Lynsey Addario/The New York Times

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is seen through a haze as fires burn nearby in Ukraine on Aug. 29. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia appears to be using the plant to scare Ukraine’s leaders and warn the West to stay out of the conflict.

August 30, 2022

Amid Ukrainian-Russian Conflict, Expert Panel Will Discuss Nuclear Policy

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After over six months of conflict between Ukraine and Russia, many experts are concerned about nuclear security. On Thursday, Sept. 1, Cornell is hosting an online panel, titled “Ukraine, Russia and the Long Shadow of Nuclear Weapons,” to discuss nuclear risks within the context of the Ukrainian conflict.

Panelists will discuss nuclear deterrence — the idea that nuclear weapons serve to discourage other states from using their weapons out of fear of retaliation. Questions to be discussed include whether the United States having nuclear weapons deterred Russian aggression. Panelists will also consider whether Russian possession of nuclear weapons influenced the decision to invade Ukraine, the implications of the crisis in Ukraine for nuclear weapons abolishment activists and the risk of maintaining many nuclear weapons amid rising authoritarianism. 

The nuclear security panel will be moderated by Emma Belcher, president of the Ploughshares Fund, a foundation focused on reducing the threat of nuclear weapons. The panel will be introduced by Prof. Peter Katzenstein, international studies. Katzenstein directs the Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, part of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, which is hosting the event. 

Experts on the panel will include Fiona Cunningham, an assistant professor of political science from the University of Pennsylvania, Mariana Budjeryn, a senior research associate at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Pavel Podvig, a senior researcher for the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research

The conversation will begin at 12:15 p.m. Additional support for the event comes from Einaudi Center’s Institute for European Studies and the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs.