RUSSIAN INVASION OF UKRAINE BRINGS NEW ATTENTION TO NUCLEAR ISSUES
A lot has changed since last month’s newsletter, which went out just a few days before Russia illegally invaded Ukraine. Since then, our team has primarily focused on educating Congress, the press and the public about what’s happening in Ukraine, particularly as it relates to nuclear, chemical and biological weapons issues.
Our team has created factsheets and regularly updated a series of frequently asked questions about the nuclear issues involved in the Ukraine crisis. We answer questions about Chernobyl, the risks of this conflict “going nuclear,” whether Ukraine is pursuing nuclear weapons, why a no-fly zone is off the table, what a thermobaric weapon is, where U.S. nuclear weapons are in Europe and more. This information has been shared widely in Congressional offices and across social media, helping promote informed conversation in a sea of rapidly changing news and misinformation.
We know the news about the ongoing conflict can be overwhelming; here is a selection of several interviews featuring our team members over the past few days.
Putin’s Nuclear Threat: How Should the West Respond (Senior Policy Director John Erath, Reaction, UK, March 1)
Russian attack at Ukraine nuclear plant (Research Analyst Sam Hickey, Good Morning Hamilton, Canada, March 4)
Will fighter jets make a difference? (Executive Director John Tierney, USA Today, March 8)
Chernobyl Nuclear Plant Disconnected from Ukrainian Power Grid (Research Analyst Monica Montgomery, Mehdi Hasan Show, March 9)
Senior Policy Director John Erath has also written a few posts for the Center’s Nukes of Hazard blog.
Stating the Obvious looks at the need for U.S. and NATO leaders to avoid overreaction to the situation by building more nuclear weapons, which will not make anyone safer. Threats, Blackmail and Arms Control examines the role of arms control in not only deescalating this current crisis but avoiding future ones.
A DEAFENING PAUSE IN TALKS TO REVIVE THE IRAN DEAL
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has threatened to derail talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehenive Plan of Action (JCPOA). As of Friday, March 11, talks are on a break with text nearly completed and just in need of “final touches.” Russia’s sudden request for sanctions guarantees that go beyond the nuclear realm and include “free and full trade, economic and investment cooperation and military-technical cooperation with the Islamic Republic” surprised everyone involved.
One week ago, there were signs that an arrangement to revive the deal would be announced over the weekend, but Russia’s surprising demand has derailed all of that momentum. For now, it is unclear if this roadblock can be cleared before the JCPOA crumbles under the weight of everyone’s baggage.
FISCAL YEAR 2022 DEFENSE TOPLINE ALLOCATIONS BOOSTED EVEN FURTHER
More than five months into the fiscal year, Congress finally passed a $1.5 trillion annual appropriations bill this week after a series of continuing resolutions has kept the government funded in the interim. The funding deal provides $782.5 billion for national defense spending, a 6% increase over President Trump’s last budget and a nearly $30 billion boost from President Biden’s request. This total doesn’t include an extra $6.5 billion allocated for the Pentagon in emergency funding related to Ukraine. While the release dates for the National Defense Strategy and Nuclear Posture Review are still TBD due to Ukraine, budget season for fiscal year 2023 is hanging right around the corner.
Connections: Nuclear Weapons, Climate Change and Russia, by John Erath
Is a New Cold War with China Inevitable? by John Isaacs
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