MOSCOW, June 20. /TASS/. Russia’s national security will not be damaged if the United States opts for withdrawing from the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (known as New START), Russia’s Ambassador in Washington Anatoly Antonov said in an interview with TASS First Deputy Director General Mikhail Gusman on Saturday.
"Should the United States decide against extending New START, our response will be calm, calculated and balanced. I am firmly convinced that Russian military officials have long calculated all the consequences of this step. Our country’s national security will not be affected," he said.
The ambassador stressed that the question of the future of New START Treaty will be in focus of the Russia-US talks in Vienna on June 22.
"We want to understand what plans the US has regarding this treaty," he added.
Antonov explained that not only does Russia’s security depend on a balance of strategic nuclear weapons with the United States, but also on many other factors, namely on US plans to build up a global anti-missile defense system, on the situation with long-range high-precision systems, on nuclear arsenals of US allies in NATO, on the proportion of general-purpose forces, on Washington’s multiple military bases close to Russian borders and on the US ideas of deploying weapons in outer space.
According to the diplomat, the non-renewal of New START will have negative consequences for international stability, in particular, for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty) entered into force on February 5, 2011. The document stipulates that seven years after its entry into effect each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and strategic bombers.
The New START Treaty will remain in force for 10 years, until 2021, unless it is replaced before that date by a subsequent agreement on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms. It can also be extended for no longer than 5 years (that is, until 2026) by the parties’ mutual consent.
Moscow has repeatedly called on Washington not to delay prolongation of the treaty it describes as the gold standards in the area of disarmament.