaty. In the ensuing Q&A, the so called “humanitarian initiative” (see the Deep Cuts Paper by Tom Sauer), which aims at a global nuclear weapons ban, featured prominently. Here, Germany has already taken a stance and continues to commit to a policy of incremental steps. However, the New York discussion also showed that further progress in nuclear disarmament becomes increasingly hard to achieve in the current non-cooperative environment.

Pictures of the event can be found here.

On April 24, Member of the German Bundestag, Dr. Ute Finckh-Krämer from the Social Democrats recommended the 2nd report of the Deep Cuts Commission for its holistic approach to arms control, combining conventional and nuclear aspects. Finckh-Krämer also quoted from the report's foreword by the Head of the Munich Security Conference, Wolfgang Ischinger. The debate in the Bundestag focused on the upcoming NPT Review Conference. Click here ...

On April 30, 1pm, Deep Cuts Commissioners and UNODA's Angela Kane will discuss the recommendations of the latest 2nd Report of the Deep Cuts Commission at an NPT side event at the German Permanent Mission to the UN in New York. Please RSVP through the document below:

Dowload RSVP

In the latest issue of the German-speaking journal "WeltTrends", Deep Cuts Commissioner Mizin, Neuneck, and Pifer assess the state of U.S.-Russian arms control: "Die Beziehungen zwischen Russland und den USA sind so schlecht wie noch nie seit dem Ende des Kalten Krieges. Washington modernisiert seine Kernwaffen, Moskau rüstet nach. Unsere Autoren – Experten der Deep Cuts Commission – konstatieren, dass die Chancen für ein Ende des Wettrüstens nicht gut stehen. Aber ein Anfang müsse gemacht werden – von verstärkten militärpolitischen Kontakten über mehr Transparenz und vertrauensbildende Maßnahmen bis hin zur Erörterung neuer Konzepte." Click here ...

The Ukraine crisis and broader deterioration in West-Russia relations pose acute threats of unintended clashes between Russian and NATO military forces and continue to deflate hopes for significant near-term progress in nuclear arms control. At the same time, arms control is key to avoiding undesirable and unintended consequences of current tensions. In order to achieve a verified termination of the violent conflict in Ukraine and arrest the slide of NATO and Russia toward a potentially more dangerous situation, it will be necessary to employ a broad set of arms control and confidence-building measures in several areas. Click here ...

In an exchange with Matthew Kroenig in the IISS Survival, Deep Cuts Commissioner Pifer argues that "NATO faces a Russian security challenge that it had hoped had ended with the conclusion of the Cold War. The Alliance’s security holiday is over. NATO needs to take prudent steps to bolster its deterrent and defence capabilities, particularly in the Central European and Baltic region. Those steps, however, should focus on enhancing the Alliance’s conventional forces, not its nuclear capabilities." Click here ...

In an op-ed for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Deep Cuts Commissioner Oliver Meier argues: "The Parameters for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action of April 2 are a huge step towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict over Iran’s nuclear program. Four weeks ahead of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, the Lausanne agreement is potentially also a shot in the arm for the NPT." Click here ...

On April 30, Deep Cuts Commissioners Mizin, Neuneck, and Pifer will present the 2nd Deep Cuts Report "Strengthening Stability in Turbulent Times" at the side-lines of the NPT Review Conference in New York. The event will take place at the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations and will start at 1.15pm. Please RSVP through This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Subcategories