Recently, the story of Russia's accusations of violating the terms of an international treaty was continued. As follows from the latest news, over the next few weeks, representatives from Moscow and Washington will discuss the current situation and its controversial sides. Perhaps future consultations with the participation of diplomats and specialists will help reduce tensions in Russian-American relations.
A bunch of three RSD-10 missiles prepared for destruction, Kapustin Yar training ground, Astrakhan region, August 1, 1988
We are talking about the consequences of the recent report of the US State Department on compliance with the arms control agreements. The authors of this document argued that Russia has recently violated the terms of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Short-Range Missiles (INF), according to which Moscow and Washington pledged not to develop, produce or operate ballistic missiles with a flight range of 500 to 5500 km. At the same time, the authors of the report limited themselves to the most general formulations and did not cite a single fact confirming the allegations of violation of the treaty. Similar statements that appeared in the white paper led to the emergence of related questions. However, so far no evidence has been published to prove Russia's violation of the INF Treaty.
Last week, US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said that a proposal was sent to the Russian leadership to hold talks on compliance with the provisions of the INF Treaty. For obvious reasons, at the time this information was announced, the date and place of the consultations were not known. A little later, some details of the upcoming event were revealed by the source of Rossiyskaya Gazeta in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to him, the negotiations will take place in September.
Consultations on mutual concerns, as an unnamed source of Rossiyskaya Gazeta called them, will be held at a solid level. At the same time, the composition of the specialists who will have to defend the Russian position is still unknown. Probably, representatives of the foreign policy and military departments will sit at the negotiating table from the Russian side. Future negotiations should clarify the position of both countries, as well as clarify the existing situation with baseless accusations.
An interesting fact is that for several weeks after the publication of the "scandalous" report of the State Department, only expert comments appeared. The high-level controversy was limited to a few statements in which Russian officials and the military denied all charges and declared that they had complied with all the terms of the treaty on intermediate and short-range missiles. However, soon official Washington sent a proposal to Moscow to hold negotiations. The reasons for such an unexpected initiative are not completely clear, but there are grounds for some assumptions.
It is quite possible that the appearance of the American proposal for negotiations was facilitated by some moments of the speech of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Crimea. He recalled cases when the United States unilaterally withdrew from international treaties, which, in their opinion, did not allow ensuring the country's security. In this regard, Russia can also withdraw from some treaties unilaterally if they interfere with its security.
V. Putin did not specify from which international agreements Russia could withdraw, however, judging by the latest actions of the US leadership, his statement attracted attention. The result of this could be a proposal to hold consultations on the INF Treaty. Probably, the American leadership will attempt to dissuade official Moscow from withdrawing from the treaty, since such a step could have serious consequences for the security of both countries, as well as for a number of other states.
It should be noted that the treaty on the elimination of medium and short-range missiles is indefinite, but it provides for the possibility of one of the parties withdrawing. If exceptional circumstances related to the content of the agreement jeopardize the supreme interests of the country, then it has the right to refuse to further fulfill them and withdraw from the agreement. In this case, it is required to notify the other party about this six months before withdrawal from the contract and indicate the reasons for such a decision.
Thus, both Russia and the United States can withdraw from the INF Treaty, but over the two and a half decades of the agreement's existence, no party has exercised this right. The reasons for this should be considered the experience of the Cold War, when the USSR and the United States kept on duty a large number of medium and short-range missiles, which took no more than a few minutes to reach the target. Such weapons posed a great danger to both sides, as well as to several European states. In order to eliminate such risks, the INF Treaty was signed.
The importance of the agreement for both parties can be evidenced by the fact that in recent years accusations of violation of the terms of the agreement have been repeatedly heard. For example, a few years ago, Washington accused the Russian defense industry of creating and testing the RS-26 Rubezh ballistic missile and a cruise missile for the Iskander complex, which, according to their characteristics, allegedly fall under the INF Treaty. In response, Russia drew attention to the target missiles used during the tests of missile defense systems. According to Russian experts, these products have characteristics that make them classified as RIAC. There are also certain complaints about the anti-missile systems, the deployment of which is planned in Eastern Europe.
As you can see, the existing treaty on the elimination of the INF Treaty has a number of unpleasant diplomatic consequences. Its existence leads to mutual accusations, and the rejection of the treaty can negatively affect the military-political situation in Europe. Thus, the parties to the contract should find a common language and try to get rid of the existing problems. For this purpose, negotiations will be held in the near future.