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Jan 29, 2021
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START III: What will happen to our Avangard, which the United States has no control over?

Photo: intercontinental ballistic missile UR-100N UTTH of the strategic complex "Avangard"

In the photo: the UR-100N UTTH intercontinental ballistic missile of the Avangard strategic complex (Photo: RF Ministry of Defense / TASS)

The extended Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START-3) will apply to the Russian Avangard missile systems. Speaking at a plenary session of the State Duma, this was stated by the Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia in charge of arms control negotiations, Sergey Ryabkov

According to him, the domestic “breakthrough in its capabilities” hypersonic system “Avangard” is already being put on alert on carriers of the existing type. As part of the implementation of the current START Treaty, this system was shown to the Americans.

“The corresponding offset rule under the treaty will, of course, apply to a warhead of this new type” Avangard “, if ratified and a five-year extension (START-3) takes place,” the deputy minister told the deputies.

However, he ruled out unilateral concessions from Russia.

On the eve of the presidents of Russia and the United States, Putin and Biden held a telephone conversation, during which they discussed, among other things, the extension of START-3. On the same day, Putin submitted to the State Duma a corresponding bill on the ratification of the agreement.

As Sergei Ryabkov said, Russia agreed to extend the contract on its own terms.

“On our terms: for five years without preconditions, without any additions and any“ appendages ”, the diplomat emphasized. According to him, the decision to extend the treaty “provides a significant amount of time for in-depth negotiations with the United States on strategic security and the future of arms control.”

But how to understand “on our terms” if “Vanguard” is on? After all, this is what the administration wanted Swap – inclusion in the agreement of the latest Russian developments, and Washington did not have analogues and could not appear in the foreseeable future. Without this, the former American president refused to sign the treaty. He also demanded that Beijing join him, which firmly rejected this demand.

The fact that Avangard will be included in the agreement became known at the end of December last year. Then the Director of the Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Ermakov told in an interview with RIA Novosti that the Russian side voluntarily expanded the START operation to this hypersonic system.

“This was done in a spirit of goodwill, despite a number of legal issues that arise, including with respect to the unconstructive US approaches to control such systems. These issues have yet to be resolved. In general, we are open to discussing this issue in multilateral formats, ”the diplomat said.

We also recall that the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Sergey Lavrov back in mid-November, he announced that Russia was ready to take into account the Avangard and Sarmat systems in the START Treaty, but Poseidon, Burevestnik and a number of others did not fall under this document.

On whose terms was the contract extended? Who benefits from it more?

– START-3 is being prolonged only because its termination strongly affects international security and the security of the United States and Russia themselves, – I am sure Associate Professor of the Department of Political Science and Sociology of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, member of the Expert Council “Officers of Russia” Alexander Perendzhiev

– Therefore, in order to counteract various risks in connection with the termination of, in fact, the last legal act in the system of international nuclear security, such a reasonable decision was made. In order to then begin consultations on the conclusion of a new treaty, which will take into account the latest developments in the field of nuclear weapons – missiles, anti-missiles etc.

If Trump remained the President of the United States, who would not have extended this agreement, then, most likely, we would have come to a complete collapse of the legal system for ensuring international nuclear security. It is possible that the arms lobby, in his person, really did it.

– There is no sensation in the inclusion of the Avangard system in the document, – considers columnist for News Front news agency, military expert Yuri Selivanov

– START-3 really takes into account only the number of combat units (CU) on deployed strategic delivery vehicles. The agreement does not specify what kind of warheads. That is, they can be any within the quantitative parameters established by START-3. Including gliding warheads of the “Vanguard” type. The Treaty also does not limit the qualitative development or modernization of strategic offensive weapons within the same framework.

Thus, the United States has installed new low-yield nuclear warheads on parts of its Trident-2 SLBMs for purposes that it considers important within the framework of the concept of a “global disarming strike”. The Russian side did not oppose this in any way.

Just like the United States, there is no reason to object to the replacement of old warheads on Russian missiles with the Avangard hypersonic unit. The problem of taking into account the qualitative parameters of strategic weapons, as well as expanding their available nomenclature, is the subject of possible future negotiations on the conclusion of a new treaty. However, this is not at stake at this stage, and the START-3 Treaty will continue to function in the same format.

“SP”: – All mass media write that the Americans agreed to extend the agreement “on our terms.” Is it correct to say so?

– Not. The agreement was signed ten years ago by the presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States. It reflects the agreed position of the two countries.

“SP”: – Some experts believe that the extension of the agreement turned out to be beneficial for the United States. the program of renewal of strategic carriers of nuclear charges is stalled. It is believed that our systems, such as Avangard and Sarmat, bypass all existing and future missile defense systems. American missiles are easily knocked out by our air defense and missile defense systems. Is it so? Does this mean that the Americans made a compromise, recognizing the impossibility of winning the arms race, but we can relax?

– No, it doesn’t. The United States, which lagged behind the Russian Federation in the development of the newest strategic offensive arms and missile defense systems, would benefit from keeping Russia within the framework of the existing treaty so as not to further aggravate its position.

Thus, in the event of the US withdrawal from START-3, Russia could, in a short time, increase the quantitative potential of its strategic forces. In particular, by deploying a new generation of mobile BZHRK and re-arming three of the world’s largest missile submarines of the Akula project.

At the same time, in the context of the extension of START-3, the Russian Federation retains complete freedom of hands with regard to those new weapons systems that are not covered by the current treaty. Russia proceeds from the premise that it should not stop developing new weapons. And it will strive not to slow down the pace of such developments so as not to allow a potential adversary to close the existing qualitative gap. The other day, President Vladimir Putin stated this bluntly, calling on the defense complex not to relax, since this is fraught with the loss of Russia’s advantages.

“SP”: – Will the Americans now try to upgrade their nuclear arsenals or upgrade missile defense systems? Or both? Will they pull it financially, will it be within five years?

– The United States will do the same as Russia – with some lag, but modernize its strategic arsenals within the framework permitted by the treaty. And to develop new types of weapons outside of its framework, which is also not prohibited. Over time, in the process of this partially controlled arms race, both sides will have new strategic trump cards not covered by the current treaty, which will give a powerful incentive to equalize the chances and sign another treaty that takes into account all the latest developments.

Perhaps, by that time, China will also grow up to join this process. And maybe not only China. Russia, for example, has no reason not to take into account in the long term the nuclear missile arsenals of France and Great Britain, which are the official military allies of the United States.

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