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Jun 30, 2020
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What will happen to START III?

Nuclear Powers Continue Modernizing Their Arsenals

The danger of the resumption of an uncontrolled nuclear arms race is increasing. This is signaled by the report of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The report indicates that the nuclear powers, despite a general reduction in the number of warheads, continued to modernize their arsenals in 2019.

SIPRI Stockholm Peace Research Institute

SIPRI Stockholm Peace Research Institute

“At the beginning of 2020, - noted in the report, - nine nuclear powers - the USA, Russia, Great Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea - had a total of 13.4 thousand nuclear weapons ... About 3.72 thousand nuclear weapons are stored in operational warehouses parts, and about 1.8 thousand of them are in operational readiness ",

Both Russia and the United States have long-term expensive programs for the replacement and modernization of nuclear warheads, missiles and aircraft delivery systems, as well as facilities for the production of warheads. Both countries, according to the SIPRI report, attach expanded importance to nuclear weapons.

According to the Stockholm Institute, today the United States has 1.75 thousand deployed and 4.05 thousand other warheads. Russia has 1.57 thousand and 4.805 thousand, respectively. The total number of American warheads is 5.8 thousand, Russian - 6.375 thousand. In 2018, the overall reduction in the world of nuclear weapons occurred mainly as a result of the dismantling of obsolete warheads by Russia and the United States (two countries account for more than 90% of the world's nuclear weapons stockpiles) in accordance with the START III treaty concluded in 2010. In 2019, the arsenals of both countries remained within the framework defined by the treaty.

However, in Asia, nuclear stockpiles have increased over this period. In China, the number of nuclear warheads increased from 290 to 320, in Islamabad there are 160 - 10 more than before, in India - 150, and a year earlier it was 130-140, Israel has 90 nuclear warheads for 2020, previously it was 80-90 . North Korea, although it adhered to a unilateral moratorium on testing nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, in 2019 conducted numerous flight tests of shorter-range ballistic missiles, as well as a number of new systems. At the same time, the DPRK does not provide information on the capabilities of its arsenal.

Negotiations in Vienna between Russia and the USA (S. Ryabkov and M. Billingsley)

Negotiations in Vienna between Russia and the USA (S. Ryabkov and M. Billingsley)

It is alarming that if START III (the Treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on Measures to Further Reduce and Limit Strategic Offensive Arms) is not extended, it will expire in February 2021. In 2019, negotiations to extend the old or conclude a new agreement did not bring any results. SIPRI experts note that this was largely due to the position of the US administration, which insists on participating in the treaty of China, which responds with a categorical refusal.

Against this background, Russian-American consultations on the extension of START III were held in Vienna on June 22-23. The Russian delegation was led by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, and the American delegation by the special envoy of the US President for arms control Marshall Billingsley. The Americans began with a provocation. Billingsley without any approval put the flag of the People's Republic of China on the negotiating table and said that "China has not arrived for negotiations," although the Chinese side has repeatedly warned that it does not intend to participate in negotiations to extend the agreement between the United States and Russia.

“America has negotiated with Russia about START-3, having made a“ performance ”out of it. She tried to disrupt the negotiations with the help of China, " - commented on the incident "People's Daily." "What an absurd scene!" - added on Twitter "the head of the department for arms control and disarmament of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Phu Tsun.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Ryabkov in an interview Nbc also noted that "An agreement between Russia and the United States that has existed for several decades"has nothing to do with China. While the two countries, the Russian Federation and the USA, have at their disposal more than 5 thousand nuclear warheads each, the nuclear arsenal of China with their arsenals is not comparable.

The US is constantly upgrading its nuclear arsenal

The US is constantly upgrading its nuclear arsenal

Billingsley pretended that nothing had happened, and stated that the negotiations had allowed Russia and the United States to advance in understanding nuclear disarmament issues. He also stressed that the United States does not see options for introducing a moratorium on the deployment of medium and shorter-range missiles in Europe, which had previously been prohibited by the INF Treaty. “In simple terms, this (moratorium) will not be". Noting that China is not limited to any treaties in this area, Billingsley said: “We are not going to either (limit yourself)",

Commenting on the results of the Vienna talks, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted that the Americans persistently sought the Russian delegation to support the idea of ​​moving the talks into a trilateral format. “We again recalled our stated position: Russia is open to multilateral discussion on possible measures to ensure predictability and restraint in the nuclear missile sphere, on the understanding that it would be counterproductive to force anyone to participate in such discussions”- said Zakharova.

"The agreement between Russia and the United States expires in February 2021, - writes the Italian newspaper Newspaper, - and negotiations between Washington and Moscow cannot “take off” in any way: the US government wants to involve China in a new treaty, but Beijing sharply rejects such a demand ... The impasse in negotiations between the three powers involved in modernizing their nuclear arsenals risks devaluing decades of multilateral efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons,

“Any contacts between Russia and the USA are better than their absence, - said about the negotiations in Vienna, Andrei Kortunov, general director and member of the Presidium of the INF. - However, the fact of meeting in Vienna is not worth overestimating. Similar consultations under the current administration have already been held, but they have not led to any practical agreements. ”,

The question of what will happen to START III remains open.

Artist Igor Yaroshenok

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