Putin ready us arms control — Vladimir Putin enacted a law on Wednesday authorizing Russia to break the 1987 Interim Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The United States also stopped respecting it in February, accusing Moscow of violating it.
Vladimir Putin ratified on Wednesday (July 3rd) the suspension of Russian participation in the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. This treaty, signed during the Cold War, prohibited both parties from using land-based missiles with a range of 500 to 5,000 km.
In February, Washington accused Moscow of violating the treaty and took the decision – which will become effective on August 2 – to withdraw from the FNI treaty.
Russia had deployed SSCI-8 missiles claiming that their range was only 480 km while NATO and the United States estimated it to be 1500 km.
The missiles developed by Russia are said to be “dual-capacity” and therefore likely to carry nuclear warheads, which worries the international community. With Russia out of the agreement, the United States could decide to equip themselves with a new missile to compete with China, which develops weapons of the same type.
The signing of the INF Treaty had put an end to the Euromissile crisis triggered by the deployment in Europe of Soviet SS-20 nuclear warheads. The dissolution of the agreement raises fears of a new arms race between Moscow and Washington.
The future of the Start Treaty for Reducing Strategic Nuclear Arsenals, which expires in February 2021, is also questionable. Putin said Saturday that Moscow and Washington had “begun consultations” on its extension.
The FNI treaty, signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, aimed to eliminate all cruise and ballistic missiles launched from the ground with a range of 500 km to 5500 km.
President Vladimir Putin also said that Russia is ready to restart discussions with the U.S. over arms control and denied that the collapse of a significant nuclear missile treaty between the two nations would prompt an arms race.
“I think that the achievement of concrete agreements in the field of arms control would contribute to strengthening international stability. Russia has the political will to work towards this. Now it’s up to the U.S.,” Putin said in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.