Russia, Ukraine and nuclear weapons

Russia, Ukraine and Nuclear Weapons: How to address rising nuclear threats – including through no-first-use annoucements,

by Ambassador (ret.) Thomas Graham (USA) and General (ret.) Bernard Norlain (France).

On March 7, The Hill, a top US political news-site read by the White House and more US lawmakers than any other site, published an article Russia, Ukraine and nuclear weapons, which discusses the increased nuclear threats arising from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The article outlines ways to reduce the risk of nuclear war, and calls in particular on Presidents Putin and Biden to announce no-first-use policies.

The article is co-authored by Ambassador (ret.) Thomas Graham, a former senior U.S. diplomat who was involved in the negotiation of every single international arms control and nonproliferation agreement from 1970 to 1997, and General (ret.) Bernard Norlain, former Air Defense Commander and Air Combat Commander of the French Air Force and the president of Initiatives for Nuclear Disarmament, a co-founding organization of NoFirstUse Global.

The article also reports on Fulfil the NPT: From nuclear threats to human security, the Open Letter organised by NoFirstUse Global which calls on nuclear weapons states to fulfill their NPT commitments and phase out the role of nuclear weapons in their security doctrines, starting with no-first-use policies.

Both Ambassador Graham and General Norlain are endorsers of the Open Letter.

No-first-use policies can defuse nuclear risks and keep the goal of nuclear disarmament alive

“Ukraine will not be the only hotspot in this new Cold War, which raises nuclear tensions and increases the risk of escalation and/or miscalculation touching off nuclear war… What steps can we take to lower nuclear risks now? We can’t allow aggression with impunity — but if Russia (and China) return to Cold War-type geopolitics, we also can’t risk a return to Cold War nuclear politics.”

First-use options are literally playing with fire in very combustible situations. No-first-use policies could defuse these risks and help keep alive the NPT goal of eliminating nuclear arsenals.”

Excerpts from Russia, Ukraine and nuclear weapons.
Ambassador Thomas Graham and General Bernard Norlain, The Hill. March, 7, 2022

Fulfil the NPT: From nuclear threats to human security

On January 24, Fulfil the NPT: From nuclear threats to human security, the Open Letter mentioned by Ambassador Graham and General Norlain in their Hill article, was sent to the nuclear weapon states and other states parties to the NPT (with copies sent to the four countries not in the NPT – India, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan).

However, the Open Letter remains open for endorsement until August to keep the pressure on the nuclear weapon states and in preparation for a presentation to the NPT States Parties at the 10th NPT Review Conference. We encourage you to circulate the Open Letter to your networks for further endorsement. It is available in English, French, Italian and Spanish.