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"I want to thank the Arms Control Association … for being such effective advocates for sensible policies to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and most importantly, reduce the risk of nuclear war."
– Senator Joe Biden
January 28, 2004
Russia

UK Names Two Russians in Novichok Poisonings

The Skripal assassination attempt was “not a rogue operation,” says UK Prime Minister May.


October 2018
By Alicia Sanders-Zakre

The United Kingdom charged two Russian nationals on Sept. 5 with the attempted murder in March of former spy Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia using the nerve agent Novichok, bolstering its case that the Russian government instigated the crime.

In a police photo released September 5, Novichok poisoning suspects are shown on CCTV in Salisbury, UK, March 4. The two men, Russian nationals using the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, are suspects in the attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.  (Photo: Metropolitan Police via Getty Images)According to the UK investigation, the two men, who traveled under the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, are members of Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency. The accusation resulted from a months-long UK police investigation, including the analysis of more than 10,000 hours of CCTV videos.

The UK previously accused the Russian government, but had not identified individual suspects. (See ACT, April 2018.)

UK Prime Minister Theresa May, speaking in Parliament, said on Sept. 5 that the latest finding proves even more definitively Russian government culpability. She vowed to press for the creation of a new EU chemical weapons sanctions regime and to empower the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to “attribute chemical weapons to other states beyond Syria.” The OPCW was granted the mandate to investigate the responsible party for chemical attacks in Syria in June. (See ACT, July/August 2018.)

European nations and the United States have taken steps in response to the attacks, which included expelling hundreds of Russian diplomats and enacting new sanctions. In November, the United States is expected to adopt still harsher sanctions against Russia for its chemical weapons use unless the government admits its guilt, forswears future use, and allows international inspectors to verify its assurances. (See ACT, September 2018.)

At a UN Security Council meeting on Sept. 9 called by the UK, several nations supported the UK’s conclusions and called for strengthening the Chemical Weapons Convention, the 1993 accord that bans chemical weapons. Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia dismissed the allegations a “crazy cocktail of unfounded lies,” continuing a pattern of denial of Russian and Syrian chemical weapons use.

In an interview on Russia’s government-funded news channel RT, the two suspects claimed they had visited Salisbury twice as tourists to see the city’s famous cathedral. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the men were civilians. “We, of course, checked who these people are. There is nothing special there, nothing criminal, I assure you,” Putin stated at an economic forum on Sept. 12.

UK newspapers have reported that a UK-based investigative website, Bellingcat, independently has obtained documentation showing that the names appear to be cover identities linked to the Russian security services and that plane tickets to the UK were bought at the last minute, not as part of a long-planned vacation, as the men claimed.

Laboratory tests by the OPCW confirmed on Sept. 4 the UK’s finding that Novichok was also the chemical agent that killed Dawn Sturgess and injured Charlie Rowley on June 30 in Amesbury. Sturgess and Rowley appear to have been poisoned accidentally by picking up a discarded perfume bottle that held the remains of the nerve agent used on the Skripals.

The two Russians are also “prime suspects” for the Amesbury incident given the link between the two events, May said in her Parliament remarks. The UK has issued Interpol red notices and domestic and European arrest warrants, although the men cannot be arrested and brought to trial as long as they remain in Russia.

Can the U.S. and Russia Avert a New Arms Race?

Five long years have passed since U.S. President Barack Obama proposed and Russian President Vladimir Putin unfortunately rejected negotiations designed to cut their excessive nuclear stockpiles by one-third below the limits set by the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START).


September 2018
By Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director

Five long years have passed since U.S. President Barack Obama proposed and Russian President Vladimir Putin unfortunately rejected negotiations designed to cut their excessive nuclear stockpiles by one-third below the limits set by the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START).

U.S. Air Force maintenance technicians assigned to the 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron work on a B-2 stealth bomber at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. on March 19, 2011. The unit maintains aircraft tasked with strategic nuclear deterrence and global strike operations. Photo credit: Kenny Holston/U.S. Air ForceSince Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine, U.S.-Russian relations have deteriorated dramatically. A Russian violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty has put that treaty at risk and the nuclear arms reduction dialogue remains stalled. As a result, each side still can deploy a whopping 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads, as allowed by New START.

Reliance on outdated launch-under-attack policies means that either leader at any moment can launch as many as 800 city-destroying nuclear weapons within about 20 minutes of a “go” order. Each side would have hundreds more nuclear weapons available in reserve for counterstrikes. The result would be a global catastrophe.

Clearly, it is vital that the world’s two largest nuclear-armed powers pursue further measures to reduce their bloated stockpiles and the risk of a nuclear confrontation. Yet, Moscow’s brazen effort to interfere with the 2016 U.S. elections on behalf of the Trump campaign and suspicions that then-candidate Donald Trump encouraged that effort have further complicated the bilateral relationship and cast doubt on Trump’s ability to deal with Putin.

Meanwhile, a qualitative nuclear arms race is underway, and a quantitative nuclear arms race may be just around the corner. The United States and Russia are rushing forward with costly, ambitious plans to upgrade their Cold War nuclear arsenals and develop new types of destabilizing nuclear weapons.

In little more than two years, on Feb. 5, 2021, New START is scheduled to expire. Without a decision to extend the treaty, which is allowable under Article XIV, there will be no legally binding limits on the world’s two largest arsenals for the first time since 1972. The risk of unconstrained U.S.-Russian nuclear competition and even more fraught relations would grow.

In a March interview with NBC News, Putin voiced interest in extending New START or possibly even making further cuts in warhead numbers. In April, the Trump administration announced it is conducting a “whole-of-government review” on whether to extend New START, an effort described as still in its early stages.

At the Helsinki summit in July, Putin presented several proposals “to work together further to interact on the disarmament agenda, military, and technical cooperation.” Afterward, Trump stated that “perhaps the most important issue we discussed at our meeting...was the reduction of nuclear weapons throughout the world.”

Unfortunately, the two leaders did not reach any agreements in Helsinki. Subsequently, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton, following a Geneva meeting with Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev on Aug. 23, did not announce a date for talks on New START or on “strategic stability.”

