Russia Will Not Lose from the Denunciation of the INF Treaty
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Evgeny Buzhinsky

Lieutenant-General (Retired), Ph.D. Military Sciences

Alexander Khramchikhin

Alexander Khramchikhin — Deputy Director, Institute for Political and Military Analysis.

Valdai Discussion Club

Recently the American journal Politico, referring to some congressmen, reported on the proposal to the US administration from the Congress about possible withdrawal from the INF treaty, signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. This treaty prohibits the parties to have ground-based ballistic and cruise missiles with a range from 500 to 5.5 thousand kilometers. In accordance with the treaty, the USSR destroyed 1,846 missile systems, the United States — 846 systems. These days Washington and Moscow have increasingly accused each other of the treaty violations.

Although the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty would be a very big mistake with possible dramatic military tension increase in Europe, the military experts of the Valdai Discussion Club believe, that Russia will not lose much from the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty.

Evgeny Buzhinsky, Lieutenant-General (Rtd.), chairman of the PIR Center’s Board, doubted in an interview with www.valdaiclub.com, that Russia violated the INF Treaty. According to him, Americans have clung to the notorious Russian cruise missile of increased range and believe that the Russians have already tested it. In order to start the arms race you need to have some kind of a goal, for which purpose to begin this race. «Even if the Americans withdraw from the treaty, what will they do? The ground-based cruise missiles will be deployed in Europe? I do not think the Europeans will be pleased that the same Pershings or cruise missiles will appear in their territory,» the expert said.

According to Buzhinsky, the Americans do not need this class of missiles to protect their national security. For Russia this is another matter. «We have too many states on our border perimeter, that possess this class of missiles, so I do not think there will be any race,» the expert said. It is another matter that the Americans could remain without means of control over disarmament. After the INF the START treaty could follow. The Americans do not like to know nothing, not to control anything, especially regarding Russia.

Alexander Khramchikhin, Deputy Director of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis, said that there would be no threat to Russia due to the denunciation of the INF treaty. According to him, Russia itself had to take the initiative and withdraw from the treaty. «It would be very good for Russia to get out of it, a long time ago. If the Americans do this for us, I would say — thank you very much,» the expert stressed.

According to Khramchikhin, the medium-range missiles of the SS-20 type are much more necessary to Russia than for the United States. While Russia, in accordance with the 1987 treaty, destroyed its medium-range missiles, many other countries intensified their production and deployment. First of all, we are talking about China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. As for India and the DPRK, these countries can hardly be considered real opponents of Russia.

«Honestly speaking, the Americans do not need such missiles; we need them very much, because on the Eurasian continent there are a number of countries that have such missiles that, as a rule, are aimed at us. So, it’s time to build medium and short range missiles. It’s just a new reality. We do not have such missiles, which is very bad, that’s why we had to quit this agreement a long time ago,» the expert concluded.

Valdai Discussion Club