About the Situation with the INF-Treaty After 2017
We have more than once touched on the question of unfounded accusations against Russia about alleged violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (further INFT) [1, 2]. The most active campaign against Russia in order to discredit her and publicly accuse her of violating the treaty is organised by the US from 2013 onwards. Such accusations have, sadly, become part and parcel of the foreign politics of the US in the last years of the Obama administration.
Having first appeared as ‘fakes’ in newspapers, these accusations were later widely discussed by the American mass media and were picked up on an official level by Congress and the US administration. To be precise, such accusations were to be found with an enviable regularity in reports by the US State Department about the observation of treaties in the area of weapons regulation in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
The changing of the US president in 2017 and his creation of a new team gave birth to definite hope about the normalisation of bilateral relations between the US and Russia, including on the question of the INFT. However, these hopes soon turned out to be in vain: the US establishment opposed to D. Trump is successful in its sabotage of the realisation of a balanced political approach to relations with Russia, which Trump announced in his election campaign. This fully concerns the problems surrounding the INFT, which 2017 did not bring any progress towards solving.
To be more precise, the last report of the US State Department which was published in 2017 again reported allegations of violations of the INFT from our side. In addition, this document, as well as its predecessors, has given no strong arguments in support of the propagated pretensions.
During 2017, allegations against Russia continued to appear bit by bit in the American mass media. And if earlier the US had made statements about alleged violations of the INFT by Russia during missile testing, now there are accusations about Russia’s deployment of land-based winged missiles, which are banned by the treaty.
Representatives from a series of American agencies and political institutes use a similar ‘factology’ as an excuse for the start of the next campaign of ‘aggression’, or, as they call it, ‘response’ measures in relation to Russia. To be more precise, this is about the American Congress.
According to reports from the mass media, in 2017 laws were in development in Congress, which would allow the US to develop mid-range land-based missiles and give similar technologies to its European allies.
In the autumn of 2017, Congress approved the defence budget for 2018, as a result of which the US president made resources for the development of a mid-range land-based missile available. The budget provides for the allocation of 58 million dollars for “measures in response to Russia’s violation of the INFT, including a research and development program for a land-based mid-range missile, which would not put the US in danger of violating the treaty.” Thus, the legislators have allowed, but not ordered, the Pentagon to develop such a missile. A final decision of this question was to be made by the US president; he supported the measures.
At the same time, together with the promulgation of accusations toward Russia, the US have for many years been ignoring serious Russian concerns about the US upholding their side of the INFT.
In contrast to the US’ unfounded pretentions, the Russian concerns are based on concrete facts, in particular the following:
- The US have equipped anti-missile weaponry installations in Romania with missile launchers, analogous MK-41 universal delivery systems, which can fire winged mid-range ‘Tomahawk’ missiles;
- In the interests of anti-missile defence, the US continue to test target missiles similar in technical specifics to land-based ballistic missiles of the medium and short ranges;
- The US are increasing the production and use of pilotless flying strike craft, which fall under the definition of land-based mid to short-range winged rockets.
We must note, that Russia has been pointing out the last two breaches for fifteen years. The president of the Russian Federation mentioned all these breaches when he gave a speech on a collegium of the defence ministry on the 22nd of December 2017.
Nonetheless, the US stubbornly move away from a substantive discussion of the problems surrounding the INFT, ignoring the institutionalised practice of solving such questions through established mechanisms.
Apart from this, in the beginning of December 2017 US president Donald Trump approved a new package of sanctions against Russia because of alleged violations of the INFT. Also, the US actions, alongside its drive to limit Russian arms contracts, are dedicated to drawing the attention of the world community away from clear US violations of the INFT.
These actions of the US administration will cause nothing but an escalation in the international arena.
We must regrettably accept, that in 2017 the world has become a more dangerous place, among other things because of US violations of the INFT and the US administration’s unwillingness to resolve the problems that have piled themselves up.
Translated from the Russian by V.A.V.