Monday. 23.09.2019
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World powers are modernising their nuclear weapons, Finnish study says

A report published by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs warns of the impacts in Norther Europe of the struggle for world power. The authors encourage Finland to strengthen its competence and expertise in the field of nuclear weapons control.
World powers are modernising their nuclear weapons, Finnish study says

Nuclear weapons are back at the core of the global political arena. This is the conclusion of a recent report published by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

Growing emphasis on the role of nuclear deterrence is linked to the increased world power struggle and regional security, as well as advanced technologies. This is no longer a question of just the United States and Russia against each other, like it was during the Cold War, because now the whole environment relating to nuclear policy is more multipolar.

The report examines the role of nuclear deterrence in terms of the security of Europe. The key nuclear powers operating on this continent –the United States, Russia, United Kingdom and France– are all holding on to their nuclear weapons and modernising their strategic forces. Nuclear deterrence also remains the cornerstone of NATO’s collective military defence.

While the nuclear weapons are again becoming increasingly important, their control has run into an impasse. The INF Treaty collapsed for good in summer 2019, and the future of the New START Treaty, which expires in 2021, is now also at stake. The interests of the United States and Russia are in conflict, and this may have negative impacts on the relations between the countries.

Impact in Northern Europe

The accelerating struggle for world power and the nuclear deterrence have impacts on the security situation in northern Europe as well. There are two strategic hotspots in the region.

The Arctic region is important for both NATO and Russia. While NATO’s focus is on the North Atlantic, Russia is particularly interested in the Kola Peninsula, where most of the country’s nuclear arsenal is located.

The western defence system of the Baltic Sea is in turn composed of both the collective defence of NATO and national defence solutions of individual countries in the region. Finland and Sweden are now even more strongly committed to being a part of the western defence system of the Baltic Sea region, the Government report says.

The possibilities of the North European countries to influence the treaty regime relating to nuclear weapons control are quite limited. However, the report encourages Finland to strengthen the competence and expertise in this field, both in the context of research and civil society organisations and in central government.

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