Oct 15, 2021
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Iskanders in Kaliningrad haunt Yankees

In the photo: Iskander operational-tactical missile system (OTRK)

In the photo: the Iskander operational-tactical missile system (OTRK) (Photo: Press Service of the RF Ministry of Defense / TASS)

Russia must remove from Europe the missiles that are deployed there in violation of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles. The corresponding statement was made by the US President’s Special Representative for Nuclear Nonproliferation Jeffrey Eberhardt

American official was asked to comment on the attitude of the current White House administration to the initiative Vladimir Putin introduce a moratorium on the deployment of intermediate and shorter-range missiles in Europe. But instead of answering, he accused Russia of having already violated the INF Treaty by deploying missiles, and in an ultimatum demanded that they be removed.

The requirement is more than strange, since the INF Treaty no longer exists.

Recall that it was concluded between the USSR and the United States in 1987 and prohibited the two countries from producing and deploying intermediate and shorter-range ballistic and cruise missiles. But on August 2, 2019, after the Americans unilaterally withdrew from the agreement, simultaneously accusing Moscow of non-compliance with the provisions of the document, its effect ended.

The formal reason for breaking the agreements on the American side was the Russian cruise missile of the Iskander 9M729 complex, whose flight range allegedly exceeds the permissible limits. Washington even demanded to destroy the “intruder missile” and its launchers. At the same time, the arguments of the Russian side that the 9M729 does not belong to the class of medium and shorter-range missiles, since its maximum range is about 480 km, were not taken into account.

Trying to save the treaty, the Russian side in January 2019 went, one might say, to an unprecedented step – arranged a special briefing for foreign military attaches and journalists in Kubinka near Moscow, where representatives of the Russian defense department disclosed some of the tactical and technical characteristics of the 9M729. However, the Americans and their NATO allies ignored the event.

And a few months later, the contract itself ordered, as they say, to live a long time.

To reduce the degree of growing tensions in Europe, Putin personally put forward a number of initiatives.

In particular, he said that Moscow is ready, of its own free will, not to deploy 9M729 missiles on the European part of Russia, subject to reciprocal steps from NATO. That is, by doing so, we essentially agreed to limit our sovereign right to deploy weapons on a significant part of our own territory.

In addition, the alliance was asked to conduct counter inspections of Aegis Ashore complexes with Mk-41 launchers at bases in Europe and 9M729 missiles at Kaliningrad facilities.

But again, neither the one nor the other initiative aroused interest in the Western “partners”. “It’s like they’ve gone deaf,” the Russian leader said at the time.

And now the United States has returned to the INF Treaty, which it itself has closed. Moreover, with the same accusatory rhetoric against Russia.

JV asked the well-known expert in the field of international relations, Head of the Department of Regional Policy of the Institute of Civil Service and Management, RANEPA Vladimir Shtol:

– It’s ridiculous to talk today about Russia’s capabilities to deploy some of its strike forces and missile systems in Europe. We can only talk about the territory, in fact, the Russian Federation.

As for the logic of the American official, who called on Russia to abide by the nonexistent treaty, from which the Americans themselves have already withdrawn for a couple of years on a voluntary and proactive basis, it simply does not exist here and cannot be. Therefore, looking for some meaning in these statements is probably counterproductive. All that has been said does not lend itself to any intelligible explanation.

But, you see, not everyone is a specialist and knows that the Americans withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. This means that one more populist statement can be made that Russia has allegedly violated something again. This is easier than formulating your position on, say, our president’s proposal to introduce a moratorium on the deployment of such weapons systems in Europe.

So there is a kind of “roll-forward”, an avalanche-like stream of accusations against one “guilty person on duty” in the person of Russia.

I think that the current statement of the US special envoy for nonproliferation fits into this perfect anti-logic.

“SP”: – Doesn’t this dissonant with the latest statements of the American side. The same Victoria Nuland, who called the recent talks in Moscow constructive and useful?

