According to a senior US Defense Official, the United States announced its formal withdrawal from a Cold War Treaty with Russia Friday as the U.S. Army is set to test out a fresh, mobile, non-nuclear cruise rocket that is specifically created to challenge Russia in Europe.
The U.S. removal from Moscow on Friday marks the end of a landmark weapons control agreement that restricted the growth of ground-based rockets with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.
“Russia is exclusively liable for the disappearance of the Treaty,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, announcing withdrawal in a declaration on Friday. “Russia has not returned to comply fully and checked by destroying its missile system.” Meanwhile, analysts fear that the U.S. non-nuclear cruise missile test will mark the beginning of a fresh arms race with Moscow.
The test is expected to be carried out in the next few weeks and will be a response from the Trump administration to Russia’s long-standing violations of the INF Treaty, said the US Senior Defense Officer.
Since the Obama administration, Russia has violated the Treaty; this year the Trump administration has begun to inform Russia and NATO that it will withdraw unless Moscow reverses course.
“It was now true for two governments that Russia was not the treaty, not the United States,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper recently said. “We’ve upheld our treaty commitments and over the years we’ve been working with them to get them back into line, yet this has not been the right end.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres informed journalists on Thursday that the expiry of the treaty implies that’ the world is going to lose an invaluable nuclear war brake, probably raising and not decreasing the danger presented by ballistic missiles. The Trump administration also stated that, in six months, if Russia did not fully comply, the US would withdraw from the Treaty.
In the short term, the scheduled Pentagon test raises questions as to whether it can develop and deploy the fresh rockets. Meanwhile, Russia is anticipated to increase tension and risk with the possible proliferation of mobile, detectable and speedy launch of rockets that could hit Europe, Asia and even sections of the US.
The consequences of the INF’s death “are drastic,” said Jon Wolfsthal, CEO of the Nuclear Crisis Group and former nuclear specialist for the Obama administration’s National Security Council.
“Russia will continue building and deploying intermediate-range rockets which will considerably boost the risk for European allies, increase the danger of escalation to the US,” said Wolfsthal, “and will boost Russia’s danger to our allies in Eastern Asia and even Alaska as these missiles can be deployed far eastern in Russia.”
The US defense official has long been proving that Russia has created, tested and filed “various battalions” with cruises and ballistic rockets that do not comply with the INF. The US thinks that deployments are “militarily important,” because the rockets are mobile and allow Moscow to move them quickly.
The Russian rockets use strong fuel, so they can be set up to fire at objectives, particularly in Western Europe in a very brief moment.
Alexandra Bell, senior policy director at the not-political Center for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation, describes:’ There’s a really little warning about this sort of rocket, attacks are difficult to detect on the radar and so it’s more destabilizing.
The Pentagon has worked on the very original stages of the mobile launch system which will lead to the first test in the next weeks, the defense officials said. The official stressed that the rocket had not yet been formally developed because the INF Treaty was in effect.
The anticipated exam could ultimately lead to a program, the official said, but because of resistance from the Democrats in Congress, financing has been difficult to secure.
The administration’s fiscal 2020 budget application published in February included $96 million for continuing research and development on missile covered by the INF Treaty. A hazardous arms race could be the next one.
“The Pentagon said in March that it was intended to test two rockets that were not complying with the INF later this year, after the US was withdrawn, the first one being in August. Pentagon said in March that this new ground-launched missile could be prepared for deployment in 18 months.”
The US will probably take a present air or maritime cruise rocket, such as a Tomahawk, and launch it on the ground, Reif said.
“It’s not a major engineering job,” Wolfsthal said. “The ability of the main defense contractors and the Army to pull off is well within.”