There is no time for further delay. New START clearly serves U.S. and Russian security interests. Failure to extend the treaty would compromise U.S. intelligence on Russian nuclear forces, open the door to unconstrained nuclear competition, and undermine U.S. and allied security.

An extension of New START also would provide additional time for Trump or his successor to pursue negotiations on more far-reaching nuclear cuts involving strategic and tactical nuclear systems, an understanding about the limits of U.S. strategic missile defenses, and limitations on non-nuclear strategic strike weapons that both sides are beginning to develop.

Fortunately, the treaty can be extended by up to five years, to 2026, by a simple agreement by the two presidents without complex negotiations, without further approval from the U.S. Senate or Russian Duma, and without unwise concessions to Moscow.

Even the toughest Democratic critics of Trump’s Russia policies support New START extension. Legislation introduced in June by Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.) calls for extension of the treaty so long as Russia remains in compliance.

The compliance disputes involving the INF Treaty present a more complex problem. To move forward, Washington and Moscow should agree to reciprocal site visits by experts to examine the 9M729 missile that is in dispute.

If the disputed Russian missile is still believed to have a range that exceeds the 500-kilometer treaty limit, Russia could, as a confidence-building measure, modify the missile into compliance or, ideally, halt production and eliminate any such missiles.

To address Russian concerns about the possible conversion of U.S. missile interceptor systems in Europe to offensive purposes, the United States could agree to reciprocal site visits or perhaps even physical modifications of the launchers.

Despite their many disputes, it is vital that Washington and Moscow maintain a stable, predictable nuclear relationship and avoid direct military conflict.

To do so, Trump and Putin should relaunch the strategic stability dialogue and commit to reaching an early agreement to extend New START. If not, an even more dangerous phase in U.S.-Russian relations may emerge.

No Arms Control Advances in U.S.-Russian Talks

The Trump administration is undecided about extending New START.


September 2018
By Kingston Reif

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin did not reach any specific agreements on resuming an arms control dialogue or addressing the uncertain future of two key arms reduction agreements during their controversial July 16 summit in Helsinki.

U.S. (L) and Russian delegations face one another as John Bolton, the U.S. national security adviser, holds talks with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev on August 23 in Geneva. (Photo: Eric Bridiers/U.S. Mission)A follow-up meeting between White House national security adviser John Bolton and his Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, in Geneva on Aug. 23 also did not produce any arms control announcement, despite expectations that they might agree to resume bilateral strategic stability talks. Bolton told reporters afterward that the Trump administration has not decided how to proceed on key matters, including the possible extension of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START).

Although some meaningful arms control cooperation continues, most notably adherence to the New START-imposed limits on strategic nuclear weapons, there is no ongoing U.S.-Russian dialogue on further nuclear risk reduction steps as both sides act to upgrade their nuclear capabilities.

Putin has previously stated his interest in negotiating the extension of New START, which otherwise expires in February 2021, as well as other arms control subjects. Trump has criticized the treaty, which was negotiated during the Obama administration.

The lack of progress on the arms control agenda, coupled with the Trump administration’s evident ambivalence, raises questions about how interested the administration really is in engaging Russia on nuclear risk reduction and whether the two sides will avert a collapse of the teetering bilateral arms control regime.

Since 2014, the United States has accused Russia of testing and deploying ground-launched cruise missiles in violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and is reviewing what the State Department calls defensive options in case Russia’s actions “result in the collapse of the treaty.” (See ACT, January/February 2018.) Moscow denies it is violating the agreement and instead has accused Washington of breaching the accord.

Both countries are investing massive sums to replace and upgrade their existing nuclear arsenals. In a pre-election address to the Russian Federal Assembly on March 1, Putin boasted about the development of several new nuclear weapons systems, including nuclear-armed hypersonic glide vehicles, globe-circling nuclear-powered cruise missiles, and very long-range nuclear torpedoes for use against U.S. port cities. (See ACT, April 2018.)

In light of these developments, Trump told reporters at the White House in March that he wanted to meet with Putin in large part “to discuss the arms race, which is getting out of control.” Trump has characterized the costly nuclear upgrade programs being pursued by both sides as “a very, very bad policy.”

Likewise Putin, following his election victory March 18, said that “nobody plans to accelerate an arms race.”

In Helsinki, Putin presented the United States with several proposals “to work together further to interact on the disarmament agenda, military, and technical cooperation.”

These included beginning discussions about a five-year extension of New START, as allowed by the treaty; reaffirming commitment to the INF Treaty; resuming dialogue on Russian concerns about U.S. missile defense plans and joint efforts to eliminate missile threats; and measures to prevent dangerous military incidents. Russia also proposed to resume strategic stability talks as a forum to discuss those topics and related issues.

John Bolton, the U.S. national security adviser, addresses a press conference at the U.S. Mission in Geneva on August 23, following a meeting with his Russian counterpart. (Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)The United States and Russia held a first round of strategic stability talks last September in Helsinki. The specific agenda was not disclosed. (See ACT, October 2017.) A second round of talks was slated for March 7–8 in Vienna, but Russia announced that it would not participate in the talks, citing the U.S. cancellation of bilateral consultations on cybersecurity that had been scheduled to take place in late February in Geneva.

Following the summit, Trump stated that “perhaps the most important issue we discussed at our meeting...was the reduction of nuclear weapons throughout the world.”

But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 25 that no specific agreements were reached on arms control in Helsinki and that the administration does not have a position yet on whether to extend New START.

New START remains one of the few bright spots in the strained relationship. Ratified in 2011, the treaty limits the number of deployed strategic warheads to a maximum of 1,550 on each side, a target each met earlier this year and that is far below the tens of thousands during the Cold War. (See ACT, March 2018.)

Although it expires in February 2021, the treaty can be extended by up to five years by agreement by the two presidents, without requiring further action by Congress or the Duma. If New START is allowed to expire and there is not a replacement, there will be no legally binding limits on the world’s two largest strategic arsenals for the first time since 1972.

Putin has repeatedly expressed interest in extending the treaty, although Russia has raised concerns about some of the procedures the United States has used to remove nuclear weapons launchers from accountability under the agreement.

The Trump administration has yet to formulate the U.S. position on the treaty. The administration views Russia’s concerns about U.S. implementation of the treaty “as being nefarious” and “there is not an administration position on what we’re going to do on New START,” Wess Mitchell, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Aug. 21.

