Billingsley: Russia “cannot be trusted on arms control issues”

Billingsley: Russia "cannot be trusted on arms control issues"

Marshall Billingsley, the U.S. president’s special envoy for arms control, said that Russia “systematically violates arms control agreements” and that it cannot be trusted on this issue.

“This is deeply troubling,” Billingsley said, speaking at the National Public Policy Institute on the outskirts of Washington. – “By adhering to this dangerous way of thinking, Russia is building and modernizing an arsenal of thousands of nuclear warheads that are completely outside the scope of the START III treaty.

“They have developed a highly provocative nuclear doctrine that allows for early escalation and use of nuclear weapons. So-called ‘escalation to win,'” Billingsley explained.

According to him, Russia now has many more nuclear warheads under non-strategic systems than under the systems accounted for in START III, and it adds new ones in large numbers every year.

“Russia continues to act as if there is some distinction between the use of strategic and tactical nuclear weapons. This is probably because their military plans to invade NATO territory involve scenarios where they will strike on the battlefield, assuming that NATO will capitulate rather than respond,” Billingsley explained.

But he is convinced that this strategy is doomed to fail: “We have warned that the use of any nuclear weapon, whether mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile or fired from artillery pieces, has strategic consequences. It would certainly change the nature of the conflict.”

Billingsley, who has been negotiating with Russia to extend the last remaining arms control agreement, START III, gave a very harsh response.

“Russia systematically violates arms control agreements … It cannot be trusted in arms control,” he said. – We should not forget that Russia has been secretly violating the DRMD for more than a decade. It secretly produced, tested and deployed a medium-range cruise missile with a nuclear warhead. Now the Russian military is deploying several divisions of SSC-8 missiles, presumably aimed at NATO.

According to Billingsley, if START III can be extended, the treaty should cover these tactical weapons as well.

“Any future deal that doesn’t cover all the warheads should be seen as a complete failure,” he said. – Simply extending New START without … Putin’s agreement to a comprehensive warhead limitation would demonstrate a complete lack of negotiating foresight.”

For now, Billingsley recommends accelerating the development of a land-based nuclear cruise missile for the Marine Corps and intermediate-range complexes for the Army.

“We need multiple deployable batteries no later than 2023,” he believes.