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Scott Ritter: New START All But Collapsed Due to US 'Duplicity,' Negotiating 'In Bad Faith'

© Sputnik / Sergei Kazak / Go to the mediabankSarmat intercontinental ballistic missile complex
Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile complex - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.03.2023
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Washington has negotiated in bad faith with Russia on arms control, not respecting its legitimate concerns, hence the recent decision by Moscow to suspend its participation in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the US, former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter believes.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin announced in a message to the Federal Assembly on February 21 that Russia was suspending its participation in the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with the US. The suspension was signed into law on February 28, with Moscow vowing to continue to comply with quantitative restrictions on strategic offensive arms, as well as exchange notifications with Washington about ballistic missiles launches.
Now that Russia has frozen participation in the treaty, and if it expires in 2026 without a new agreement in place, the world could be plunged into an arms race that could lead to the probability, not possibility, of nuclear conflict, ex-UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter told Garland Nixon on Radio Sputnik's The Critical Hour program. Russia's move is a result of Washington's duplicity and negotiating in bad faith, Ritter believes.
"In fact, the treaty that we're talking about today, the New START Treaty, when it was negotiated in 2009-2010, the Russians had made it clear that they wanted to link ballistic missile defense concerns with strategic arms reductions, because as you bring the number of deployed warheads down to what they did, 1,550, suddenly missile defense can become a real player on the battlefield, especially if one side is thinking about a preemptive nuclear strike to take a lot of those warheads off the table, whatever's left, if it can be shot down by missiles, you've just nullified a strategic nuclear deterrence. And the Russians were very concerned about this. So they wanted linkage. The Obama administration said that they couldn't negotiate, they couldn't get such a treaty ratified through the Senate. But they promised to meaningfully engage with Russia on missile defense. Well, the Russians gave them their treaty, and the United States lied about ballistic missile defense."
Russian President Vladimir Putin - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.02.2023
Putin Signs Law Suspending Russia's Participation in New START
When Vladimir Putin announced the suspension of the treaty, he underscored that the move followed Washington’s efforts to "inflict a strategic defeat" on Russia. He added that, "we need to understand what countries such as France and the United Kingdom consider to be as their strategic arsenals, and how we will take them into account, that is, the combined strike potential of the [North Atlantic] Alliance." This is something the United States has refused to consider in the past, Scott Ritter pointed out, but Russia regards as a precondition going forward.

"No longer will Russia allow nebulous terms, anything that's going to be negotiated must be nailed down in writing with absolute strict levels of compliance verification. In fact, it's a whole new world of arms control, one that the United States hasn't been used to since the beginning, back in 1987, 1991, when we signed the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty and the initial START Treaty. These were treaties negotiated in good faith, where we treated the Russians as our equals with total reciprocity. And that's going to have to be the case going forward. Or else from the Russian perspective, there is no reason to engage in arms control," Ritter stated.

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Ritter lambasted the US for underestimating Russia, belittling it as a "gas station disguised as a country." Meanwhile, Russia has achieved impressive breakthroughs, developing a plethora of nuclear delivery systems to guarantee global deterrence, such as the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the expert said.

"We've been wrong across the board. The Russians have now fielded systems in numbers that are on active service that will defeat any missile defense system we ever develop. So, we've guessed wrong on our technological capabilities, and we've guessed wrong on Russia's ability to sustain their technological counters," the retired US Marine major said, adding that "the day and age when the United States could credibly sell itself as the exceptional nation, as the world's indispensable power, as we have often articulated ourselves, is over."

Tigr-M armoured vehicle followed by Yars ICBM launchers as Strategic Rocket Troops vehicles enter Red Square - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.02.2023
Scott Ritter: Anyone Who Doesn't Get How Serious New START Suspension is 'Doesn’t Appreciate Life'
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