“We’ll make that decision at the appropriate time consistent with U.S. national interests,” he said.

Likewise, Bolton told reporters after his Patrushev meeting that the administration remains in the “early stages” of an interagency review about whether to extend, replace, or jettison New START or to pursue a different type of approach, such as the 2002 Strategic Offensive Weapons Treaty, which only limited deployed warheads and did not include verification provisions.

Before joining the Trump administration, Bolton was a frequent and vocal critic of New START, castigating the agreement as unilateral disarmament.

In the aftermath of Helsinki, some U.S. officials said the administration was seeking to resume the strategic stability talks. “We would also like to talk more about strategic stability, making sure there are clear understandings between the United States and Russia about these terribly lethal weapons that we both control and talk about the future of nonproliferation,” John Rood, undersecretary of defense for policy, said July 20 at the Aspen Security Forum.

Mitchell told senators in August that there “is a line of sight to continuing the process on strategic stability talks” and that there would be more information about timing following Bolton’s meeting with Patrushev. It is unclear why Bolton and Patrushev did not agree to resume the talks.

U.S. Sanctions Russia for CW Use

Russia denies the charge and threatens “countermeasures.”


September 2018
By Alicia Sanders-Zakre

U.S. sanctions on Russia for its use of the nerve agent Novichok in an alleged UK assassination attempt took effect in late August, and the Trump administration faces a legal deadline to impose still harsher measures in November.

Yulia Skripal, who was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok along with her father, former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, speaks to journalists May 23 in London. The UK and United States blame Russia for the assassination attempt using a banned chemical weapon. (Photo: Dylan Martinez/AFP/Getty Images)U.S. exports to Russia related to national security are banned under the initial sanctions, including gas turbine engines, electronics, integrated circuits, and testing and calibration equipment that were previously allowed on a case-by-case basis. Waivers may be issued for some exports related to space flights and commercial passenger safety.

The United States and United Kingdom say Moscow was behind the poisoning in March of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter with the Russian chemical agent in Salisbury in March. (See ACT, April 2018.) “The attack against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury on March 4, was a reckless display of contempt for the universally held norm against chemical weapons,” said a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, according to Reuters.

The sanctions were triggered by the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Elimination Act of 1991, which stipulates that the United States must apply sanctions within 60 days of determining a country has used chemical weapons. The Trump administration initially missed the act’s deadline. The act has been invoked twice previously, in response to Syria’s chemical weapons use in 2013 and a fatal 2017 chemical poisoning in Malaysia attributed to North Korea. (See ACT, April 2017.)

Many of the goods sanctioned in August were already banned by military- and security-related sanctions, but the United States in November likely will impose more powerful sanctions. Under the law, Russia will face additional penalties unless it provides reliable assurances that it is no longer using chemical weapons, will not do so in the future, and will allow international inspectors to verify its assurances.

Russia is unlikely to comply with these demands given its repeated denial of use or recent possession of chemical weapons. Some options for additional sanctions include targeting multilateral bank assistance to Russia, U.S. bank loans to the Russian government, or aircraft landing rights.

In an Aug. 10 phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov again denied his country’s use of chemical weapons and rejected the sanctions, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry. Russia will “consider countermeasures to this most recent unfriendly move by Washington,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Aug. 9.

 

Comments from Executive Director Daryl Kimball In Response to Bolton-Patrushev Meeting in Geneva

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At their summit in Helsinki, Putin presented the Trump administration with several proposals “to work together further to interact on the disarmament agenda, military, and technical cooperation,” incuding talks on the extension of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).Following the summit, Trump stated that “[p]erhaps the most important issue we discussed at our meeting...was the reduction of nuclear weapons throughout the world.”

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For Immediate Release: August 23, 2018

Media Contacts: Daryl Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 ext 107; Kingston Reif, director for disarmament policy, 202-463-8270 ext 104

At their summit in Helsinki, President Vladimir Putin presented the Trump administration with several proposals “to work together further to interact on the disarmament agenda, military, and technical cooperation,” incuding talks on the extension of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). Following the summit, President Donald Trump stated that “[p]erhaps the most important issue we discussed at our meeting...was the reduction of nuclear weapons throughout the world.”

Unfortunately, they did not reach any agreement on how to do so in Helsinki.

Even after a follow-up meeting to between U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton and his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev in Geneva, Bolton did not announce any agreement on resuming the nuclear arms control dialogue.

Now is the time to do so.

A qualitative nuclear arms race is underway—and a quantitative nuclear arms race may be just around the corner. The United States and Russia are both rushing forward with costly and ambitious plans to replace their Cold War nuclear arsenals and develop new types of destabilizing weapons.

In little more than two years, on Feb. 5, 2021, New START is scheduled to expire. Without a positive decision by the two presidents to extend the treaty by 5 years, as allowed for in Article XIV, there would be no legally binding limits on the world’s two largest arsenal for the first time since 1972. The risk of unconstrained U.S.-Russian nuclear competition, and even more fraught relations, would grow.

Russia has voiced interest in an extension of New START or even possibly further cuts in warhead numbers.

But today, Bolton said the Trump administration is still in the "early stages" of an interagency review about whether to extend, replace, or jettison New START, or pursue a different type of approach, such as the 2002 “Moscow Treaty” approach, which did not involve a adequate verification system and only applied to deployed warheads.

If Trump wants to avoid an unconstrained nuclear arms race, a prompt decision to extend New START is the logical path forward. If not, we may see the emergence of an even more dangerous phase in U.S.-Russian relations.

Country Resources:

Can Trump and Putin Head Off a New Nuclear Arms Race?

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Trump and Putin have an important opportunity to put the brakes on a new, potentially more dangerous, arms race.

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Volume 10, Issue 8, August 8, 2018

The much-anticipated July 16 summit meeting in Helsinki between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin did not go well for the United States. In a news conference following the two-hour, one-on-one tête-à-tête between the two leaders, Trump, unfortunately, failed to condemn Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election and said he believed Putin’s denial of involvement to be “extremely strong and powerful.”

