Russia is holding fast on tying missile defense into the START follow-on treaty. The head of Russian armed forces, Nikolai Makarov, has said that “the time of signing the new treaty will depend… on the sides’ readiness to heed each other’s interests.” Its odd that at the same time a Russian lawmaker said that the treaty would “definitely” be signed before the nuclear summit being held April 12-13 in Washington, D.C.. Looks like Moscow maybe talking out both sides of its mouth on this.
The United States has been refusing to include the missile defense issue in the new strategic offensive arms reduction treaty, said chief of the Russian armed forces’ General Staff, General of the Army Nikolai Makarov.
“The treaty is about 95% prepared, but individual aspects have yet to be negotiated, including the American side’s consent to include the problem of missile defense in the treaty – a matter of crucial importance for us,” Makarov said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta, published on Tuesday.
Missile defense must be entered on the strategic arms reduction treaty in view of the United States’ plans to deploy elements of its missile defense system in Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, he said.
Makarov said the inclusion of missile defense reflects Russia’s national interests, noting that the Russian delegation to the talks will defend its basic position.
“The possibility and time of signing the new treaty will depend, in the first place, on the sides’ readiness to heed each other’s interests,” Makarov said.
The new strategic arms reduction treaty must seal the nuclear weapons parity between the United States and Russia. But in the absence of a separate agreement on missile defense, the U.S., while further developing this system, could shift the balance of forces in its favor, the general said.
“Even though the missile shield is a defensive system, if further developed it could give a new impulse to the arms race,” Makarov said.