Even If Russia Agrees to Extend START Treaty, It Will Be on Moscow’s Terms
In the follow up to recent US media reports that the US President “plans to offer Russia to extend the START treaty after 2021”, Russian military experts responded that Moscow will agree to the extension only after the US meets a number of its requirements.
The administration of US President Barack Obama is considering offering Russia the opportunity to extend the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, also known as New START, after its expiration in 2021, US media reported on Monday.
Russian military experts have provided their comments on the released statement.
Moscow will agree to the extension only after Washington meets a number of its requirements, including cancelation of the deployment of its anti-missile defense system on Russia’s borders and the withdrawal of tactical nuclear weapons from Europe, Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of the magazine Russian National Defense and member of the Russian Defense Ministry's Public Council told RIA Novosti.
“Moscow will continue negotiations on the further reduction of nuclear arsenals, but only on three conditions,” added the defense analyst.
First, he said, is the full withdrawal of American tactical nuclear weapons from Europe to US territory. Second – there should be a summarized set-off of nuclear potentials for the US, UK and France on the one hand, and for Russia – on the other.
And the third – the Americans should sign a legally binding agreement on restrictions on the deployment of their anti-missile defense systems, which could otherwise offset the world’s strategic balance, the military analyst added.
Korotchenko also noted that in the event of a refusal to fulfill any of the above conditions, any negotiations on the possible reduction of Russia’s nuclear potential are out of the question.
Additionally, he added, one should take into consideration that in recent decades, the significance of the nuclear potential of the US has steadily fallen due to the non-nuclear high precision weapon systems it has started developing. The high precision of such weapon systems ensures an effect similar to the one produced by nuclear weapons, he explained.
“In this segment the US has considerable preponderance over Russia. Moreover, it has set up its Global Strike Command, an infrastructure filled up with these high precision weapon systems which are capable of making a strike to any part of the world within 30-40 minutes after such a decision is made by the US president,” said the defense analyst.
However for Russia, he explained, nuclear weapons remain a “cornerstone” of its national security and the maintenance of the strategic parity in the world. Therefore, he added, Russia will consider any further reduction of its nuclear potential in the context of its own national interests and not on “mythical universal human values.”
“With regards to the extension of the START-III treaty, Moscow will consider it after complex analysis of all the decisions made at the recent NATO Summit in Warsaw and their possible impact on Russia’s military security,” stated the expert.
In a separate analysis on the issue, the Russian online newspaper Gazeta.ru noted that Kremlin’s reaction to the US media reports was rather restrained.
Commenting on the article in The Washington Post, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Russian leadership “knows nothing” about the intention of the US president to extend the existing treaty.
The outlet therefore suggested that Russia might get back to the issue after the US presidential elections, as such negotiations are “too important for the Kremlin to start with the president who is already getting ready to step down.”