– Yes, Nuland said she spoke well. But this does not mean that the parties have come to any better understanding or rapprochement and agreement of their positions. Nuland paid a compliment, first of all, to herself, that it was she – such a fine fellow – had a good conversation with Cossack, with Ryabkov …etc.

But take the comments of our negotiators – they say otherwise. Ryabkov, for example, announced a possible freeze in Russian-American diplomatic relations. Since no progress was made during the meeting

As for the talks on Donbass, did Nuland offer to stop supplying lethal weapons to the Kiev regime. Or something else similar? She announced the implementation of the Minsk agreements. But, as Hajja Nasreddin taught, no matter how much you repeat “halva”, it will not make your mouth sweeter. Therefore, things are still there.

You can practice such verbal “pingpong” for as long as you like, but at the same time not move forward at all. And that’s exactly what the undersecretary of state is doing in this particular case.

So I think it was a probing visit, nothing more. It is too early to talk about any progress in Russian-American relations or serious agreements.

“SP”: – Here the European Parliament came out with another batch of accusations against Russia. We are allegedly destroying the architecture of conventional arms control in Europe. But aren’t the Europeans themselves rejecting all our peace initiatives?

– There is a general trend, a general direction of the policy of the collective West, which, of course, is formulated by the United States. But the Europeans, as they were not sovereign, so they continue to demonstrate to us.

But only when it completely squeezes (when you really want to eat or your feet are cold), then you can make contacts with Russia. As an example – the Hungarian demarche to conclude an agreement with Gazprom. In all other issues, if you can somehow endure, here the West is very consistent. And we have not seen any improvement in relations, and we do not see it.

Hence this deafness to our proposals. They are not interested in them. Because if we seriously discuss the Russian proposals, then we need to move on to certain specific formats of cooperation. After all, one cannot discuss serious proposals through the media, say, in the field of arms control. This means that you have to sit down at the table, negotiate. We need to make mutual visits, build up contacts … etc. All that, just that does not fit into the current logic of the West’s attitude to the Russian Federation.

“SP”: – So the American “Aegis” in Europe are good, and the Russian “Iskander” in the Russian Kaliningrad – is it a threat?

– For the political “hawks” in Poland or the Baltic states, for the most powerful Russophobes, the presence of American weapons is, indeed, a certain guarantee that the United States, if something happens, can stand up for the younger brothers. That is, for them.

Although history apparently teaches nothing. The attitude of the Americans towards the Afghan allies demonstrated how far their guarantees can extend.

On the other hand, we again return to the question of the sovereignty of these countries. That is, they, in fact, want to have some kind of American presence at home. It is no coincidence that our president compared them to a jackal Tobacco, the unchanging henchman of the jungle master of the tiger Sherkhan… But they do not have any special opportunities to refuse the unobtrusive proposals of American overlords.

We see the same thing in the economy. No matter how expensive and unprofitable liquefied American gas is, but where to go? They are building storage facilities, waiting and rejoicing that maybe this gas will come. And even when he leaves for Asia, they clap their hands.

In fact, there is one non-systemic participant that does not fit into the general outline of the “civilized” world – the Russian Federation, which is trying to follow its own path. We do not always succeed in doing this due to some limited resources. But, nevertheless, we are demonstrating such a trend. We also demonstrate the desire for this.

And the collective West is terribly annoying that we are not marching in the same ranks with them. Although, on the other hand, do not walk, the fate of all walkers is, in general, rather unenviable. This was clearly demonstrated to us by the “holy nineties” and the beginning of the “zero” when we tried to march in the orderly ranks of the West.

In the Federation Council, the statement by the US representative about Russian missiles in Europe also did not go unnoticed.

Vice Speaker of the Upper House, Senator Konstantin Kosachev called it an unfounded attempt “to get rid of a sore head on a healthy one.” The senator ironically noted that “it is necessary to discuss the relevant issues at expert consultations, and not through” megaphone diplomacy, “especially when she has only a megaphone from diplomacy.”

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