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New Russian armaments to influence dialogue with US on strategic stability — experts

He recalled the nuclear arsenals had proved to be an important instrument of nuclear deterrence
Burevestnik cruise missile Russian Defense Ministry
Burevestnik cruise missile
© Russian Defense Ministry

MOSCOW, July 20. /TASS/. Development of novel samples of armaments in Russia will influence, in one way or another, the Russian-US dialogue on strategic stability, Andrei Bystritsky, a member of the Valdai international discussions club told TASS on Thursday in a comment on a report by the Russian Defense Ministry on the latest testing of prospective types of weaponry.

The testing of the armaments, which President Vladimir Putin spoke about for the first time in his March address to Russian parliament, has been done on the ground, on the sea and in the air.

"The US will have to take account of the reality that has emerged, of the new armament system we’ve developed," Bystritsky said. "While conducting talks the US will have to bear in mind this factor does exist."

He admitted the difficulty of saying at this stage what direction the Russian-American dialogue would take.

"If these armaments get into action, they will change the configuration of threats and military power in general on the background of what’s happening in the world in the sphere of arms control," Bystritsky said.

He recalled the nuclear arsenals had proved to be an important instrument of nuclear deterrence.

"Nuclear armaments have made it possible for large powers to live without major wars and with a very moderate level of violence," Bystritsky said. "It’s true that the nukes scared everyone but they helped the world live with reason and rationality and develop a huge number of technologies."

"The availability of the elements of deterrence like the new armament systems may turn out to be a crucial factor influencing peaceful development and giving stability to the world," he said.

Konstantin Blokhin, a leading research fellow at the Center for Security Problems Research made a comment in much the same vein.

"It’s difficult to say now whether the new armaments have a good or bad influence of Russian-US relations," he said.

Blokhin believes one would be able to speak about any kind of progress in Russian-US relations only after some time.

"As for this moment, the Trump Administration is under a torrent of criticism and any improvement in relations with Russia, any intentions or attempts to pull them out of the red to a zero level as a minimum will be viewed [in the West] trough a prism of alleged US weakness," he said. "And it you take Trump, [it will be viewed] as an act of betrayal."

Blokhin recalled that already now the epithet like ‘lame duck’, ‘little fanboy’ or ‘wet noodle’ could be heard with regard to Trump.

At the summit in Helsinki, Putin and Trump agreed to cooperate in the framework of New Start and INF treaties, he said. "Media reports are claiming Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and our military are ready to hold talks with Defense Secretary James Mattis."

Should these talks take place, they will most likely be devoted to the New START treaty that expires in 2021, Blokhin said.

The main idea behind demonstrating the new weapons was to reduce the arms race with the US, to sit down at the table of negotiations and to begin the discussion of the piling problems, like the antimissile missile defenses or strategic stability, he said.