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How the Russia–Ukraine War Could End, and Its Impact on Conventional Arms Control


In the case of the unprovoked Russian military attack against Ukraine, conventional arms control played no major role for crisis management and war prevention. However, NATO countries and Russia have thus far practised some kind of mutual unilateral restraints in their use of weapons, and in the general conduct of the war, in order to prevent a direct confrontation and a nuclear escalation. Because no one can predict the outcome of this conflict, three ideal-typical options, as well as their impact on the future of conventional arms control, are discussed – 1. Ukraine wins; 2. Russia wins; 3. A compromise where neither side wins –. All options raise three questions: how can the war be terminated, what kind of ceasefire seems possible and can confidence-building measures (CBMs) and conventional arms control be revived? Only the compromise option seems to offer a chance for future CBMs and conventional arms control.

Paper presented at the seminar “The War in Ukraine and the Future of Non-proliferation and Arms Control in the European Continent”, organised in Rome on 10 March 2023.

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