An intercontinental ballistic missile launch in Mirny, Russia, October 2022
Russian Defence Ministry / Handout / Reuters

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has unleashed a wave of concern about the global nuclear order. Such worries are understandable. A nuclear-armed state invaded and is trying to conquer its nonnuclear neighbor, threatening to use nuclear weapons to win if necessary. Making matters worse, that neighbor, Ukraine, had agreed not to become a nuclear-armed state, returning the arsenal it inherited from the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War in exchange for security assurances from Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Russia’s blatant violation of those assurances and its threats to use nuclear weapons to

Finish reading this article for free.

Enter your email and we'll send a paywall-free link directly to your inbox.

In addition to your unlocked article, you will receive our flagship weekly newsletter Foreign Affairs This Week, as well as occasional updates and offers from Foreign Affairs. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, visit our user agreement and privacy policy.


Get unlimited access to all Foreign Affairs. Subscribe now.

Are you already a subscriber? Sign in.