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The article analyzes NATO nuclear sharing arrangements and examines the history of the concept of nuclear sharing, based on archival documents, and its practical implementation at the present stage. The authors pay special attention to the positions of the countries in whose territory American tactical nuclear weapons are stored, as well as to the speeches of countries against nuclear sharing at the PrepComs of the Review Conference. The authors give a list of reasons why NATO might benefit from changing its inflexible approach to nuclear sharing.


Key findings:

  • Although the Soviet Union softened its stance on the creation and adoption of the NPT, it did not completely refuse that NATO’s joint nuclear missions contradict the idea of the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons.
  • Russia began to oppose NATO nuclear sharing arrangements only after its nuclear weapons were deployed only on Russian national territory.
  • There are about 150 US tactical nuclear bombs B61 in Europe. Six US nuclear weapons facilities are deployed in five countries: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey.
  • The United States cooperates with NATO members in the development of NATO nuclear policy, holds meetings and joint nuclear military exercises, stores B61 bombs in European countries. However, it depends only on the United States whether these bombs will be used.
  • The American side states that NATO’s nuclear agreements preceded the NPT and were taken into account when concluding the treaty. Western countries do not see the contradictions between nuclear sharing and the NPT.
  • NATO member states are not always united on the deployment of American nuclear weapons in Europe.
  • In addition to Russia, NATO nuclear sharing arrangements concern states and groups of states representing different regions of the world: the Non-Aligned Movement, Iran, Kazakhstan, China, Cuba, Syria, the Philippines, and South Africa.
  • There are several reasons why NATO might benefit from changing its inflexible approach to nuclear sharing.



Security Index Occasional Paper Series presents reports, analytical articles, comments and interviews that reflect the positions of Russian and foreign experts on the current challenges of global security and Russian policy in this sphere. The newsletter aims at providing clear analysis of global security problems and suggesting practical solutions. Security Index Occasional Paper Series continues the Security Index journal published by PIR Center in 1994 – 2016. Authors and editors will be glad to receive comments, questions and suggestions on our e-mail address [email protected]