Nor does it appear that the meeting has resulted in any tangible breakthrough toward the goal of improving the strained U.S.-Russian relationship. This includes the most important area in which U.S. and Russian security interests continue to align: reducing the risk of catastrophic nuclear war and curbing a qualitative nuclear arms race that threatens to become a quantitative arms race.

The United States is poised to spend more than $1.7 trillion over the next 30 years on maintaining and upgrading its nuclear delivery systems (bombers, land-based missiles, and submarines) and their associated warheads and supporting infrastructure. The Trump administration’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review spells out – with more frightening specificity than before – the circumstances under which use of American nuclear weapons will be considered and proposes two new, “more usable” types of low-yield nuclear weapons.

Russia is also replacing and upgrading its bloated nuclear arsenal. Worse yet, Russia is in violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and Putin has boasted of new, Strangelovian weapons, including nuclear-armed hypersonic glide vehicles, globe-circling nuclear-powered cruise missiles and very long-range nuclear torpedoes for use against American port cities.

Neither the planning nor the boasting needs to become our reality. Indeed, Trump told reporters at the White House in March that he wanted to meet with Putin in large part “to discuss the arms race, which is getting out of control” and has characterized the costly nuclear upgrade programs being pursued by each side as “a very, very bad policy.”

In Helsinki, Putin presented the Trump administration with several proposals “to work together further to interact on the disarmament agenda, military, and technical cooperation.” These included: beginning discussions about an extension of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which verifiably limits U.S. and Russian deployed strategic nuclear forces and expires in early 2021; reaffirming commitment to the INF Treaty; resuming dialogue on Russian concerns about U.S. missile defense plans and joint efforts to eliminate missile threats; and measures to prevent dangerous military incidents. Russia also proposed to resume “strategic stability” talks as a forum to discuss the above and related issues.

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump meet at the 2017 G-20 Hamburg Summit, July 2017 (Source: Kremlin.ru)

Following the summit, Trump stated that “[p]erhaps the most important issue we discussed at our meeting...was the reduction of nuclear weapons throughout the world.”

But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee July 25 that no specific agreements were reached on nuclear arms control in Helsinki and the administration doesn’t yet have a position on whether to extend New START. U.S. officials have said that Washington has been seeking to resume the strategic stability talks, but the two sides have not agreed upon a date.

As the United States and Russia work to build on the dialogue that began in Helsinki and prepare for a possible second summit meeting between Trump and Putin, there are four relatively simple decisions the two leaders could make that could reduce nuclear risks and lay a more positive foundation for further steps not just in nuclear arms control, but in the still thornier disputes that divide the two powers.

Immediately Extend New START

Like the larger relationship, the U.S.-Russian arms control architecture is under significant strain. New START remains one of the few bright spots in the relationship. Ratified in 2011, the Treaty limits the number of deployed strategic warheads to a maximum of 1,550 on each side, a target each met earlier this year, and which is far below the tens of thousands we pointed at each other during the Cold War. The Treaty imposes important bounds on strategic nuclear competition as long as it is in force.

Although it expires in February 2021, the treaty can be extended by up to five years by agreement by the two Presidents, without requiring further action by the Congress or the Duma. If New START is not extended, then in 2021 there will be no legally-binding limits on the world’s two largest strategic arsenals for the first time since 1972. Unconstrained U.S.-Russian nuclear competition - in both numbers and technology - could spark an arms race as dangerous as that of the 1950s and 1960s and add scores of billions in additional costs to an already unrealistic U.S. nuclear upgrade plan.

For his part, Putin has repeatedly voiced interest in extending the treaty. This seems due in part to the fact that if the New START limit on deployed strategic warheads (1,550 each) were to expire, the United States would have a significant “upload” potential by virtue of its higher number of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles.

The most recent New START data exchange shows that the United States has 652 deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers, while Russia has 527. Russia appears to be seeking a similar upload capability. This means that in the absence of New START, each side could quickly increase the number of warheads deployed on these systems.

In his first call with Putin after inauguration day, Trump reportedly described New START as another flawed deal negotiated by his predecessor, like the Iran deal that he recently upended. Before joining the Trump administration as National Security Advisor, John Bolton also castigated the agreement. The administration is currently conducting a review of the pros and cons of extending the treaty.

But a decision to extend the Treaty can be packaged so that it is a personal victory for President Trump, rather than an extension of an Obama achievement. Extension until February 2026, would preserve its significant security advantages – not only the numerical limits, which aid U.S. military planning, but also the mutual transparency provided by the treaty’s verification measures (including data exchanges, notifications, and inspections).

An extension would also buy more time for the two sides to discuss other stabilizing measures while improving the bilateral political atmosphere. It would provide a venue to discuss and possibly limit several of the new systems under development by Russia (the treaty allows for the limitation of new strategic arms developed after the treaty entered into force) and lay the base for talks to further reduce each side’s nuclear stockpiles.

Moreover, while many observers are rightly concerned about what Trump might give away in diplomacy with Putin, extending New START could help create a positive atmosphere for reducing tensions in the U.S.-Russian relationship without making an unwise or impractical concession to Moscow. Key Senate Democrats have called for an extension of the treaty so long as Russia remains in compliance with it.

Resolve the INF Treaty Compliance Dispute

The INF Treaty made a major contribution to European and global security by verifiably eliminating all U.S. and Soviet ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

However, the treaty is now at risk, with the United States charging that Russia has deployed an illegal ground-launched cruise missile – the 9M729. Moscow, for its part, alleges, far less credibly, that Washington may be violating the treaty too. Its major gripe is that the U.S. is deploying missile defense systems in Europe that could be used to launch offensive missiles.

Russia’s flagrant violation of the treaty, as well as other key agreements such as the Chemical Weapons Convention, is unacceptable and requires a firm U.S. response, including enhancements to U.S. and NATO conventional military preparedness if the violation persists.

Complicating matters further, the Trump administration is pursuing a response to Russia’s violation that includes the development of our own treaty-prohibited missile. Some in Congress are also suggesting that we respond to Russia’s violations by declaring the agreement null and void if Russia doesn’t immediately return to compliance. Both moves play directly into Moscow’s propaganda interests.

