Russia: The risk of unintentional nuclear war is real

The collapse of the Russian-American nuclear arms control system makes nuclear war a real threat, said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov on Thursday.

The Russian politician asserts that it is exclusively western countries that are to blame for breaching the bilateral nuclear arms reduction treaties and creating the threat of an exchange of nuclear attacks. The West’s policy of “scrapping” the mechanisms that were developed over decades is “deliberate”, he says.

“The negative dynamics have been particularly evident in the last year,” said Ryabkov while presenting a report titled: “A new understanding and ways to reinforce multilateral strategic stability”.

“The actions of our western colleagues are becoming increasingly emotional and at times extremely aggressive, they effectively avoid discussing the long overdue issues, obstruct the operation of dialog channels, continue to expand the arms monitoring architecture, and deliberately pursue a patently destructive policy,” TASS cites the deputy minister as saying.

“This is extremely dangerous and irresponsible behavior. It is fraught with extremely negative consequences for strategic stability,” said Ryabkov, “There’s a risk of nuclear war.”

After withdrawing from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which prohibited the US from deploying nuclear missiles in Europe and Russia from installing nuclear systems aimed at the US’s European allies, Ryabkov says that Washington is now trying to get rid of the final remaining nuclear treaty – the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty).

This agreement was signed by Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev in 2010, and bans both the US and Russia from having more than 1550 nuclear warheads and more than 700 carriers, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine missiles and heavy bombers.

The treaty expires in 2021, and yet Washington has been ignoring the matter of extending it, Ryabkov claims.

According to him, Russia has proposed to extend the treaty by five years, with a single condition: the US must eliminate its strategic launchers, instead of converting them into non-nuclear missions.

“We are given to understand that they are not open to meaningful discussion on these subjects, at least for the time being. Apparently there is a temptation to play on this uncertainty,” Ryabkov remarked.

The Russian politician claims that Russia has not violated its nuclear agreements with the US, and has always sought international stability and insisted on the norms of international law.

“We’re talking about a higher level of trust and predictability, abstention from such military and political steps that could be perceived by other members of the global community as a threat and necessitate response measures,” the minister explained.

  Russia, NATO, USA, INF