Worlds Apart

‘We could have a nuclear war by accident’ Professor Gerhard Mangott of the University of Innsbruck analyses Moscow-EU relations

Is the world teetering on the brink of a significant conflict after the Skripal poisoning case? Host Oksana Boyko discusses the prospects with Gerhard Mangott, a political science professor at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. 

“Most certainly we will not have a nuclear war by choice, but we could have one by accident,” Mangott says. But unlike the Cold War, Moscow and the West lack “mutual respect” and “efforts” to reduce the risk of a possible confrontation.

While a host of countries expelled Russian diplomats in response to Kremlin’s alleged role in the Skripal poisoning, Austria decided “not to further aggravate the tension” between Moscow and the EU, Mangott says. “The essential idea behind Austrian behaviour is to say what we don’t have is any institutionalised dialogue between the European institutions and Russia.”

Mangott says eastern Ukraine remains the most pressing issue in Russia-EU relations. “Not so much Crimea, because most Western governments not de-jure, but de-facto accept that Crimea is a part of Russia and will be so for a very long time, if not forever.” 

Tune in to see Worlds Apart for more on relations between Russia and the West.