Russia, America and a new nuclear arms race

Leroy Wright
February 9, 2019

Russian Federation would be prepared to consider new proposals from the United States to replace a suspended Cold War-era nuclear pact with a broader treaty that includes more countries, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday.

The INF Treaty banned land-based nuclear-capable missiles with a range between 300 and 3,200 miles during the Reagan administration when Russian Federation and the USA had populated much of Europe with intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

President Trump gave notice of withdrawal from the 1987 treaty abolishing intermediate-range ground-based nuclear missiles, known as INF.

Russia is open for a constructive dialogue with the United States if Washington revisits its destructive position on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said at a news conference on Thursday.

"We ended the cold war once because the public cared about it. the hope is that we'll do it again", says Jon Wolfsthal, a nuclear weapons expert who worked on non-proliferation issues in the Obama administration.

No one has come forward and said, you know what, you're right, U.S. Maybe Russia's not made a mistake here.

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On February 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow also suspended its obligations under the treaty in response to the U.S. move. "It is a relatively simple treaty to extend, so we have time with that". He noted that the USA said it has converted 56 Trident submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missiles and 41 B-52H strategic bombers that carried nuclear weapons for use with conventional weapons, but stonewalled Russia's repeated requests for a verifiable way to exclude their conversion back to nuclear status.

"In response to the U.S. notification, we sent our notification to the USA embassy on February 4", he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the military over the weekend to work on developing new land-based weapons that were previously forbidden by the INF treaty, but emphasized that such new weapons won't be deployed to the European part of Russia or any other region unless the USA does so in those areas.

The United States has repeatedly accused Russian Federation of violating the INF - something Russian Federation has repeatedly denied.

"We want to emphasize that the United States has been actually breaching its obligations under the INF Treaty for years and de facto created the conditions for the production of missiles prohibited by this agreement", Konashenkov said.

"It's very alarming", he said, adding that the plans could revive old Cold War era concepts.

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