Russia revamps its nuclear policy amid simmering tensions with NATO

2020/06/1591165330.jpg
Read: 802     10:45     03 June 2020    

President Vladimir Putin approved a strategic document on the fundamentals of Russia’s nuclear deterrence policy on Tuesday (2 June), naming the creation and deployment of anti-missile and strike weapons in space as one of the main military threats to Russia.


The document outlining Russia’s policy on its nuclear deterrent was published online amid arms control tensions between Moscow and Washington over the future of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the last major pact regulating their nuclear arsenals.

According to the new strategy, Russia’s nuclear weapons policy is described as being “defensive in nature” and designed to safeguard the country’s sovereignty against potential adversaries.

However, in line with Russian military doctrine, it outlines four scenarios in which Moscow would order the use of nuclear weapons, two of them new and involving potential instances of nuclear first-use scenarios.

The two established protocols permit nuclear use when an enemy uses nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction on Russia or its allies, and in situations when conventional weapons “threaten the very existence of the country.”

In reverse, the two new provisions include cases in which the government receives “reliable information” that a ballistic missile attack is imminent or in the case of ”enemy impact on critically important government or military facilities of the Russian Federation, the incapacitation of which could result in the failure of retaliatory action of nuclear forces.”

The main threats for Russia are described as follows: the increase of the potential of NATO in territories and waters close to the country, bringing new weaponry close to Russia, including new anti-missile systems, deploying strike weapons in space and deploying nuclear weapons in non-nuclear countries.

The publication comes only a week after an US decision to to exit the Open Skies Treaty, allows its signatories to conduct short-notice unarmed surveillance flights to gather information on each other’s military forces and installations, thereby contributing to inspections of conventional arms control and strategic offensive weapons and reducing the risk of conflict.

Open Skies is the third major security agreement, after the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), a landmark 1987 pact with Russia banning a whole class of medium-range ground-launched nuclear-capable missiles of 500 to 5,500 kilometres, and the Iran nuclear deal, which Washington decided to scrap in recent years.

Last August, Trump also had exited the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a landmark 1987 pact with Russia banning a whole class of medium-range ground-launched nuclear-capable missiles of 500 to 5,500 kilometres, and has since tested such weapons.

Both, the US exit and Russia’s new strategy, come at a time as the last remaining major nuclear arms control treaty between the United States and Russia, New START, is due to expire in February 2021 and Moscow has already warned there is not enough time left to negotiate a full-fledged replacement.

The Trump administration has pushed for a new arms control pact that would also include China, but while Moscow has deemed such a solution unfeasible, arms control experts believe it would be too difficult to achieve.

Euractiv



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News Line

Russia revamps its nuclear policy amid simmering tensions with NATO

2020/06/1591165330.jpg
Read: 803     10:45     03 June 2020    

President Vladimir Putin approved a strategic document on the fundamentals of Russia’s nuclear deterrence policy on Tuesday (2 June), naming the creation and deployment of anti-missile and strike weapons in space as one of the main military threats to Russia.


The document outlining Russia’s policy on its nuclear deterrent was published online amid arms control tensions between Moscow and Washington over the future of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the last major pact regulating their nuclear arsenals.

According to the new strategy, Russia’s nuclear weapons policy is described as being “defensive in nature” and designed to safeguard the country’s sovereignty against potential adversaries.

However, in line with Russian military doctrine, it outlines four scenarios in which Moscow would order the use of nuclear weapons, two of them new and involving potential instances of nuclear first-use scenarios.

The two established protocols permit nuclear use when an enemy uses nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction on Russia or its allies, and in situations when conventional weapons “threaten the very existence of the country.”

In reverse, the two new provisions include cases in which the government receives “reliable information” that a ballistic missile attack is imminent or in the case of ”enemy impact on critically important government or military facilities of the Russian Federation, the incapacitation of which could result in the failure of retaliatory action of nuclear forces.”

The main threats for Russia are described as follows: the increase of the potential of NATO in territories and waters close to the country, bringing new weaponry close to Russia, including new anti-missile systems, deploying strike weapons in space and deploying nuclear weapons in non-nuclear countries.

The publication comes only a week after an US decision to to exit the Open Skies Treaty, allows its signatories to conduct short-notice unarmed surveillance flights to gather information on each other’s military forces and installations, thereby contributing to inspections of conventional arms control and strategic offensive weapons and reducing the risk of conflict.

Open Skies is the third major security agreement, after the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), a landmark 1987 pact with Russia banning a whole class of medium-range ground-launched nuclear-capable missiles of 500 to 5,500 kilometres, and the Iran nuclear deal, which Washington decided to scrap in recent years.

Last August, Trump also had exited the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a landmark 1987 pact with Russia banning a whole class of medium-range ground-launched nuclear-capable missiles of 500 to 5,500 kilometres, and has since tested such weapons.

Both, the US exit and Russia’s new strategy, come at a time as the last remaining major nuclear arms control treaty between the United States and Russia, New START, is due to expire in February 2021 and Moscow has already warned there is not enough time left to negotiate a full-fledged replacement.

The Trump administration has pushed for a new arms control pact that would also include China, but while Moscow has deemed such a solution unfeasible, arms control experts believe it would be too difficult to achieve.

Euractiv



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