Efforts to address the reciprocal accusations through the treaty’s dispute mechanism – the Special Verification Commission – have done little to resolve either side’s concerns. This is the moment when Trump and Putin need to provide a political impetus to those stalled expert discussions. The problems are technically complex, but they can be resolved.

Independent U.S. and Russian experts who are familiar with the nature of the Russian INF violation agree that in order to break the impasse, both sides need to acknowledge the concerns of the other side. They argue that Washington and Moscow should agree to reciprocal site visits by experts to examine the missiles and the deployment sites in dispute. If the 9M729 missile is determined to have a range that exceeds 500 km, Russia could modify the missile to ensure it no longer violates the treaty or, ideally, halt production and eliminate any such missiles in its possession.

For its part, the United States could modify its missile defense launchers to clearly distinguish them from the launchers used to fire offensive missiles from U.S. warships or agree to transparency measures that give Russia confidence the launchers don’t contain offensive missiles. Such an arrangement would address the concerns of both sides and restore compliance with the treaty without Russia having to acknowledge its original violation of the treaty.

Resume the Dialogue on Strategic Stability

Russian-American consultations on strategic stability are neither a luxury nor “business as usual.” They provide a means for each side to express concerns about new technologies and capabilities that may disrupt the tenuous balance of nuclear terror that has held – with a good deal of luck – for more than 60 years. This dialogue provides the forum at which military officials can make agreements that reduce the risk of a non-nuclear conflict. It also provides the ‘circuit breaking’ signal mechanisms that can prevent an incident from escalating from conventional to nuclear combat.

As Bernard Brodie noted in 1946 at the onset of the nuclear age, the chief job of the military is now not to win wars, but to avert them. A strategic stability dialogue serves the function of enhancing understanding and avoiding misperceptions between two military establishments with world-killing power that can be unleashed within minutes of an order to do so.

There is much of concern to discuss through the strategic stability format as first envisioned by the Obama administration. In addition to the development of new nuclear weapons and the erosion of key arms control guardrails, technological change and advances in conventional weapons are raising concerns about new escalation dangers. Both sides are developing hypersonic missiles, new missile defense capabilities, offensive cyber weapons, and anti-satellite and counterspace weapons.

U.S. efforts to convene such a bilateral dialogue have led only to intermittent meetings in the last five years, with no hard results. The United States and Russia held a round of strategic stability talks in September in Helsinki, but Russia pulled out of the second round of talks slated to take place in March in Vienna.

The Nuclear Posture Review did not offer any proposals to advance U.S.-Russian arms control or address these growing challenges to strategic stability more broadly. But with Trump’s State Department team finally in place, it’s time for the two leaders to commit to an intensified dialogue to reduce the immediate risk and to lay the basis for eventually achieving a less threatening nuclear posture on both sides. To succeed such a dialogue must include topics which the United States has always been reluctant to put on the agenda, such as ballistic missile defense and the development of rapid-strike conventional weapons.

Making Avoiding Nuclear War Great Again

When Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met for a summit meeting in 1985 in Geneva, they issued a joint statement that was both self-evident and reassuring: “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” It set the right tone for the resumption of nuclear arms reduction negotiations that would eventually yield dramatic results in the years that followed.

In itself, such a statement from Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump at their next meeting would not immediately reduce bloated U.S. and Russian arsenals or eliminate the launch-under-attack nuclear doctrines that still could lead us to a civilization-ending conflict. But it would demonstrate to a world on edge about Moscow and Washington’s nuclear bluster that those who fashion themselves as world leaders recognize their most basic responsibilities to humanity.

For decades, U.S. leadership has limited the spread of nuclear weapons, drastically reduced the global inventory of these weapons, brought about a halt to all nuclear testing by all but one state (North Korea), and sustained a strong taboo against nuclear weapons use.

But today—five decades after the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons was negotiated—the global nuclear order is under increasing strain due to the North Korean threat, stalled progress on global disarmament, rising tensions between several nuclear-armed states, and global technological advances that are putting new pressures on nuclear stability.

Trump and Putin have an important opportunity to put the brakes on a new, potentially more dangerous, arms race. Important steps in that direction would come from extending New START, preserving the INF Treaty while resolving compliance disputes, and resuming discussion of the strategic stability agenda, from which both sides and the broader world community will benefit.

THOMAS M. COUNTRYMAN, former acting under secretary of state for arms control and international security and chairman of the board of directors of the Arms Control Association; KINGSTON A. REIF, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy; DARYL G. KIMBALL, executive director

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ACA Board Chair on Pathways to a Nuclear Weapon Free World

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Remarks by Thomas Countryman to the International Symposium for Peace in Nagasaki, Japan

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Pathways to a Nuclear Weapon Free World

Remarks by Thomas Countryman
Chairman of the Arms Control Association
to the International Symposium for Peace 
Nagasaki, Japan
July 28, 2018

Introduction

Panelists discuss working toward sustainable peace at the International Symposium for Peace “The Road to Nuclear Weapons Abolition” held on July 28 in Nagasaki. (Photo: Kengo Hiyoshi/Asahi Shimbun) Let me thank the organizers of today’s conference for bringing me again to Japan. In my current focus outside the government of the United States, continuing to push for real progress on nonproliferation and arms control measures, it's always a special pleasure to come to Japan. The Japanese role in leading the international diplomatic challenge to create the highest standards in arms control and nonproliferation is unparalleled. Not only as a partner of the United States but in its own leadership role, Japan has done much to create the modern nonproliferation regime that has greatly reduced but not yet eliminated the threat that weapons of mass destruction pose to all of us.

It is especially moving to be here in Nagasaki. Visiting the memorial yesterday, a sacred place, brought back to me what President Abraham Lincoln said at the site of the bloodiest battle America ever witnessed: that those who have fallen on this site “have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract”. I sensed on this spot what no book can convey: the enormous challenge and the risk that humanity continues to face in the presence of 15,000 nuclear weapons in this world. Here I want to commend the very special role the hibakusha have played in preserving vital lessons for the memory of humanity. For 70 years, they have spread the simple truth that a human being is not just a statistic. They will touch future generations long after their own has passed from this world. I wish that every American and every world leader would have the opportunity to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki as I have.

