The US and Russian nuclear arsenals could soon be unconstrained by any binding arms control agreements for the first time since 1972, triggering an expensive and dangerous new arms race, a group of former officials and experts from the US, Europe and Russia has warned.
In a statement to be published on Wednesday, the signatories point out that the 2010 New Start treaty limiting the deployed strategic warheads and delivery systems of the US and Russia, will expire in February 2021, unless urgent steps are taken to extend it.
Meanwhile, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement is in danger of collapse, amid US accusations of Russian violations of the pact with the development of a new land-based cruise missile, and the Trump administration’s threat to develop a similar weapon in response.
Both Vladimir Putin, in recent statements, and Donald Trump, in his administration’s nuclear posture review, have declared plans to modernise and upgrade their arsenals involving new nuclear weapons capabilities.
The threatened return to an arms race between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers comes at a time of high tension in relations between Washington and Moscow, when US, Nato and Russian forces are operating in close proximity in eastern Europe and Syria. [Continue reading…]
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