Interfax – January 16, 2018
Russia will have justification for a symmetrical response if the US boosts its nuclear forces in violation of the START-3 treaty, the chairman of the Defence Committee of the Federation Council (parliament’s upper house), Viktor Bondarev, has said.
“If, in the process of bolstering its nuclear arsenal, the US violates START-3 (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty 3), Russia would have justification for a symmetrical response,” Bondarev said on 16 January, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported.
Bondarev, a former Aerospace Forces commander, made his comments in response to initial media reports on a preliminary review of the US new nuclear strategy, which says the US should create two new sea-based nuclear weapons systems in response to the growing potential of Russian and Chinese nuclear forces.
In particular, the reports mention a “low-power” warhead for the Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and a new nuclear-tipped cruise missile, the report said.
“In case of a violation of START-3 we need to simultaneously take action to bolster our nuclear deterrent forces with additional items as well as responding within the auspices of the UN’s work,” he said.
“If they are deploying something new, it follows you get rid of old ones. The usual development of some or other military items suggests rearmament with a more powerful, more modern weapon. Swapping a more powerful weapon for a less powerful one is an absurdity. We are not inclined to believe in such altruism and pacifism from the Americans. Of course, one could suggest it’s down to financial motives, trying to save money. But, as is well known, and the figures in the new budget affirm this, US military spending is never cut,” he said.
This poses the question of whether the new US nuclear systems will violate the quotas in START-3, he said.
“At the moment this is all just chat. I think any kind of action in response to the declaration is superfluous. But the situation should be kept firmly under supervision,” he said.Φ
This article appeared on January 16 at Johnson’s Russia List.