U.S. President Donald Trump’s Special Representative for Arms Control, Marshall Billingsley, wrote an article outlining Washington’s position on why the START treaty is not being extended.
In an article for the Institute for Public Policy on Tuesday, Billingsley argues that START-3 does not cover more than 60 percent of Russia’s strategic arms. According to him, this was already known to the Barack Obama administration in 2010, when the treaty was concluded.
“When the Obama administration was negotiating START-3, they knew that 60% of the Russian arsenal would have escaped any restrictions, and they were rightly criticized in the senate for it.
By the way, that ratio has been deteriorating over the past decade, and the size and range of nuclear weapons deployed on tactical and shorter range systems has been steadily increasing, as has the giant Russian investment in their nuclear weapons infrastructure,” Billingsley said.
“Russia now has many more nuclear warheads for non-strategic radius systems than those for START-3 weapons systems, and they add more every year,” Billingsley added.
He reiterated the Trump administration’s position that an agreement with Russia should cover all possible warheads.
“We said clearly: we want to extend START-3, but only if it is accompanied by a framework agreement that covers all the warheads, as well as a deployed verification regime,” Billingsley added. According to Billingsley, this is the “minimum possible” condition for any future deals with Russia, and any deals that do not include that condition should be considered a total failure.
Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow is ready to discuss new types of weapons in the dialogue with the U.S. on START-3. The Russian Foreign Ministry also said that the U.S., when making claims to Russia on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, does not fulfill it itself.
The START III Treaty between Russia and the United States came into force on February 5, 2011. It provides that each party shall reduce its nuclear arsenals so that in seven years and beyond, the total number of weapons does not exceed 700 intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-based ballistic missiles and heavy bombers, as well as 1,550 warheads and 800 deployed and non-deployed launchers. Today, START 3 is the only existing arms limitation treaty between Russia and the United States, but it expires on February 5, 2021. If it is not renewed, there will be no agreements in the world limiting the arsenals of the largest nuclear powers.