Current Challenges

It is much easier to talk about the challenges to nuclear disarmament than it is to describe a simple path to a world free of nuclear weapons. So let me dwell first on the current challenges that we face.

First, the two major nuclear powers, the United States and the Russian Federation, have passed a turning point in their nuclear doctrines and nuclear arsenals. After about 40 years of a steady decrease in the size and diversity of their nuclear arsenals and the mission that each assigned to their nuclear weapons, both Washington and Moscow have turned a corner towards expanding the size and variety of arsenals and the circumstances for their use.

U.S. 2018 Nuclear Posture Review

The U.S. administration’s Nuclear Posture Review from this February is not a radical change from the previous nuclear posture but it is a significant change in direction. In calling for the development of new low-yield nuclear weapons, the United States is thinking more actively and – in my view - making more thinkable the use of low-yield nuclear weapons in the context of a conventional conflict. As so many have pointed out, there is no such thing as a limited nuclear war once that threshold has been crossed. “A nuclear weapon is a nuclear weapon," George Shultz, who served as President Ronald Reagan's top diplomat, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in January. "You use a small one, then you go to a bigger one. I think nuclear weapons are nuclear weapons and we need to draw the line there."

Secondly, the Nuclear Posture Review describes with more specificity than before circumstances under which the United States would consider the use of nuclear weapons to encompass not only first use by an opponent but also a response to a devastating attack by cyber or other means. Just two years ago, the Obama administration considered carefully the possibility of proclaiming a no-first-use doctrine for U.S. nuclear weapons. That U.S. policy has now shifted towards a broader definition of possible first use is of deep concern to me.

Finally, I am most disappointed in the Nuclear Posture Review in that it effectively renounces the traditional leadership that the U.S has exercised on non-proliferation and arms control issues. It makes no mention of America’s binding legal obligation under Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to pursue a reduction in arsenals. It makes no new proposals for how the U.S. will move forward in negotiations with Russia and others. And it defers any meaningful action until security conditions in the world have improved. This retreat from global leadership, whether in arms control, in climate policy or in free trade agreements is unworthy of a nation that claims to be a superpower.

Russia

As concerned as I am about the direction of U.S. policy, I am even more concerned about the continuing development by Russia of new weapons and new delivery methods. Russia seems driven by an exaggerated fear, in fact, a paranoia, about the future capabilities of U.S. missile defense. I call these fears exaggerated because I believe that missile defense can never provide an impenetrable shield. Russia is building not only new generations of ICBMs but even more dangerous weapons systems that seem to step out of the pages of a science fiction comic book, including a nuclear torpedo of unlimited range and a nuclear-powered cruise missile. Russia seems intent on probing the boundaries of existing arms control agreements, particularly the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty which laid the basis for the next 25 years of successful arms limitations. Even more than the uninformed statements by the U.S. president, the rhetoric of the Russian president - increasingly defining Russia’s national power as a function of its nuclear arsenal - erodes both the prospect of future arms control and the moral taboo against initiating the use of nuclear weapons. The 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is due to expire in 2021 and although President Putin has raised the prospect of extending the treaty, President Trump has so far rebuffed such proposals.

Joint Comprehensive Program Of Action

In the shorter term, I am especially concerned about the U.S. decision to withdraw from, that is to violate, the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action with Iran. This agreement is unprecedented, both in its inspection and verification requirements, and it prevented the risk of a tenth state breaking into the nuclear weapons club. I do not believe that Iranian development of a nuclear weapon is imminent but I am deeply concerned about the follow-on effects of this decision, that is the undermining of U.S. credibility and commitment to any agreement, the creation of a serious dispute between the U.S. and its best allies in Europe and Asia, the erosion of the international rules-based order and a resurgent radicalism in Iran.

North Korea

I am less pessimistic but still deeply concerned about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. President Trump did the right thing, trading in violent rhetoric for an opportunity for dialogue. There are dozens of reasons to distrust North Korea’s approach to negotiations and to doubt the capability of the Trump administration to negotiate a meaningful, verifiable denuclearization of North Korea. But the pursuit of negotiation is far preferable to simply sleepwalking towards war, as we seemed to be doing a year ago.

Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT)

The nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty remains central to our shared global ambition to prevent the development of new nuclear weapons and to reduce existing arsenals. On the surface, the deliberations at NPT conferences often seem utterly divorced from the real world. In fact, all the concerns I’ve just listed have a real effect on the degree of consensus you can reach among NPT parties and on the commitment that other parties show to the treaty.

For the 2020 Review Conference, I can foresee the worst but I am determined to work for the best. The RevCon can easily be upset either by the U.S. and Russia sniping at each other or by the continued inability of the states in the Middle East to sit down together and begin the process of discussing a nuclear-weapon-free-zone in the Middle East. But the most severe threat to the unity of states-parties is the growing frustration of non-nuclear weapon states with the pace of nuclear disarmament. Seeing no new U.S.-Russian agreements since 2010 and the new threatening developments in Washington and Moscow that I’ve already described, the majority of the world’s non-nuclear weapon states have made clear that they will demand more urgent progress in 2020.

Moving Towards a Nuclear Weapon Free World

So what can we do to move towards a world free from nuclear weapons?

Near-Term Steps

There are a number of steps that the United States and Russia could take right now that would change the current trajectory. First and most simply, to hear President Trump and President Putin repeat what Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan said in 1985 - that a nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought - would be of value, would provide some reassurance that these two leaders understand their responsibilities to humanity. Secondly, the United States and Russia need to extend New START. Third, they need to make a political decision to work harder on resolving the dispute about compliance with the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty. And fourth there needs to be a more regular dialogue between Moscow and Washington on both the military and political level, to pursue risk reduction measures that would prevent a conventional conflict from escalating to a nuclear one and to explore other steps that would allow each to maintain security at a lower level of armament. Finally, the United States should reassert the leadership it showed after 2010 when it led an intensive dialogue among the P5 nuclear-weapon states to give the world greater transparency, to reduce nuclear risks, and to lay the groundwork for future multilateral arms control.

