Anastasia Barannikova argues that although the situation in Ukraine does not affect Russia’s nuclear posture/strategy in Northeast Asia directly, indirect impacts of the situation in Ukraine on Russia’s nuclear policies in this region cannot be ruled out. Examples of such indirect impacts include changes in nuclear weapons planning and deployment by the United States and China under the pretext or because of the Ukraine situation, a change in the nuclear weapons status of one or more of the non-nuclear states in the region, or the breaking out of a military conflict over Taiwan or on the Korean peninsula.
Despite the risk of catastrophic miscalculation, Barannikova argues that we are unlikely to see a repeat of the Ukraine situation in Northeast Asia, as governments in that region prefer diplomacy to war. Nevertheless, threats could materialize in the future that may see Russia revising its nuclear weapons strategy in the region. For now, however, Russia’s role will likely be limited to supporting China while responding to United States military activities.
This policy brief was prepared for the project “Reducing the Risk of Nuclear Weapon Use in Northeast Asia.” The research described in this paper was co-sponsored by the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, Nagasaki University (RECNA), the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, and the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN), with collaboration from the Panel on Peace and Security of Northeast Asia (PSNA). Additional funding was provided by the MacArthur Foundation.
About the Author
Anastasia Barannikova is a research fellow at ADM Nevelskoy Maritime State University (Vladivostok, Russia) and non-resident senior fellow of Mongolian Institute of Northeast Asian Security and Strategy (Mongolia).
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Image: Nautilus Institute 2002 photo Khasan Border town looking south along Tuman River, DPRK is on other side of river in distance, China is middle-ground and to right (white observation post in middle is in China), Russia is foreground and to left/south and right/north).