Russia, U.S. must review position on nuclear arms
Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 10 / Trend , E.Tariverdiyeva/
Russia and the U.S. have to completely review their positions on nuclear armaments in order to conclude a new agreement on control of strategic offensive arms, as Russia is unlikely to fulfill Obama administration's wish.
"Russia and the United States can reach an agreement on the reduction of nuclear arms, but I do not think that it will be "on American terms". Both sides will have to be satisfied with the proposals in order to have a new treaty," said leading European expert for non-proliferation of nuclear weapons Ian Anthony.
Role of nuclear forces may increase while shaping the new image of the Russian army, RBC quoted Russian Armed Forces General Staff Chief Nikolai Makarov as saying on Feb. 9.
On Feb. 8, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov said at the Munich Security Conference that Russia was ready to negotiate new text of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). "Negotiations will begin fairly quickly as soon as the U.S. is ready," said Ivanov.
Russian media outlets reported in December 2008 and January 2009 that START-2 would be developed. Content of the treaty was not detailed. START-2 is expected to be one of the issues to be discussed during Obama's visit to Russia. According to unconfirmed reports, the visit will take place in April.
President Obama pledged to make nuclear arms reduction a key task of his office. He promised to resume talks with Russia to update START-1, signed in 1991. According to the agreement, both countries should limit their nuclear reserves from roughly 10,000 to 5,000 units.
Observers say Russia will not agree on a large-scale reduction of nuclear arms envisaged in START-2.
"These will be complicated negotiations and there are likely to be different views on whether the final number (e.g. of 1,000) should include total deployed nuclear warheads; total deployed strategic nuclear warheads (excluding tactical weapons); total nuclear warheads (including warheads in reserve) or total strategic nuclear warheads (including strategic nuclear warheads in reserve but excluding tactical weapons)," leading expert, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute non-proliferation program head Ian Anthony wrote Trend in an email.
There are two views - a view of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff Chief and a view of the U.S., said Russian military expert Konstantin Sivkov. "There will be a severe struggle. If patriotic forces win, START-2 will either be not signed or will be signed under three positions providing security of Russia's nuclear deterrence," Geopolitical Affairs Academy First Vice-President Konstantin Sivkov told Trend .
To reach a constructive agreement, it is necessary to include not only U.S. and Russia, but also countries of nuclear club to cut the nuclear powers' nuclear potential, he said.
"U.S. must refuse air space and marine Missile Defense Shield (MDS) and admit their non-fulfilling the SOA-1, destroy and dismantle nuclear warheads," Sivkov said.
U.S.'s proposal to cut nuclear arms is dangerous for Russia, the Russian expert said.
If Russia and U.S. existed in vacuum, U.S.'s initiative would be constructive, Sivkov said.
However, besides Russia, UK possesses nuclear weapon, as it has 1,500 nuclear warheads. Furthermore, France has 1,000 warheads, as well as China and Israel - 200 warheads.
In fact, U.S. did not fulfill SOA-1, as several thousand of warheads and carrier rockets comprise return potential. In other words, they are stored and in good order and prepared to war duty. Therefore, Obama's proposal to reduce Russia's nuclear armament to 1,000 warheads is an attempt to provide Russia's nuclear disarmament, the Russian expert said.
"Moreover, U.S. is deploying air MDS at Boings-747 and space platforms, as well as marine MDS, which can neutralize Russian nuclear missiles at 1,000 warheads, as Obama desires," Sivkov said.
I think the most likely next development is a fairly simple treaty that will come into force before START I expires in December simply maintaining continuity in bilateral arms control, Anthony said. "Then during a period of negotiation, the sides can reach a more extensive agreement -- perhaps in the second half of 2010."
According to another Russian expert Vitaly Fedchenko, Russia can agree on the proposed agreement under certain conditions.
"I would not rule out that Russia can agree on American terms, but this will be preceded by long negotiations," Stockholm International Peace Research Institute non-proliferation researcher Vitaly Fedchenko told Trend in a telephone conversation from Stockholm.
Reduction of arms may take place, if it suits both countries, he said.
Russia's first priority, he said, is to improve strategic nuclear forces and capabilities of strategic nuclear forces to oppose the U.S. missile defense. "If these conditions are met, Russia will be able to reduce its weapons to 1,000 warheads," said Fedchenko.
If the Joint Staff and the Russian leadership are sure they are able to perform these tasks even if their strategic nuclear forces are only 1,000 warheads, then the U.S. proposals is acceptable," said Fedchenko.
Moscow-based R.Agayev and Baku-based E.Ostapenko contributed to the article
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