Defence Cooperation

France’s Nuclear-Weapons Policy: What’s in It for Europe?

French president Emmanuel Macron caused quite a stir with his recent statement¹ that France would not retaliate with nuclear weapons against Russia if the Kremlin launched a nuclear strike on Ukraine. A follow-on tweet² from his official Twitter account saying “we do not want a world war” only added to the backlash on social media. While this messaging was in line with that from other allies—and did not express any intention to abandon Ukraine for the sake of avoiding a nuclear war—it was widely interpreted as, at the very least, undermining deterrence³. Although some of the harsher reactions are quite misguided, the episode raises a legitimate question about whether the French nuclear deterrent carries much weight in protecting Europe as a whole from rogue nuclear regimes.

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10 Briefs on Russia’s War in Ukraine

Russia’s war in Ukraine has undoubtedly been game-changing for Europe’s security, challenging the long-held beliefs and assumptions of many Western nations and prompting dramatic shifts in policy, for example, in Germany, Finland, and Sweden. The war’s conduct has also produced significant surprises, not least the unexpectedly poor performance of Russia’s supposedly reformed military.

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Kavkaz-2020 Exercises: A Preliminary Analysis

On 26 September, the five-day strategic exercise Kavkaz-2020, on the Kapustin Yar testing range in the Astrakhan Region, ended, resulting in the defeat of a mock enemy by a coalition made up of forces from Russia, Armenia, Belarus, China, Myanmar and Pakistan. Bringing together some 80,000 troops (according to official Russian information) from all contributing nations, the exercise was the largest training event carried out by Russia in 2020, involving 250 battle tanks, 450 armoured vehicles and 200 artillery pieces.

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