NATO believes that the arms race can be prevented, despite the collapse of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF). This was announced on Friday by the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, at a briefing in Brussels in connection with the termination of the INF Treaty after the United States leaves it.
According to him, NATO does not want a “new arms race”. “We do not intend to deploy new ground-based nuclear missiles in Europe,” repeated Stoltenberg. At the same time, the Secretary General did not give a direct answer to the question of whether NATO has plans to increase the number of sea-based and air-based nuclear missiles in Europe. “Sea-based missiles and nuclear weapons are part of the START treaty. There are already agreements that cover strategic air, sea and land-based assets. We all know that the START treaty needs to be extended, this is a topic that is on the table now,” Stoltenberg said.
The Secretary General said that NATO agreed on a set of measures to strengthen the defense after the collapse of the INF Treaty, but did not intend to rush to implement them. “We have agreed on a set of measures to ensure that NATO’s deterrence and defense remains reliable and effective. But we will not rush their implementation or take rash steps. We will carefully consider all our options,” he said.
After that, he almost literally repeated the statement he made after the meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels on June 21 stating that after the collapse of the INF Treaty, the alliance countries will retaliate “in areas such as training, reconnaissance, air and missile defense and non-nuclear weapons “.
“We will also ensure the safety, reliability and effectiveness of our nuclear deterrent. Some of these measures can be implemented quickly, while others will take more time. They will all be balanced, coordinated and defensive,” Stoltenberg promised.
Stoltenberg also said that the alliance would strengthen its anti-missile defense system after the collapse of the INF Treaty, but would not include S-400 complexes in Turkey. “The answer is unequivocal – no. There are no plans to integrate Russian S-400 systems into a single NATO air defense and anti-missile system,” he said, responding to a TASS question. At the same time, Stoltenberg said that NATO “is already investing in the development of the most advanced systems in order to strengthen its missile defense system to protect against cruise missiles.”
“The allies are investing in modern missile defense systems, modern aircraft that are part of integrated air defense and missile defense system. These funds, of course, can also protect us from cruise missiles. NATO integrated missile defense system is strengthened and improved. This process is underway,” he stressed.
In September 2017, Russia announced a contract with Turkey for the supply of two S-400 divisions. The contract involves the partial transfer of production technology to the Turkish side. July 25 completed the first stage of supply.
Turkey and NATO are actively opposing the acquisition of S-400 by Turkey. On July 17, the White House spokesman said in a written statement that Turkey’s decision to acquire Russian S-400 airplanes made it impossible for her to continue to participate in the creation of the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II American fighter-bomber.
The Secretary General considers it possible to reach an agreement with Russia on new measures of arms control after the collapse of the INF. “I believe that it is possible to reach an agreement on arms control with Russia. In the long run, it is beneficial for them and it is beneficial for all of us to avoid a new arms race. An arms race is dangerous, very costly, and we have already argued before that possible, “added Stoltenberg. He, however, did not specify in any way when NATO should expect any counter-proposals in this area.
According to him, NATO will not discuss the moratorium proposed by Russia for the deployment of medium and shorter-range missiles after the collapse of the INF Treaty. “We will not discuss this. Russia has already deployed its missiles in Europe for several years (European part of Russia – TASS commentary). Therefore, this proposal’s confidence is zero if you offer a moratorium on the deployment of missiles that you have already placed,” he said. “Russia had to first remove its missiles, then destroy its missiles, observing the INF and CRL, which is a legally binding document, unlike some kind of moratorium.”
Russia has repeatedly rejected all accusations of violating the INF range, and in January organized a presentation of the 9M729 missile for foreign military experts in Moscow, the range of which, according to the US, exceeds the limit set by the INF. Representatives of NATO and Alliance members did not show up for this presentation, despite receiving invitations.