Pentagon Questions Russian 'Intent' in CFE Treaty Withdrawal

© AFP 2023 / FREDERIC WALLOISThis January 6, 2015 aerial photo shows the Pentagon building in Washington, DC
This January 6, 2015 aerial photo shows the Pentagon building in Washington, DC - Sputnik International
US Strategic Command Commander Cecil Haney said that the US Department of Defense is concerned about the cumulative effect of Russia’s withdrawal from the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty in conjunction with its improved strategic military capabilities.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US Department of Defense is concerned about the cumulative effect of Russia’s withdrawal from the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty in conjunction with its improved strategic military capabilities, US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) Commander Cecil Haney told Sputnik.

“As we look at the INF [Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces] Treaty, the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, these things add up in terms of where is the intent? Where is the overall momentum that we are to expect from Russia?” Haney said on Thursday.

The CFE Treaty does not directly impact STRATCOM, but Haney stated that he is still concerned about the “overall, arching momentum I am sensing from Russia.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry - Sputnik International
New CFE Treaty May Bring Trust Between West, Russia - OSCE Representative
Specifically, Haney raised concerns over Russia’s military modernization program which includes nuclear, space and cyberspace capabilities. Given Russia’s improved capabilities, Haney questioned, “What’s the ultimate goal and how far are they going with this?”

Recent statements from Russian Foreign and Defense Ministry officials have reasserted Russia’s view that it maintains the right to use nuclear weapons to defend itself. The STRATCOM Commander stated his concern over “the way how they talk about their potential use of nuclear weapons, strategic capabilities.”

Russia’s newest military doctrine released at the end of 2014 emphasizes the importance of nuclear weapons as a deterrent, stating that it reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear or conventional attack against itself or its allies in a way that “jeopardizes the very existence of the state.”

STRATCOM is one of nine unified commands in the Defense Department that is charged with US nuclear command and control, space operations and global strike. The Command is also responsible for critical communications, surveillance and reconnaissance.

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