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On January 31, 2019, International Multimedia Press Center at IIA Rossiya Segodnya hosted a round table on the prospects for the continued existence of The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (The INF Treaty) and the existing international architecture for strategic stability. Representatives of Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) took part in the discussion.

On January 31, 2019, International Multimedia Press Center at IIA Rossiya Segodnya hosted a round table on the prospects for the continued existence of The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (The INF Treaty) and the existing international architecture for strategic stability. Representatives of Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) took part in the discussion.

February 2, 2019, was the deadline for the 60-day ultimatum delivered by Michael Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State, who in early December 2018 accused Russia of violating the INF Treaty and said that the U.S. was ready to withdraw from the agreement should Russia not return urgently to its full and verifiable compliance. Russia rejects the allegations made by the American side. In January, Geneva hosted Russian-American consultations on the INF Treaty, that did not lead to any positive results.

Andrey Kortunov, RIAC Director General, expressed an opinion that the White House made a political decision to withdraw from the Treaty a long time ago. According to Kortunov, there are several factors that influenced the U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty. “These be the general philosophy of Trump's administration, which, unfortunately, doesn’t put arms control as a priority. There are also concerns about the future of the Chinese program for the development of nuclear forces and their carriers. Moreover, as is known, China is particularly focused on the systems that can be attributed to medium-range and shorter-range missiles, ” said RIAC Director General.

Sergey Rogov, Academic Director of the RAS Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies, Member of RIAC Scientific Council, said that the current U.S. administration adheres to tough policy against Russia. According to Rogov, participation in the Treaty with Russia is perceived as a concession. “Why would the United States restrict the freedom of action and recognize parity relations in the area of nuclear missile defense with Russia?” he said.

At the same time, Rogov notes that there are now prospects for the U.S. to deploy bases with strategic armament in Europe near the borders with Russia: "Poland has already expressed its willingness to provide the location, it is likely that the Baltic states will follow this example." In this regard, he recalled that the signing of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles in 1987 was preceded by Washington’s decision to deploy medium-range missiles in Western Europe with a 10 to 15-minute flight to reach the USSR.

Rogov underscored that “supposing the United States place new ballistic missiles in Poland or the Baltic states, the flight time from Estonia to St. Petersburg will be 1 minute, and 3-4 minutes to Moscow. This means that the concept of a retaliatory strike will be meaningless. Our country will be forced to adopt the concept of a preemptive strike.”

Evgeny Buzhinsky, Chairman of PIR Center, Lieutenant-General (retired), RIAC Member and Vice-President, expressed an opinion that it would be difficult for the United States to deploy missiles in South Korea. “China has very good leverage over its neighbors. Thailand and the Philippines are also unlikely to act against China. There is Japan. If they place missiles in Japan, which is possible, given the close ties and allied obligations, it will be a direct call to Russia. Then talking about any kind of peace treaty with Russia would be wrong, in my opinion. We need to stop these conversations,” the expert said.

Pavel Zolotarev, Head of Research at RAS Institute for the U.S. and Canadian Studies, retired Major General, RIAC expert, noted that the U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty threatens New START — an agreement between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. “Almost 99.9% that it will not be renewed. There is no reason to talk about a new treaty,” said Zolotarev.

The speaker underscored the very vague prospects of The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons: “While Russia and the U.S. were engaged in maintaining strategic stability in a bilateral format discussing whether we could destroy each other or not, the world acquired three new nuclear powers. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as of the End of the Cold War proved ineffective.”

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Poll conducted

  1. In your opinion, what are the US long-term goals for Russia?
    U.S. wants to establish partnership relations with Russia on condition that it meets the U.S. requirements  
     33 (31%)
    U.S. wants to deter Russia’s military and political activity  
     30 (28%)
    U.S. wants to dissolve Russia  
     24 (22%)
    U.S. wants to establish alliance relations with Russia under the US conditions to rival China  
     21 (19%)
 
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