Interfax â€“ 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 (parliamentâ€™s upper house), Viktor Bondarev, has said.
â€œIf, 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,â€ 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 â€œlow-powerâ€ warhead for the Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and a new nuclear-tipped cruise missile, the report said.
â€œIn 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 UNâ€™s work,â€ he said.
â€œIf 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 itâ€™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,â€ he said.
This poses the question of whether the new US nuclear systems will violate the quotas in START-3, he said.
â€œAt 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,â€ he said.Î¦
This article appeared on January 16 at Johnson’s Russia List.