Note: This article is originally published in Russian and has been translated into English by the Team of Dispatch News desk News Agency. This article is written in reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s message to the Federal Assembly and the reaction of the Western countries.
By Vladimir Kozin
The military-technical part of the presidential address to the Federal Assembly of this year, where six modern systems of Russian strategic weapons were briefly described, caused a double reaction in the NATO leadership.
Doubts arose from the fact that the animations shown during the presentation of the message are, to say only, pictures that do not prove the real existence of the described types of weapons. The indictment of this reaction was that Russia, they say, started a qualitatively new arms race and thereby blocked the process of arms control. The leaders of the United States, France and Germany expressed “concern over the current situation” and came to the conclusion that dialogue with Russia could become more complicated.
In particular, test of a small nuclear power plant for cruise missiles and autonomous underwater vehicles has been completed, and an active testing phase of a new missile complex with a heavy Sarmat ICBM, which had passed pop-up tests in December of last year, was launched. A missile system with a hypersonic gliding cruise block Avangard of intercontinental range, whose flight speed exceeds the Mach number by more than 20 times (it means that it can travel at 20 times the speed of sound) , and a double-purpose air missile system “Dagger” exceeding the speed of sound by a factor of ten, has been launched in serial production since December 2017 already in the army. Since last year, the Russian Armed Forces have also received combat laser systems, which will be used as a universal strike weapon, including as a means of air defense and missile defense.
At the same time, it was clearly stated from the Russian side that Moscow did not have and there are still no plans to use this potential “in offensive, and even more so for aggressive purposes.”
The accusations made against Russia in the military and political circles of the West that Moscow has started a qualitatively new arms race and thus blocked the arms control process is not true for the following reasons: the development and adoption of new models of military equipment.
Not the Russian Federation, but the United States in 2002 unilaterally withdrew from the Soviet-American ABM Treaty, which limited the number of interceptor missiles and areas of their deployment to each side.
Not Russia, but the United States is the culprit of the fact that in the course of the twelve-year bilateral consultations that followed the introduction of restrictions on missile defenses, Washington refused to create a joint or “cooperative” system for intercepting ballistic and cruise missiles.
Not Russia, but the US deployed their anti-missile systems of sea and land based on the front lines in close proximity to the Russian territory on an almost continuous basis.
Not Russia, but the United States, legally without leaving an unlimited Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles of 1987, actually long ago emerged from it when, in 2001, when testing the effectiveness of the ABM system, they began using missiles of medium and shorter range, completely banned by the named contract act.
In total, according to this indicator, the USA violated the 1987 agreement already 93 times. Such violations will continue. On the other hand, Washington still has not presented Moscow any facts of its “non-compliance” with the Russian side.
Not the Russian Federation, but the United States is the only state in the world that still places nuclear weapons outside its national territory in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey and the Federal Republic of Germany, and has concluded “nuclear liability sharing agreements” with many states of the North Atlantic Union, which do not have their own nuclear weapons. All this is a mutual violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Since 1945, and to this day, the United States retains in its nuclear doctrine the provision of the use of nuclear weapons in the first strike. In the post-war years, they threatened to use nuclear weapons seven times: in five regional conflicts and two confrontations of the great powers during the Berlin and Caribbean crises. Given these circumstances and taking into account the new American nuclear doctrine, which was approved in early February 2018 and expands the list of grounds for the use of nuclear weapons in the first strike, President Vladimir Putin warned in his message that the use of nuclear weapons of any power against Russia or its allies will be considered as a nuclear attack on our country, moreover, its response “will be instant.”
Not Russia, but the USA created an airfield infrastructure in the Baltic States and Poland to accommodate American heavy strategic bombers carrying nuclear weapons, as well as “dual-purpose” fighter-bombers, that is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear weapons on board
Not Russia, but the leading NATO countries, including the three nuclear powers of the West (Great Britain, the United States and France) have started round-the-clock operation “Baltic air patrols” in the skies of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia by using “dual-purpose” aircraft .
Not Russia, but the United States has not yet ratified the International Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty of 1996, and the 1999 Agreement on the Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, which imposed limits on five heavy types of ground-based and air-based weapons.
It was not the Russian Federation that moved closer to the NATO countries, but the United States and its alliance allies expanded it to such an extent that it practically came into contact with the territory of Russia and subsequently increased its military activity five times more near Russian borders.
Therefore, the leading arms race was actually initiated by the leading countries of the trans-Atlantic alliance, and not by Russia, which spends dozens of times less for military purposes than NATO member states, and does not have such a huge number of military bases outside its territory as the United States and its allies.
Due to the fault of the United States, there are 16 unresolved arms control problems that have arisen either as a result of Washington’s refusal to discuss certain areas of arms reduction and limitation of military activities, or after it unilaterally interrupted the negotiation process without its subsequent resumption.
At first, the Soviet Union, and subsequently Russia, together with other states, proposed an agreement on preventing the deployment of weapons in outer space, putting forward a total of more than 20 major initiatives in this field. But all of them were torpedoed by the United States, which intended to solely dominate this area of the common heritage of mankind, even ignoring the interests of their NATO allies.
The United States and the leading countries of the Alliance since April 2014 initiated the second phase of the Cold War, which, unlike its first, is qualified as approaching the Russian territory of the combined military vehicle of the transatlantic bloc in the form of the “Chicago triad” created by it in 2012, , anti-missile and conventional weapons, and is characterized by the introduction of illegal and unjustified large-scale financial and economic sanctions and a sharp anti-Russian rhetoric.
In other words, leading NATO countries at the head of the United States have consistently and consistently for several decades squeezed around Russia a combined and multi-layered power potential. Although they managed to impose a costly arms race on the Soviet Union, Russia was not able to draw Russia into it with the help of various kinds of unseemly methods, military threats and violations of many arms control treaties. It was not possible to realize the general goal of the North Atlantic alliance: to contain and isolate Russia.
In short, the Russian Federation has and still has too many reasons for adopting an adequate and effective response. Moscow even showed excessive patience, not immediately reacting to NATO’s destabilizing weapons systems, which are constantly being moved towards Russia’s territory.
When Russia repeatedly drew the attention of the states of the North Atlantic Alliance to the inadmissibility of undermining regional and international security, its opinion was not taken into account, it was not listened to or even tried to hear. Now, Russian military hardware has seen and heard about them. But will the Kremlin’s parallel appeal in the message be heard to exchange views on creating an updated and promising system of international security? The answer to this from Washington and other Western capitals has not yet come.
Summarizing: the inclusion in the current annual message to the Federal Assembly of military-technical issues in such a large volume is the correct approach from the point of view of the interests of domestic and foreign policy.
This action consolidates the citizens of Russia, inspires them with a sense of pride for their country, which is reliably protected from various kinds of surprises. With the exception of a number of pro-Western Russian figures who are assenting to the West, but, fortunately, do not take part in making responsible state decisions, such an action enjoys wide national support.
Given the numerous external factors that determine strategic stability, the decision of Russia’s military and political leadership on the qualitative rearmament of the Armed Forces of the country seems to be the right and thoughtful step that will reliably ensure not only its security, but also the security of its allies and friends for the long term, and will also serve as a guarantor of maintaining strategic balance on a global scale.
The views and opinions expressed in tis article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of Dispatch News Desk.