Deep Cuts Working Paper #8 Sub-Regional Arms Control for the Baltics


With NATO's Warsaw Summit fast approaching, the question of how to reassure NATO's easternmost allies while at the same time not further straining relations with Russia becomes key. Since 2014, particularly the Baltic States and Poland have called on NATO to further strengthen their defensive capabilities against what they perceive as a threatening Russian foreign and security policy. While proponents of beefing up NATO's deterrence capabilities are currently dominating the debate, measures from the realm of arms control are seldomly discussed. However, as this paper proves, sub-regional restraint measures and enhanced transparency in the conventional realm could as well contribute to strengthening the security of all states in the Baltic area.

This paper assesses the current mutual threat perceptions by NATO, in particular the Baltic States and the Eastern European allies, and the Russian Federation. With a particular view to the Baltic region, it analyzes the respective force postures assesses the plausibility of mutual scenarios, and gives concrete recommendations in the realm of possible arms control agreements and Confidence- and Security-Building Measures (CSBMs).

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About the Author

Wolfgang Richter (Colonel ret.) is Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP) in Berlin, Research Group on Security Politics. He served for many years in various German delegations to, inter alia, the United Nations and the OSCE.