Russia Suspends participation in N-Pact

Prelims level : Economy Mains level : Bilateral, Regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s Interests.
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In News:

  • Russia said that it was suspending its participation in a key Cold War-era missile treaty– Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement in a mirror response to a U.S. move the day before.


What is Russia Accused of doing?

  • The Americans say they have evidence that a new Russian missile falls within the 500-5,500km (310-3,400 miles) range banned by the treaty.
  • Some US officials have said that a number of 9M729 missiles – known to Nato as SSC-8 – have already been deployed.
  • Russia said that it would “not be drawn into a costly new arms race”. Russia would only deploy intermediate- and short-range missiles in Europe or elsewhere in answer to similar moves from the U.S.
  • Russian accusations that Washington itself has been in violation of the deal for many years. The Foreign Minister said Russia had “tried everything to save the treaty” in several rounds of diplomatic talks.
  • The U.S. in December gave Moscow a 60-day deadline to dismantle missiles it said breached the agreement. But Moscow has insisted that the disputed 9M729 missile is allowed under the treaty.
  • Russia voiced concerns that Washington’s decision to withdraw from the INF could jeopardise the extension of the New START treaty. That agreement, which caps the number of nuclear warheads held by Washington and Moscow, expires in 2021.

Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF):

  • Brokered by U.S. President Ronald Reagan with last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the treaty ended a superpower build-up of warheads that had frightened Europeans. It banned ground-launched missiles with a range of 500 km to 5,500 km.
  • Signed by the US and the USSR in 1987, the arms control deal banned all nuclear and non-nuclear missiles with short and medium ranges, except sea-launched weapons
  • The US had been concerned by the Soviet deployment of the SS-20 missile system and responded by placing Pershing and cruise missiles in Europe – sparking widespread protests. By 1991, nearly 2,700 missiles had been destroyed
  • Both countries were allowed to inspect the other’s installations
  • In 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the treaty no longer served Russia’s interests. The move came after the US withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002

New START Treaty:

  • The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) was signed April 8, 2010 in Prague by Russia and the United States and entered into force on Feb. 5, 2011. New START replaced the 1991 START I treaty, which expired December 2009, and superseded the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), which terminated when New START entered into force.
  • New START continues the bipartisan process of verifiably reducing U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals begun by former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.  New START is the first verifiable U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control treaty to take effect since START I in 1994.
  • Both Russia and the United States announced that they met New START limitations by Feb. 5, 2018
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