Trust...But Verify: Washington Wants to Break It’s Nuclear Missile Treaty Obligations With Russia
Today's anniversary reminds us of one of America's characteristics: it never observes agreements. 30 years have passed since the treaty on the elimination of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles came into effect. It cut the likelihood of a large-scale war between the two nuclear superpowers significantly. Missiles that could reach enemy territory within 5 minutes were eliminated. Today, Washington is making its intention of breaking the treaty more and more clear.
Here's the report by Alexander Khristenko.
Here it is: the dangerous American Pershing missile and the much more formidable Soviet Pioneer. Both missiles were equipped with nuclear warheads, placing all of Europe under threat. Now the former foes stand together. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty turned them into museum pieces.
Mikhail Gorbachev flew to Washington in December 1987 to sign the INF Treaty. He was met on the South Lawn of the White House. Later, a state dinner was given at the residence on behalf of Ronald Reagan.
Ronald Reagan: «To your health!»
After the INF Treaty was signed, Washington eliminated its 846 missiles of this class. Despite opposition from the military, Moscow also eliminated its arsenal — 1,846 missiles in total.
Mikhail Gorbachev: «Future generations will render their verdict. But I'll venture to say: what we're about to do now is of great importance».
Leonid Ivashov, Head of the USSR's Department of Defense (retired): «When we objected at the defense meeting, Gorbachev said, 'Why are you calculating our losses? They're merely piles of metal.' We weren't pleased with the elimination of such outstanding missiles».
Ronald Reagan: «Trust but verify».
Today, it's more like «accuse and accuse.» The USA claimed that Russia allegedly violated the INF Treaty by building and testing a new cruise missile with a range of more than 500 kilometers.
Rose Gottemoeller, Under Secretary of State in international security affairs: «Russia is unwilling to admit its violations or respond to our concerns».
Yuri Baluyevsky, First Deputy Minister of Defense: «Russia has been accused repeatedly since 2014. We all know what happened in 2014. Crimea was returned to Russia».
At first, Washington refused to name the missile they have concerns about. Their excuse is that they don't want to expose their intelligence sources. Russia rejected the accusations and accused the US of violating the treaty in return. The issue is the Mk 41 Vertical Launching Systems; American ABM systems in Poland and Romania. According to the Russian military, they are all-purpose. They can be used for launching defensive anti-missiles and offensive Tomahawks. This is a direct violation of the INF Treaty.
The development and testing of target missiles and UCAVs is also considered by Moscow as a violation of the INF Treaty. It's possible to resolve the acute contradictions at the highest level only, but it's incredibly difficult to even arrange a meeting for Putin and Trump in the present context.
Daryl Kimball, Arms Control Association: «The loss of the INF Treaty will be a serious blow for US-Russia relations. It will make an arms race between America and Russia more likely».
Instead of talks, Trump ordered the State Department to prepare new sanctions against Russia. Congress is ready for radical actions.
Sergei Rogov, RAS Institute of USA and Canada: «It's possible there'll be an attempt to withdraw from the treaty under the pretext of our so-called violations. They'll try to quickly deploy new missiles near our territory».
But Russia has some new potential as well. Kalibr cruise missiles were created for submarines, ships, and aircraft. They are weapons of the same class that the United States has had for some time.
Vladimir Putin: «I think we have balanced the situation. If anyone doesn't like it and wants to withdraw from the treaty completely, I'm referring to our American partners, we'll give an immediate response».
In combat conditions in the fight against ISIS, the Kalibr system has confirmed its range, accuracy, and reliability. At the same time, the system doesn't violate the INF Treaty in any way, which Russia will continue to abide by, as the Kremlin states.
Alexander Khristenko, Nikolai Koskin, Laura Polovandova, Vesti, Washington, the USA.