It’s not easy to get either Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin to do something that reminds them of Mikhail Gorbachev or Barack Obama. In fact, it’s not easy to get them to do something unless you can convince them that it was their own brilliant idea. But it is an obligation of the rest of the world to continue to press for this. I know from my own experience with bilateral diplomacy that meetings with either Russian or American leaders always have an agenda filled with urgent items and that concerns about long-term items such as arms control simply fall out of the conversation. It is crucial that not only Japanese leaders but all world leaders press both Presidents to take serious action.

Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Beyond Moscow and Washington, what can non-nuclear weapon states do for themselves to move us towards a nuclear-weapon-free world? Many non-nuclear weapon states have sought to answer that question by negotiating a new treaty banning nuclear weapons, adopted last July.

The drafting of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons last year was historic. Some would like to see it as simply an expression of frustration on the part of the non-nuclear weapon states. It’s a lot more than that. It is a strong moral and ethical statement. And more than that, it is something tangible, something that can be touched by the hibakusha and the citizens of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. It is a statement of reality that the risk of nuclear war is not born only by the nuclear-weapon states but by the entire world. And it is intended to serve as an impulse for further action globally on nuclear disarmament. I’m well aware of its limitations. The TPNW will not by itself immediately eliminate any nuclear weapons. And it does not provide a pathway for Washington and Moscow to overcome their current impasse.

I don’t see the discussion between advocates and skeptics of the TPNW as being an argument about practicalities or about whether this treaty can work. It is - or it should be - a respectful discussion about deterrence. Nations that face no immediate military threat tend to underestimate the importance that military alliances and military deterrence play for those states that do face actual military threats. Similarly, those states whether in Europe or in Asia that feel reassurance under the nuclear umbrella of the United States tend not to appreciate how strongly concerned other states are about the disastrous humanitarian effects that a nuclear war would cause.

What is needed now is a multi-sided discussion on a topic that is easy to define and extremely difficult to resolve: how to guarantee the security of the world and of each nation without resort to nuclear deterrence. This is a discussion that has to bring together not only the idealists and social activists who helped to bring about the TPNW but also the security experts and military leaders who have the responsibility of providing for their nations’ security. It has to bring together not only nuclear-weapon states but those who are allies of nuclear-weapon states and those who feel themselves to be far from any military threat. Given my own experience with the ineffectiveness of the United Nations as a place to discuss such difficult issues, I think it has to start smaller than a conference of 190 countries.

UN Secretary-General’s Disarmament Agenda

Washington and Moscow are not going to lead this discussion. What can the rest of the world do? The UN Secretary General has laid out a comprehensive blueprint on what needs to be done on disarmament issues to provide genuine security for our citizens. I love the document. I’d like to focus in particular on what he says about nuclear disarmament.

He calls on the United States and Russia to resolve INF compliance concerns, extend New START and pursue additional reductions. He encourages all states to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, to negotiate a fissile material cutoff treaty, establish a zone free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, pursue nuclear risk reduction measures, and develop nuclear disarmament verification standards and techniques. He warned that the international community is moving backward on disarmament. “Let us all work together to bring new urgency to achieve the universal goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world,” he said while unveiling his agenda at the University of Geneva in late May.

So how do we take forward an idea on which not only everyone in this room but most of the world is united upon?

Joint Enterprise

Now is the time to convene a high-level summit approach to help overcome the impasse on nuclear disarmament. Leaders from a core group of states can invite their counterparts - 20 to 30 heads of states of nuclear weapon and non-nuclear weapon countries - to join a one or two day summit on steps to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. This could be a starting point for ongoing regular disarmament discussions at the expert and ministerial level. As the former foreign minister Kishida argued, this dialogue must be based both on a clear understanding of the devastating impact of nuclear weapon use and an objective assessment of the security concerns of states.

This is not a new idea. Four of the best American thinkers on such issues - George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn - have been arguing for several years for a Joint Enterprise, a new multilateral effort that would take concrete, practical steps to create the conditions that would make possible genuine nuclear disarmament. As outlined by the “four horsemen,” a Joint Enterprise summit would be supplemented by a joint communique from all participating states and national commitments to work towards disarmament. Unfortunately, the leadership of such an effort will not come from either Washington or Moscow. When the long-time ‘leader of the free world’ is deliberately stepping away from leadership, the other democratic nations of the world must take up the challenge. It’s up to Japan, to Germany, to Canada, to other nations that still believe in multilateralism to get this effort started.

Discussion of the conditions that would help achieve a nuclear weapons-free world must become as common among world leaders as discussions about tariffs or immigration. The constant raising of this topic is the responsibility of Presidents and Prime Ministers, and it is the duty of citizens of all nations to remind their leaders of this responsibility.

It is written in Pirkei Avot, a well-known Jewish text, that “you are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” Here in Nagasaki, we say again that all of us – elected leaders, civil society organizations, and ordinary citizens – “we will not desist from this duty.”

Thank you and God bless you!

 

 

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PRESS TELEBRIEFING: Trump and Putin to Talk Nuclear Arms Control

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Telebriefing for Journalists
July 13, 2018
NEW TIME:
9:30 a.m. 11:00 a.m. Eastern U.S. time
Contact for access to recording

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet in Helsinki, Finland, July 16 to discuss how to reduce tensions between the nations across a range of issues. The leaders will discuss arms control issues, including resolution of compliance disputes over the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and possible extension of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START).

On July 13 at 11:00 a.m. EDT, the Arms Control Association will hold a telebriefing for reporters on the nuclear arms control matters on the table and the outcomes we expect from the summit.

EXPERTS:

  • Thomas Countryman, former Assistant Secretary of State on International Security and Nonproliferation, and chair of the Arms Control Association board
  • Madelyn Creedon, former Deputy Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration
  • Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

    In addition, the Arms Control Association has a variety of resources and experts available to help shed light on what the two sides can achieve to reduce nuclear risks and what’s at stake if they fail to make progress.

    QUICK QUOTES:

    • “Following the NATO Summit, President Trump said the U.S. supports the goal of “no more nuclear weapons anywhere in the world.” To move from rhetoric to reality, he needs a plan to do so, starting with an agreement with Putin to extend New START, working more seriously to bring Russia back into compliance with INF, ratifying the #CTBT, followed by talks on further n-cuts w/Russia, engagement other n-armed states on disarmament."—Daryl Kimball, executive director
       
    • "Should the INF Treaty collapse and New START expire without replacement, there would be no legally-binding limits on the world’s two largest nuclear superpowers for the first time since 1972. The consequences for the effective cooperative management of nuclear risks and for nuclear nonproliferation would be severe.” —Thomas Countryman, former assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, and chair of the ACA board of directors

    ANALYSES:

    FACT SHEETS:

    The above experts and others are available in Washington for media interviews. Contact Tony Fleming, director for communications, 202-463-8270 ext 110 to schedule.

