Russia, US release latest nuclear weapons tally as Moscow-NATO relationship crumbles
Russia and the United States released their latest nuclear weapons tally at a time when ties between Moscow and the US-led NATO military alliance were in freefall.
The Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday released its latest report on “the total number of strategic offensive weapons,” a count required every six months by Moscow and Washington in accordance with their new bilateral strategic arms reduction treaty (New START) which entered into force in 2011.
The deal includes limits and mutual verification measures on the world’s two largest nuclear weapons stockpiles and it was on the verge of collapse when former President Donald Trump stepped down on January 20 without the renew before the expiration date set ten years later, February 5. Incoming President Joe Biden, however, agreed with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to extend the pact, two days before the deadline.
In the second such version since then, Russia has counted 527 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) deployed, submarine ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and heavy bombers deployed, 1,458 warheads on deployed ICBMs, on Deployed SLBMs and nuclear warheads counted for deployed heavy bombers as well as 742 deployed and undeployed ICBM launchers, deployed and undeployed SLBM launchers, and deployed and undeployed heavy bombers.
The report also placed the US figures at 665 deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and heavy bombers; 1,389 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and nuclear warheads counted for deployed heavy bombers as well as 800 deployed and undeployed ICBM launchers, deployed and undeployed SLBMs and deployed and undeployed heavy bombers.
The State Department released identical figures last month as part of the New START deal.
The agreement limits the two powers to 700 deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and heavy bombers; 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and nuclear warheads counted for deployed heavy bombers and 800 deployed and undeployed ICBM launchers, deployed and undeployed SLBM launchers and deployed and undeployed heavy bombers.
Although Washington and Moscow continue to agree on another’s accession to the latest nuclear treaty between them, tensions nonetheless emerged as relations between Russia and the NATO coalition continued to erode.
In fact, when asked about the “catastrophic” state of relations between the rival parties that defined the Cold War at a press conference in Norway on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the ties had been completely lost.
“I wouldn’t say the situation is catastrophic. To be catastrophic, you have to have at least some sort of relationship,” Lavrov said. “We have no relationship with NATO.”
Russia announced it would sever ties with NATO last week after the 30-member defense pact called for the expulsion of eight Russian diplomats by November 1, accusing them of spying. The feud was the latest in a long line of incidents that marred Moscow’s ties with the coalition.
The two sides have long accused each other of destabilizing measures. Russia’s relations with NATO began after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dismantling of the Warsaw Pact, a communist alliance established shortly after NATO in the early years of the Cold War.
After a chaotic turn in the 1990s, Russian President Vladimir Putin came to power at the turn of the 21st century and has been ruling as president or prime minister ever since, seeking to restore the country’s place in the world. Success US administrations have attempted to “reset” relations with Moscow over the past two decades, but relations have fluctuated and fluctuated, falling sharply in 2014 after Russian intervention and the final annexation of Crimea amid political unrest in Ukraine and accusations that Moscow has supported separatists operating along the country’s border.
The United States and Western countries have also accused Russia of electoral interference, cyber attacks and attempted assassinations against dissidents. Moscow has accused rivals of undue interference in the internal affairs of other states, of abuse of economic sanctions and of continued attempts to surround Russia through advanced missile defenses and so-called “color revolutions” to bring the former Soviet republics into the fold of NATO.
In addition to saving New START, Biden set out to establish what his administration calls “a stable and predictable relationship” with Russia, particularly in the area of nuclear weapons. Russian officials say they seek to build a more positive dynamic with the United States
But the two have yet to reach new comprehensive agreements, and escalating friction with NATO members threatens to exacerbate existing divisions.
After NATO Defense Ministers discussed a “Concept of Deterrence and Defense in the Euro-Atlantic Area” which includes the development of a multi-front strategy to block any hypothetical attack by Russia During a meeting on Thursday, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told state broadcaster Deutschlandfunk that, as part of NATO’s nuclear deterrence doctrine, “we are prepared to use such means so that they have a deterrent effect in advance and that no one has the idea of attacking NATO partners “.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reacted to the statement on Saturday.
“Amid calls for military deterrence from Russia, NATO is constantly drawing its forces to our borders,” Shoigu said, according to the official Russian news agency Tass.
“The German Defense Minister must be well aware of how such actions in the past ended for Germany and Europe,” he added, referring to the eastern front of World War II. “There can only be shared security in Europe, without harming Russia’s interests. But it is NATO that is not prepared for a fair dialogue on this issue.”