Defusing the Ukraine Crisis through arms control

The tensions between Russia, Ukraine and NATO create the potential for a disastrous war that can and must be avoided through serious and deft diplomacy. Among other steps, NATO and Russia should pursue agreement on common sense arms control instruments to help move away from the brink of disaster and promote stability and security in Europe.

Policy recommendations

NATO members and Russia should agree in the NATO-Russia Council to:
• immediately meet for reciprocal briefings on each other’s nuclear policies and postures and state their readiness to answer questions on current nuclear postures;
• arrange reciprocal transparency visits to NATO’s Aegis Ashore sites in Romania and Poland as well as to two 9M729 sites of the Russian Armed Forces, as a confidence-building measure;
• exercise greater restraint in major military exercises and notify temporarily, on a non-binding basis, military activities at significantly lower thresholds than the Vienna Document and invite observers to relevant maneuvers along or near to NATO-Russia borders;
• agree on new guidelines designed to avoid close military encounters between Russian and NATO forces;
• set up a Risk Reduction Centre that provides direct lines between Russian and NATO command authorities; and
• begin discussions on conventional arms control measures seeking to reduce the risk of military escalation and confrontation.

Russia and the United States in the context of the Strategic Stability Dialogue should agree to:
• immediately negotiate a balanced, verifiable moratorium on deployment of intermediate-range missiles between the Atlantic and the Urals;
• refrain from explicit or implied threats to deploy additional non-strategic nuclear weapons along the NATO-Russia frontier; and
• publicly pledge to refrain from using information technology to interfere with each other’s nuclear command and control and early warning systems.