MOSCOW. AUGUST 19, 2022. PIR PRESS. The Security Index Occasional Paper Series came out with the new report “Prospects for the establishment of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central and Eastern Europe” by Alexey Yurk.
The history of the idea of creating a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central and Eastern Europe (NWFZ in CEE) dates back to the beginning of the Cold War. Nevertheless, over all these years, the project of formal denuclearization of the region has not been implemented due to unfavorable external circumstances. The goal of this research paper is to analyze the current threats to the nuclear nonproliferation regime in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as to outline the prospects for the long–awaited implementation of the NWFZ in CEE, which can become one of the pillars of the new European security architecture.
Against the background of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, the percentage of supporters of obtaining nuclear weapons (NWs) has multiplied in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Under these conditions, it makes sense to revive the idea of creating a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in the region (NWFZ in CEE).
Despite the more than 70-year history of the idea, the NWFZ in CEE was never implemented due first to total mutual distrust between the two blocs, and then due to the unwillingness of the victors to listen to the voice of the losers in the Cold War.
The greatest challenge to the nuclear nonproliferation regime in Central and Eastern Europe is the threat of the deployment of the nuclear weapons of one of P5 members on the territory of the region.
The United States and Russia react rather restrainedly to the calls of various Central and Eastern European countries to deploy nuclear weapons on their territory. The UK’s position presents some concerns, however, London’s capabilities here are quite limited.
The initiative for the denuclearization of the region has a particularly high chance of success if it is linked to proposals for the limitation of conventional weapons in CEE on the basis of CFE 2.0.
The draft paper and its main conclusions were presented on August 15, 2022, in New York at the seminar “US-Russia Dialogue on the NPT Review Process and the Role of Youth”, held by PIR Center and James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS).