We have noted the detailed version of the US Department of State Report on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments (Compliance Report). We would like to make the following points.
The United States has no legal, moral or political right to assess compliance with these commitments by other countries under bilateral or multilateral agreements and treaties. Each international agreement in this area has its own thorough mechanisms for monitoring compliance. In some cases specialised international agencies are established for this purpose. The US striving to take over this role has no grounds whatsoever and cannot be used as a pretext for making any conclusions.
We see behind this conduct by the United States a trivial desire to appeal to its own vanity and put itself above everyone else. Such arrogance is damaging. It reflects a deep internal identity crisis and obviously does not fit in with the status of a responsible nuclear power, especially if it claims to be the leader in complying with the afore-mentioned commitments.
This situation has another aspect as well. Each page of this report betrays the attempt by the United States to cover up its own violations of these commitments in the framework of fundamental international legal documents. The US wants to shift responsibility for this on other countries and avoid criticism. This is graphically demonstrated by the detailed report on the INF Treaty, which is a futile attempt to justify itself for destroying one of the main achievements in this area.
In addition, this reflects US long-term practice of using this theme for fighting “objectionable” states and governments. The Compliance Report does not have any information on US allies and partners. Does Washington really believe that they are absolutely impeccable in this respect?
US withdrawal from the INF Treaty
It is with deep regret and concern that we state that instead of looking for ways to save the INF Treaty, the United States has shown alarming stubbornness in pursuing the opposite goals and, having blocked all possibilities for turning the situation around into a constructive direction, completed the withdrawal on August 2, as a result of which the treaty ceased to exist.
Thus, another international agreement was destroyed through the efforts of Washington. The treaty was crucial for ensuring strategic stability and building regional and global security. Having liquidated the INF Treaty, the United States has dealt another severe blow to the arms control system which took decades to create. The far-reaching negative consequences for international security in several key regions of the world seem almost inevitable.
Detailed assessments of the US incendiary actions regarding many years of failing to comply with the INF Treaty, the purposeful whipping up of the crisis around this treaty, as well as the creation of far-fetched pretexts for breaking it up with emphasis on unproven accusations against Russia were provided in the Foreign Ministry’s comment by the Information and Press Department in connection with the publication of the initial brief version of the US State Department Report on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments of May 5, as well as during a Deputy Foreign Minister’s briefing on this subject on August 5.
Given the way the events are unfolding, it is also important to note that just two weeks after wrecking the INF Treaty, the Pentagon conducted flight tests of a land-based Tomahawk family cruise missile at a range previously prohibited under the treaty for the respective classes of missiles. Also, the Mk 41 launching system was used. Thus, the exact missile-launcher combination was tested in the attack complex with a land-based cruise missile with a range of 500 to 5,500 km, which was the subject of the key Russian complaint regarding the United States’ violation of the INF Treaty. This confirms not only the validity of our long-standing concern, which the United States stubbornly ignored, but also the fact that Washington had prepared in advance for its withdrawal from the INF Treaty and had engaged in creating weapons banned under the treaty for a long time.
In this regard, and also with account taken of the statements by senior Pentagon officials about the desirability of making operational intermediate- and shorter-range ground-based missiles in the US Army as soon as possible, Russia will be forced to further analyse the level of relevant threats to national security and strategic stability, including originating from American Aegis Ashore complexes with Mk 41 launchers currently being deployed in Europe and planned for deployment in the Asia-Pacific region.
At the same time Russia remains open to an equal and constructive dialogue with the United States to ensure predictability and to strengthen international security.
We urge Washington to abandon missile activities that destabilise the situation and steps that provoke a multilateral arms race, as well as to commit not to deploy these classes of missiles similarly to the corresponding moratorium announced earlier by Russia.
New START Treaty
The US Compliance Report again reads that the United States fully complies with its commitments under the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). As before, we have no grounds to agree with this. Washington unilaterally withdrew a hundred strategic offensive arms from counting under the Treaty, and this problem remains outstanding. Let’s recall the gist of this problem.
By February 5, 2018, Russia and the United States were supposed to reduce the aggregate numbers of these arms to the levels set out in Article II of the Treaty and not to increase them subsequently. Russia fully complied with its commitment, which the US recognised. We cannot confirm that the US did this as well. According to the United States, its aggregate level of deployed and non-deployed heavy bombers and strategic missile launchers amounts to 800, but in reality this number is much bigger. Washington did not count 56 submarine ballistic missile launchers and 41 B-52H heavy bombers. It claims that they were converted into a conventional-only role. Russia is not able to verify the US “conversion”, as is envisaged by Item 3, Section I of Part Three of the New START Treaty’s Protocol.
In addition, the US does not count four silo launchers designed for training and tries to justify this by putting them into the category of silo training launchers that are not covered by the Treaty.
This US-created problem obviously undermines the Treaty and directly affects the prospects for extending it. A search for ways to resolve this problem has been futile so far. We will continue trying to prevent the US from gaining unilateral advantages and to compel it to fully comply with all of the Treaty’s commitments. After Washington destroyed the INF Treaty, New START is the last international treaty to limit the Russian and US nuclear missile potentials and to make activities in this area predictable and mutually verifiable.