Disguising stronger ICBMs as weaker ICBMs with less capability is the case here — and America is falling for it. While the U.S. continues to “reset”, the neo-Soviet Union continues to restart.
“Treaties are like pie crusts, they are made to be broken” – Vladimir Lenin
Russia is engaged in a major violation of the terms of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with the United States by building a new medium-range missile banned under the accord, according to U.S. intelligence officials.
Disclosure of the treaty violation comes as President Barack Obama last week called for a new round of arms negotiations with Moscow aimed at cutting deployed nuclear warheads by one-third.
Intelligence officials said internal assessments identified Russia’s new Yars M missile that was tested earlier this month as an INF missile with a range of less than 5,500 kilometers.
“The intelligence community believes it’s an intermediate-range missile that [the Russians] have classified as an ICBM because it would violate the INF treaty” if its true characteristics were known, said one official.
The issue of Russian INF compliance was raised in Moscow on Monday by presidential aide Sergei Ivanov, who told a television interviewer that Russia would not adhere to INF treaty constraints indefinitely.
“A legitimate question arises: On the one hand, we have signed the Soviet-U.S. treaty, and we are honoring it, but this can’t last endlessly,” Ivanov said according to Interfax.
“We cannot accept a situation that would put the strategic deterrent system out of balance and make our nuclear forces less effective,” Putin said on the same day Obama announced plans for a one-third cut in the U.S. deployed nuclear warhead arsenal.
Two U.S. intelligence officials said the new Yars M mobile missile is not an ICBM and that the administration needs to confront the Russians on the system or risk undermining the entire arms control agenda.
The Russian INF violation initially was disclosed in vague terms by members of Congress, including House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R., Calif.), and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Mich.).
McKeon and Rogers wrote to Obama in April describing earlier concerns over what they called “a massive Russian violation and circumvention of an arms control obligation to the United States of great significance to this nation and its NATO allies.”
“Briefings provided by your administration have agreed with our assessment that Russian actions are serious and troubling, but have failed to offer any assurance of any concrete action to address these Russian actions,” the two chairman stated in the April 12 letter.
They noted that Senate Intelligence Committee members also have raised concerns about “clear examples of Russia’s noncompliance with its arms control obligations.”
McKeon and Rogers said they expected the administration’s annual arms control compliance report, due to Congress April 15, to “directly confront the Russian violations and circumventions.”
McKeon said in a statement in response to Obama’s Berlin disarmament speech that “Russia is cheating on a major existing nuclear arms control treaty.”
“I have been urging the president through classified and unclassified correspondence to take seriously these violations by Russia since last year, but the president has ignored these concerns,” he said.
“It is clear that the Russian Federation is undertaking both systemic violation and circumvention of a significant arms control obligation to the United States,” they said. “Such is the reality that confronts the United States, despite four years of your best efforts to ‘reset’ relations with that country.”
“How can President Obama believe [the Russians] are going to live up to any nuclear treaty reductions when he knows they are violating the INF treaty by calling one of their missiles something else?” one official said.
The Reagan-era INF treaty banned ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 1,000 kilometers and 5,500 kilometers, or 620 miles and 3,418 miles. The treaty led to the elimination of U.S. nuclear-tipped Pershing ballistic and Ground-Launched Cruise missiles in Europe, along with Russian SS-20, SS-12, SS-23, SS-4, and SSC-X-4 missiles.
U.S. officials said the first details about the INF-range RS-26 missile emerged last year and intelligence assessments later confirmed the missile violates the INF treaty.
Other potential INF violations outlined in Russian press reports include Moscow’s development of a new ground-launched cruise missile, and reports that the Russians have used anti-ballistic missiles and surface-to-air missiles as surface-to-surface missiles, Schneider said.
The June 6 test of the Yars M, first disclosed by the Free Beacon June 7, revealed it was launched from a missile base at Kapustin Yar and landed at an impact range at Sary-Shagan, about 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles) away. That is “clearly INF range,” Schneider said.
Schneider said that if the Russians tested a single-stage SS-27 Topol ICBM during that test, its expected range would be around 3,000 kilometers and under New START counting rules it would not be classified as an SS-27 ICBM. “Hence it would be a violation of the INF Treaty,” he said.
Excessive “Soviet-level” secrecy surrounding the new Yars M missile also is raising questions among western missile experts about whether it violated the INF treaty, Schneider said.
Article VI of the INF treaty states that neither party shall “produce or flight-test any intermediate-range missiles or produce any stages of such missiles or any launchers of such missiles.”
Full article: Treaty Cheating — Russia said to be violating 1987 missile accord (Washington Free Beacon)