Russia stops giving US advance notice on missile tests
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia will no longer give notice to the United States about its missile tests, a senior Moscow diplomat said Wednesday, as its military deployed mobile launchers to Siberia in a demonstration of the massive nuclear capability of the country in the midst of fighting in Ukraine.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in remarks carried by Russian news agencies that Moscow had halted all exchanges of information with Washington after previously suspending its participation in the latest nuclear arms pact with the Russians. UNITED STATES.
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Along with data on the current state of the countries’ nuclear forces regularly released every six months in accordance with the treaty, the parties also exchanged advance warnings on test launches. These advisories have been a vital part of strategic stability for decades, allowing Russia and the United States to correctly interpret each other’s movements and ensure that neither country confuses a launch. test with a missile attack.
The end of missile test warnings marks another attempt by Moscow to discourage the West from stepping up support for Ukraine by pointing the finger at Russia’s massive nuclear arsenal. In recent days, President Vladimir Putin announced the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Moscow’s ally, Belarus.
Putin last month suspended the New START treaty, saying Russia could not agree to US inspections of its nuclear sites under the deal at a time when Washington and its NATO allies have openly stated that the defeat of Moscow in Ukraine was their objective. Moscow has stressed that it is not withdrawing completely from the pact and that it will continue to respect the nuclear weapons ceilings set by the treaty.
The Foreign Ministry initially said that Moscow would continue to inform the United States of planned test launches of its ballistic missiles, but Ryabkov’s statement reflected a sharp change of course.
“There will be no notification,” he said in remarks reported by Russian news agencies when asked if Moscow would also stop publishing notices of planned missile tests. “All notifications, all kinds of notifications, all activities under the treaty. will be suspended and will not be carried out in any position the United States may take. »
Ryabkov’s announcement follows U.S. officials’ statement that Moscow and Washington have stopped sharing semi-annual nuclear weapons data that was contemplated by the New START treaty. White House, Pentagon and State Department officials said the United States offered to continue providing this information to Russia even after Putin suspended its participation in the treaty, but Moscow told Washington that he would not share his own data.
New START, signed in 2010 by then-presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev, limits each country to a maximum of 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers. The agreement provides for extensive on-site inspections to verify compliance.
Inspections have been suspended since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Talks of resuming them were supposed to have taken place in November 2022, but Russia abruptly called them off, citing US support for Ukraine.
As part of the Russian drills that started on Wednesday, Yars mobile missile launchers will maneuver in three regions of Siberia, the Russian Defense Ministry said. The moves will involve measures to conceal the deployment from foreign satellites and other intelligence assets, the ministry said.
The Ministry of Defense did not specify how long the exercises would last or mention any plans for practice launches. The Yars is a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of approximately 11,000 kilometers (over 6,800 miles). It forms the backbone of Russia’s strategic missile forces.
Defense Ministry video shows trucks carrying the missiles leaving a base to go on patrol. The maneuvers involve around 300 vehicles and 3,000 troops in eastern Siberia, according to the ministry.
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The exercise took place days after Putin announced a plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, Russia’s neighbor and ally. These weapons are intended for use on the battlefield and have a relatively short range and much lower yield compared to long-range strategic missiles equipped with nuclear warheads capable of wiping out entire cities.
Putin’s decision on tactical weapons followed his repeated warnings that Moscow was ready to use “all available means” – a reference to its nuclear arsenal – to repel attacks on Russian territory.
Ryabkov said Wednesday that Putin’s decision followed the failure of Kiev’s allies to heed previous “serious signals” from Moscow due to what he described as “the fundamental irresponsibility of Western elites to their people and international security”.
“Now they will have to deal with changing realities,” he said, adding, “We hope NATO officials will adequately assess the gravity of the situation.”
Russian officials have issued a barrage of hawkish statements since their troops entered Ukraine, warning that continued Western support for kyiv is increasing the threat of nuclear conflict.
In remarks released on Tuesday, Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, chaired by Putin, sternly warned the United States and its allies against hoping for a Russian defeat in Ukraine.
Patrushev alleged that some American politicians believed the United States might launch a preemptive missile strike on Russia that Moscow would be unable to respond to, an alleged belief he described as “shortsighted stupidity, which is very dangerous “.
“Russia is patient and does not try to scare anyone with its military superiority, but it has unique modern weapons capable of destroying any adversary, including the United States, in the event of a threat to its existence” , Patrushev said.