News / USA

Does Russian Treaty Violation Pose Military Threat?

** FILE ** U.S. President Ronald Reagan, right, shakes hands with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev after the two leaders signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Dec. 8, 1987.
** FILE ** U.S. President Ronald Reagan, right, shakes hands with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev after the two leaders signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Dec. 8, 1987.

The United States upped the diplomatic pressure this week by saying Russia has violated provisions of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty - or INF - a treaty considered to be the cornerstone of the U.S.-Russian nuclear disarmament structure.
 
This is a serious accusation, analysts say, and one that has roots dating back to the close of the Cold War.
 
The INF treaty was signed in December 1987 by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and his Soviet counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev.  It entered into force in June 1988.
 
Daryl Kimball, head of the Arms Control Association, a private research firm, said it was a historic treaty because it eliminated an entire class of weapons.
 
“It required that the U.S. and the Soviet Union - now Russia - eliminate permanently and forswear all of their nuclear and conventional ground-based ballistic missiles and cruise missiles with ranges from 500 kilometers to 5,500 kilometers.”
 
By May 1991, all intermediate-range missiles were eliminated.  Those included on the U.S. side the Pershing-2 and on the Soviet side, the SS-20.
[a total of 2,692 missiles were destroyed: 846 on the U.S. side and 1846 on the Soviet side].  The treaty also prohibited the production of such missiles.
 
But now White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the United States has determined that Russia has violated provisions of the INF treaty.
 
“The Russian Federation is in violation of that treaty and that treaty’s obligations not to possess, produce or flight test a ground-launched cruise missile with a range capability of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.”
 
Daryl Kimball is more specific.
 
“The treaty bars the testing of ground-based intermediate missiles or cruise missiles and the U.S. has determined that Russia has conducted tests involving ground-based cruise missiles that are prohibited by this treaty,” said Kimball.  “The treaty does not prohibit sea-based cruise missiles.  So theoretically, if Russia had conducted these tests at sea, it would not have been a violation.”
 
Kimball agreed with the Obama administration that Moscow has violated the INF Treaty.
 
“It’s serious, but it does not represent a military threat, a new military threat to the United States or its allies, because Russia is not deploying these ground-based nuclear armed cruise missiles in numbers, they are not deploying them at all.”
 
Kimball said it is not too late for Moscow to redress the situation.
 
“It can suspend any further tests involving ground-based cruise missiles prohibited by the treaty.  It can destroy any of the ground-based launchers it used for these tests and that would likely address the non-compliance problem.”
 
Kimball said over the years Russia has threatened to withdraw from the INF treaty, increasingly concerned that countries such as China, North Korea, India and Pakistan have built up their intermediate-range nuclear weapons.
 
“There are some in Russia’s defense establishment who are itching to find ways to either get around or break out of the INF treaty so that Russia can counter these other kinds of short and medium-range ballistic missile opponents.”
 
There are others within the Russian government, said Kimball, who want to increase the membership of the INF treaty, bringing in new countries and in essence banning those missiles.  Kimball said it will be interesting to see which direction Russia will take. 
 

Does Russian Treaty Violation Pose Military Threat?
Does Russian Treaty Violation Pose Military Threat?i
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

 


Andre de Nesnera

Andre de Nesnera is senior analyst at the Voice of America, where he has reported on international affairs for more than three decades. Now serving in Washington D.C., he was previously senior European correspondent based in London, established VOA’s Geneva bureau in 1984 and in 1989 was the first VOA correspondent permanently accredited in the Soviet Union.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More