In this new Federal Trust video, John Stevens explores an aspect of the war in Ukraine which has so far received relatively little attention: nuclear weapons. It is clear that a key reason Putin has risked this invasion is the fact that Russia, for all its other weaknesses, remains a nuclear weapons power. Equally, had Ukraine retained nuclear weapons, rather than surrendered them with US, UK and Russian security guarantees in 1994, it is unlikely Putin would have risked this invasion.

In this dangerous new environment for European security John Stevens suggests that an appropriate response may be a further Europeanisation of the French nuclear guarantee to the European Union. This might imply a doubling of the ballistic missile nuclear submarine fleet to involve Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland, and the joint European development of new generation submarine-launched intercontinental missile and multiple warheads. Such an initiative would be as part of a joint EU pillar within NATO. Nevertheless, it would mark the watershed between the EU being a purely civilian power and its becoming a truly military one.

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John Stevens is the Chairman of the Federal Trust and a former MEP (1989-1999).