July 22, 2024

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Russia: Putin, ‘The Blockade’ in the New Start Treaty and Nuclear War Scenarios – Newsbomb – News

Russia: Putin, ‘The Blockade’ in the New Start Treaty and Nuclear War Scenarios – Newsbomb – News

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he is suspending his country’s participation in the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with the United States, jeopardizing the recent agreement governing the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals.

Vladimir Putin made a surprising statement at the annual meeting His speech on the state of the nation before the National Assembly Russia on Tuesday (21/2). Hours after his speech, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the decision to suspend participation in the treaty was “reversible”.

The treaty places limits on the number of deployed intercontinental nuclear weapons that both the United States and Russia can have. It was last extended in early 2021 by five years, which means both sides will start soon Negotiations for a new arms control agreement.

Under the core nuclear arms control treaty, both the United States and Russia are allowed to conduct inspections of each other’s weapons facilities, although inspections have stopped since 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic. While Russia is not completely withdrawing from the agreement, it appears to be formalizing its current position. For months, American officials have been frustrated by Russia’s lack of cooperation with the deal.

The last remaining Russian and US nuclear arms control treaty was in serious jeopardy before Putin’s announcement. If it has already collapsed The risk of a new arms race will increase dramatically Besides the war in Ukraine, neither side can count on the stable, predictable framework provided by successive nuclear deals for more than 50 years.

This could significantly complicate the delicate relationship that underpins mutual deterrence between the two countries, security analysts said, while also prompting other forces such as China, India and Pakistan to build and develop their nuclear arsenals.

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The nightmare of nuclear warheads

In a landmark speech nearly a year after his invasion of Ukraine, Putin said Russia would not abandon New START, the pact signed in 2010 and Limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads Which is developed by Russia and USA. But nuclear experts pointed out that the treaty does not include any clause preventing it from suspending participation, as it said Moscow did. They only have the option to opt out.

Putin said Russia would only resume talks when French and British nuclear weapons were taken into account, a term analysts said was not a start because Washington opposed it and would require a complete overhaul of the treaty. William Elburky, Director of Strategy, Technology and Arms Control at International Institute for Strategic StudiesRussia has decided it can live without New START, he says, but has sought to shift the blame to Washington.

He added that the treaty effectively limits the number of warheads per missile each side can deploy, so its collapse could immediately double the number of warheads. According to the Federation of American Scientists, Russia has approximately 5,977 nuclear warheads Total, while the US has 5,428. “Both sides could go immediately from 1,550 deployed strategic warheads to 4,000, and that could happen overnight,” Al-Burky said.

global instability

Putin justified the Russian move by saying it was “absurd” for the United States to maintain it the right to inspect Russian nuclear facilities; As the treaty allows, while NATO helps Ukraine attack it.

He was apparently referring to what Russia describes as Ukrainian strikes in December at Engels airfield, near Saratov, 730 km southeast of Moscow, where Russian strategic bombers are based. Putin, without going into details, said NATO experts They had drones “equipped and upgraded.” to carry out the attacks.

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Ukraine has pursued a policy of not claiming responsibility for the attacks on Russian soil. If New START is abandoned, it will signal Back to Cold War speculation About the capabilities and intentions of the opponent.

“Therefore, there is great instability in the relationship, as both sides act according to the worst-case scenario, adding more and more complex systems and plans for the use of nuclear weapons, and this ultimately leads to The situation is more volatile between the two sides And also at greater risk from some kind of nuclear use.”

It was troubling, the two analysts said, that Putin had raised the prospect of Russia continuing nuclear weapons testing, even though he said Moscow would not take that step unless Washington did so first. They said this could pave the way for Putin to accuse Washington of conducting or preparing a test in order to justify his actions.

If that happens, it will be Moscow’s first since 1990, the year before the breakup of the Soviet Union. Alberki noted that the United States and the Soviet Union did Nuclear Tests During the Cold War “to refer to each other.”

In the twelve months since the invasion of Ukraine, Putin has repeatedly reminded the West that Russia It has weapons of mass destruction It has expanded its nuclear umbrella to include parts of Ukraine that Moscow has seized and now claims its territory. If New START collapses or both sides fail to renew it before it expires in February 2026, it will mark the end of more than half a century of arms control agreements between the two sides and send a message to others, existing and potential. Countries. forces.

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“What will that say to Indians and Pakistanis, what will China do?” Al-Barky said. “This could be much more dangerous than the Cold War because you can have many players fighting in greater numbers and That would be appalling for global security.”.