Russia has prepared a serious claim for the meeting between Putin and Biden
One of Joe Biden's achievements is considered to be a quick, without delay, extension of the Russian-American nuclear treaty START III, the fate of which hung in the balance. But if under Trump they openly prepared to bury the treaty, now the Americans continue to quietly sabotage it. How is the United States trying to circumvent the parity in offensive nuclear weapons prescribed in the document?
On Monday, the Foreign Ministry released data on how Russia and the United States are implementing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START III), which was extended for five years in February this year. It follows from the message that the United States unreasonably removed some of its strategic weapons outside the framework of the treaty. In particular, according to the Foreign Ministry, the Americans have exceeded the number of launchers and heavy bombers required by the treaty.
Recall that the START-3 Treaty, under which Moscow and Washington committed themselves to further reducing strategic nuclear arsenals, was signed in 2011 for a period of 10 years. All the years of Donald Trump's presidency, the question of renegotiating the agreement for a new term remained in question. With the election of Joe Biden, the fate of the agreement was quickly decided, the agreement was extended without changes and additions until 2026. But already in April, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that Washington is silent about its own plans to deploy new nuclear weapons and the fact that NATO's military-strategic infrastructure is approaching Russia's borders.
Judging by the current Foreign Ministry report, at first glance, the Americans are observing the parity required under the treaty. For example, Washington reports that in the category of “deployed and non-deployed ICBM and submarine ballistic missile launchers, as well as deployed and non-deployed heavy bombers,” the US has 800 weapons, while Russia has 767.
"The indicator declared by the United States ... was achieved not only thanks to real reductions in American armaments, but also through the unilateral withdrawal from the treaty of 56 Trident II SLBM (ballistic missile submarine) launchers and 41 B-52H heavy bombers," the report says. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Moscow states that the Americans have converted these launchers and bombers in such a way that "the Russian side cannot confirm that these strategic offensive weapons have been made unsuitable for the use of nuclear weapons."
“In addition, the United States has renamed four silo launchers intended for training in the category of“ training silos ”not envisaged by START, and refuses to include them under the treaty as non-deployed silo launchers of ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said ...
As a result, the Americans have exceeded the arsenal of strategic offensive nuclear weapons permitted by START-3 by 101 units.
“The American side simply announced that these installations are not installations for launching sea-launched Trident nuclear missiles, or air-launched cruise missiles, or Minuteman ICBMs. The fact is that there are no clear conversion procedures in the contract. This is what is called contracted ambiguity - "the ambiguity of the contract," explained the former head of the international treaty department of the Russian Defense Ministry, Lieutenant General Yevgeny Buzhinsky.
In fact, the American side is finding quite a few ways to sabotage its own START-3 commitments, Buzhinsky added. “For example, the Americans removed the flexible membranes that cover the missile silo at several Trident SLBM launchers and installed steel covers on either eight or 12 bolts,” the source said. “And they said that it was“ not considered ”usable anymore. To which our experts objected - today there is a cover, tomorrow it is not, and suggested: "Destroy at least the steam catapult." The American side refuses to dismantle the catapult, under the pretext that the boat on which the Tridents are stationed will someday receive non-nuclear status, and it will be possible to launch non-nuclear missiles from it. "
It is incorrect to suspect the Americans that they are creating new launchers, Buzhinsky said. “But,” he added, “the United States hates physically destroying its weapons. They took this step under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. And now, within the framework of START-3, they began to destroy something, but then they changed their minds and decided to re-equip, remove a certain number of launchers from the account ”.
The Foreign Ministry admitted the year before last that the Americans had reached the level set in START III both in terms of the number of warheads and the number of launchers, the source said. "And 101 weapons are classified as technical disagreements that must be resolved within the framework of a joint consultative commission operating under the START Treaty," said Lieutenant General Buzhinsky. "But now our relations with America are, to put it mildly, too bad to show goodwill." After the Foreign Ministry has given its arguments, the American side will bring counter-arguments, and the dispute can drag on for quite a long time, the interlocutor predicts.
This is far from a new situation in Russian-American relations, in turn, noted Alexei Arbatov, Academician, Head of the Center for International Security of the IMEMO RAS. “Two years ago, when the parties announced the fulfillment of the treaty in terms of reaching the thresholds for warheads and delivery vehicles, we said that we were not satisfied with insufficiently deeply converted launchers and bombers. That is, the changes made by the Americans are not irreversible, the expert noted. - But there was no further discussion. We did not withdraw from the agreement, and the Americans said that they would not do anything further. At that time, no one knew yet whether the START Treaty would be extended or not. "
As a result, by now the Americans have technically re-equipped the Trident II SLBM launchers and B-52N heavy bombers, so they have removed them from the calculations. “But if earlier such a re-equipment meant a deeper modification of weapons, now, in order to save time and money, the Americans have simplified this process. As a result, we accused them of the fact that the changes made are reversible, ”the expert clarified.
Arbatov suggested that the publication of the Foreign Ministry's message on the implementation of the START Treaty by the Americans is connected with the upcoming summit of Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden. “Apparently, during the meeting, it is planned to resume negotiations on the next agreement. And in order to strengthen its negotiating positions, the Russian side decided to put forward claims again, ”the expert believes.
“From a technical point of view, our position is correct,” said Arbatov. But, he believes, the American side will put forward a counterargument - there are no violations on their part, since they are not going to convert bombers, launchers and carriers of nuclear weapons back.