New Russian disarmament initiative

cc. The German-language website Anti-Spiegel ( has translated a Russian television report on a new disarmament initiative by Russian President Vladimir Putin. About this initiative has hardly been reported by us so far, an exception was the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” of 27 October 2020 (“Moscow proposes new disarmament treaty to Washington”). In the following we are documenting the translation of Anti-Spiegel.

Russia is proposing to the NATO countries to define the future of the security architecture on a parity basis. This follows from Vladimir Putin’s statement published today (26 October 2020). The content is plain. After the short- and medium-range missile treaty ceased to exist because of the United States’ withdrawal, our country is not stationing missiles on European territory in return for similar actions by the Alliance.
  The Treaty was a cornerstone of the international security and strategic stability architecture. It played a special role in maintaining predictability and restraint in terms of missile weapons in Europe. It is about the Treaty on the Prohibition of Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF Treaty), which has been suspended by the United States.
  “We consider the withdrawal of the United States from the INF Treaty, which ended the treaty, a serious mistake that increases the risks of unleashing a missile arms race, increasing confrontational potential and sliding towards uncontrolled escalation. Given the relentless tensions between Russia and NATO, new threats to pan-European security are evident,” Vladimir Putin said in a statement.
  To minimise the negative consequences of the collapse of the INF Treaty, Russia has prepared a number of proposals. “In this context, we reaffirm our commitment to the moratorium on the deployment of land-based ICBMs by the Russian Federation until similar U.S.-made missile weapons get deployed in the regions concerned,” the document states. “We also believe that our call on NATO countries to consider a reciprocal moratorium remains relevant.” “Based on our earlier proposal to develop a control toolkit in support of the Russian reciprocal moratorium initiative, we invite all stakeholders to consider options for reciprocal verification measures to address the existing concerns,” the document reads.
  “In particular, these can be verification measures regarding the Aegis Ashore complexes equipped with the MK 41 launching systems at US and NATO bases in Europe and also the 9M729 missiles at the Russian military facilities in the Kaliningrad region. The purpose of verification activities would be to confirm the absence of land-launched ICBM facilities and also the weapons on which characteristics and classification the parties failed to agree (Russian missile 9M729). While staying committed to the consistent position that the 9M729 missile is in full compliance with the terminated INF Treaty, Russia nevertheless is prepared to act in accordance with good will and to refrain from deploying the 9M729 missiles on its European territory, but on the condition of reciprocal steps by NATO countries, which will rule out the deployment in Europe of weapons that were prohibited under the INF Treaty,” the statement said.
  The Aegis Ashore, mentioned in the statement, is the land-based version of the US Department of Defences’ missile defence system. It is a four-storey steel construction usually installed on warships. Inside are the electronic equipment as well as a device for the vertical launch of guided missiles type MK41. The first European country where such a system was declared operational was Romania. This was followed by work on it in Poland. The steps proposed today by the Russian President to de-escalate the situation are therefore directly related to the security of the entire continent.
  “You know that the President made a statement on additional steps to de-escalate in Europe under the conditions of the termination of the INF Treaty. This is an important document. President Putin has consistently pursued the line of such a multi-vector de-escalation. Under the New START Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty, efforts are now being made at expert level. In this respect, work on strategic stability is underway and the substance is extremely complex”, the Russian President’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said.
  This is not the first time that the Russian President has called on partners to talk about global security. First, Washington withdrew from the ABM Treaty. Then came the agreement on short- and medium-range missiles. Now the USA is threatening to abandon the Open Skies Treaty. Last Thursday, at a meeting with the participants of the International Valdai Discussion Club, Vladimir Putin emphasised that we should try to find a compromise and not put the world at risk by a new arms race.
  “We took account of all the problems when we were negotiating these issues. Only one thing was left out. It is what Russia acquired in response to the United States withdrawing from the ABM Treaty. Precisely in response to the withdrawal. I am referring to our innovative high-precision hypersonic weapons. Indeed, neither the United States nor other countries have access to such weapons, although they are working on it, and someday they will have them as well. They are telling us, “You have it, we do not, so we must take this into account.” Well, we do not mind, let us take it into account. Both regarding the number of carriers and the number of warheads. We do not mind. There are other issues that we can discuss. But what choice do we have? The treaty expires in February. After all, my proposal is very straightforward. It lies on the surface. Nothing will happen if we extend this agreement, without any preconditions, for one year and persistently work on all the issues of concern both to us and the Americans. We will work on it together and look for solutions. After all, the trick is that we have had hardly any constructive discussions about this so far. Our partners, to put it bluntly, shied away from a direct and substantive professional discussion,” Putin declared.
  And Russia is ready for such talks. This is demonstrated by the continued cooperation between Moscow and Washington on key issues of global security, despite the many contradictions between the two countries.
  “We are cooperating with the US despite numerous contradictions on a lot of areas, still cooperation at the level of special services is underway, Our cooperation on de-conflicting in Syria is well known. And a very good working contact was established at the operational level and at the level of military units’ chiefs.”
  According to Putin, the Americans share data on anti-terror with their Russian colleagues. “We view the Americans’ effort in Afghanistan as an anti-terrorist effort,” he stressed.
  “They hand over and repeatedly handed over [data] to us. I thanked incumbent President [Donald Trump] because information that we received from America helped us prevent several terrorist acts in Russia, […] In our turn, we are trying to do the same and we have such an agreement with the incumbent US president that if this information emerges, we will share it and help each other.”
  The credibility deficit must be reduced. Regional and global stability must be strengthened. And the risks of misunderstandings and disagreements must also be reduced. Today’s statement by the President outlines the key tasks. Only if they are resolved can we be sure that “a world without the INF Treaty”, while no longer the same, will remain secure.  •

Source: of 26 October 2020; the text is a translation from Russian television: of 26 October 2020; of 25 October 2020

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