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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
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.

VOA Blogs

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