    Country Resources:

    Plans Set for Trump-Putin Summit

    Along with festering arms control issues, the meeting will be freighted with questions about U.S. President Trump’s relationship with Russian President Putin in light of Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.


    July/August 2018
    By Monica Montgomery

    The planned meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin provides an opportunity to jump-start arms control talks on issues such as whether to extend the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which is due to expire in less than three years.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with journalists in Moscow June 7 following his annual televised call-in program. (Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images)John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, said in Moscow June 27 that his preparatory discussions had covered missile-defense matters and “a number of other” arms control topics. “I’m sure many of these will come up in the meeting between the two presidents,” he said.

    Along with festering arms control issues, including compliance disputes involving the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a Trump-Putin summit will be freighted with questions about Trump’s relationship with Putin, particularly in light of the investigation into Russia’s efforts to hurt Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

    The meeting, scheduled for July 16 in Helsinki, follows Trump’s participation in a NATO summit and his visit to the United Kingdom.

    Trump has wanted such a formal get-together for some time. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders previously confirmed that he had invited Putin to Washington during a March 20 phone call. In June 15 remarks to reporters, Trump said that he believes that “just like [with] North Korea...it’s much better if we get along with [Russia] than if we don’t.”

    Putin and Trump briefly met twice in 2017 on the sidelines of the July Group of 20 summit in Germany and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam. U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman was reported to have been in Washington recently to help with preparations for the first extended one-on-one meeting between the two leaders.

    Huntsman was also arranging a visit to Moscow for a delegation of Republican senators. Such a trip could provide a supportive partisan chorus for the presidential meeting, even though Republicans lawmakers in the past have been harshly critical of Putin over issues including Russia’s seizure of Crimea, its military role in support of the Assad regime in Syria, and its threatening posture toward the Baltic nations.

    The summit comes amid growing concern about the possibility of a new arms race. Putin and Trump have recently commented on this point, with Putin saying that “nobody plans to accelerate an arms race” and Trump adding that it “is getting out of control.”

    Putin has called for New START, which numerically caps U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear forces, to be extended for five years beyond its February 2021 expiration, as allowed by the treaty if both countries agree. Trump has criticized the treaty, and the administration is reviewing the question of extension. (See ACT, May 2018.)

    The Trump administration’s budget and the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review accelerate plans to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal and push for the development of new nuclear capabilities. (See ACT, March 2018.) Putin unveiled plans for the development of several new weapons systems at his March 1 presidential address to the Russian Federal Assembly (See ACT, April 2018) in what he described as a response to the U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 and new U.S. missile defense systems.

    During his annual televised call-in show, “Direct Line With Vladimir Putin,” on June 7, Putin faced questions about the status of his announced weapons development program. Despite some “minor things,” he stated that the weapons development “is going exactly according to plan” and he has “no doubt” that they will be put into service on schedule.”

    The Kinzhal, described as a “high-precision hypersonic aero-ballistic missile,” has already been tested and is in service with the Russian army. Another hypersonic weapon, the Avangard intercontinental glide vehicle, is an “absolute weapon” that is currently in production for supply in 2019, he added. Finally, Putin said the Sarmat, the “super-powerful” intercontinental ballistic missile that can carry multiple warheads, is in development for deployment in 2020.

    Responding to a question about the potential for World War III, Putin said that the idea of nuclear war has been enough to prevent any global war since World War II and should continue to deter international actors from taking any “extreme and dangerous actions…that could threaten modern civilization.” He added that “it is time to sit at the negotiating table and elaborate modern, adequate models of international, European security.”

    Trump and Putin to Talk Nuclear Arms Control

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    President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin will meet in Helsinki, Finland July 16 to discuss how to reduce tensions between the nations across a range of issues, including nuclear arms control. The Arms Control Association can provide resources and experts available to shed light on what the two sides can achieve to reduce nuclear risks and what’s at stake if they fail to make progress.

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    For Immediate Release: June 28, 2018

    Media Contacts: Kingston Reif, director for disarmament policy, 202-463-8270 ext 104; Daryl Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 ext 107

    President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin will meet in Helsinki, Finland July 16 to discuss how to reduce tensions between the nations across a range of issues, including nuclear arms control. It is widely expected that the future of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which will expire in 2021 unless extended by mutual agreement, and the compliance dispute over the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty will both be on the agenda.

    In an interview in March, Putin voiced interest in an extension of New START or even possibly further cuts in warhead numbers. The Trump administration is conducting a review of its position on the matter. 

    Arms Control Association has a number of resources and experts available to shed light on what the two sides can achieve to reduce nuclear risks and what’s at stake if they fail to make progress.

    QUICK QUOTES:

    • "Extending New START would be an easy win for the President. It could help create a positive atmosphere for reducing tensions in the U.S.-Russia relationship without making an unwise or impractical concession to Moscow. Failing to do so, on the other hand, will limit U.S. intelligence on the scale of the Russia nuclear arsenal." —Kingston Reif, director for disarmament policy
       
    • “Without a positive decision to extend New Start, and if the INF Treaty comes to an end, there would be no legally-binding limits on the world’s two largest nuclear superpowers for the first time since 1972, and the risk of unconstrained U.S.-Russian nuclear competition would grow.” —Daryl Kimball, executive director

    • "Should the INF Treaty collapse and New START expire without replacement … the consequences for effective cooperative management of nuclear risks and for nuclear nonproliferation would be severe.” —Thomas Countryman, former assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, and chair of the ACA board of directors

    ANALYSIS:

    FACT SHEETS:

    EXPERTS AVAILABLE IN WASHINGTON:
    Contact Tony Fleming, director for communications, 202 463 8270 ext 110 / 202 213 6856 (mobile) to schedule media interviews with any of the experts or authors noted above.

    Country Resources:

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