US wants low-yield nukes to prod Russia to respect nuclear pacts
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Feb 6, 2018
The US plan to deploy new low-yield nuclear weapons is aimed at convincing Russia to respect existing agreements on limiting the weapons, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Tuesday.
Mattis told a hearing in Congress that Moscow is violating the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty and Washington want to pressure it to get back in line.
"As you know, we have an ongoing issue with Russia's violation of the INF. I want to make certain that our negotiators have something to negotiate with, that we want Russia back into compliance," he told the House Armed Services Committee.
"We are going to stay inside the INF-compliant requirements but we are going to do research and development of an alternative weapon that should put Russia in a position to see the value to returning to being INF-compliant," he said.
For several months Washington has accused Russia of developing a new intermediate-range, ground-launched cruise missile that violates the treaty signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev and implemented in 1988.
Moscow denies breaking the agreement.
Last week the Pentagon released an updated nuclear strategy, the Nuclear Posture Review, that details how the US plans to face threats from North Korea, Iran and China, but mainly Russia.
The new stance envisages a new submarine-launched ballistic missile armed with a low-yield mini-nuke, and a new nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missile.
The ballistic missile would not violate the INF, but the cruise missile, if developed over the next 7-10 years, would.
But Washington could hold off on it if Moscow falls back into compliance with the 30-year-old INF, according to Pentagon deputy director for strategic stability Greg Weaver.
US defends controversial new nuclear policy at UN
The Pentagon's so-called Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), unveiled last week, outlined US plans to revamp its nuclear arsenal by developing new low-yield atomic weapons.
Washington has portrayed the policy as a necessary response to actions taken by Russia and China, claims Moscow and Beijing have fiercely denounced.
"Today's security environment is more dynamic, complex, demanding, and threatening than any since the end of the Cold War", the US ambassador to the UN's conference on disarmament, Robert Wood, said as he unveiled the NPR at the Geneva-based body.
He accused Russia, China and North Korea of boosting their nuclear stockpiles and "raising the prominence of nuclear weapons in their security strategies".
"Some in that room may think that we should just put our heads in the sand and ignore the threats that are being faced out there and just let Russia and China and North Korea continue to do what they are doing," Wood told reporters outside the conference hall.
"This NPR reflects the reality of the security situation", he added. "It is important to strengthen nuclear deterrence."
Moscow has called the new US policy "bellicose" and "anti-Russian" and warned it might take responsive measures to boost its own security.
China has said that Washington's assessments of its nuclear intentions amounted to "wild guesses", while Iran charged the US with bringing the world "closer to annihilation".
The new NPR is the first time since 2010 that the US military has spelled out how it foresees nuclear threats in the coming decades.
It has triggered accusations that President Donald Trump's administration was seeking to lower the threshold needed for a nuclear strike and breaching non-proliferation agreements.
"The nuclear threshold is not being lowered", Wood said.
"Our intention is to reduce the risk that others might miscalculate or gamble that they have some exploitable advantage. The objective is to make clear it is not in others' interest to use nuclear weapons."
Russia deploying ballistic missiles to Baltic enclave: Lithuania
Vilnius (AFP) Feb 5, 2018
Lithuania on Monday accused Russia of deploying nuclear-capable ballistic missiles to its Kaliningrad exclave on the Baltic, as relations between Moscow and the West sink to post-Cold War lows. Russia has previously sent Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad for drills, but Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said that this time they were being deployed for a "permanent presence". Speaking to reporters, Grybauskaite warned that the deployment in the Russian region bordering Baltic NATO members Po ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.