Russia Tests New Nuclear Missiles
The Russian armed forces tested a nuclear missile with multiple warheads in the Arkhangelsk oblast on February 6, according to the state-run TASS news agency. The test came just 90 minutes after the U.S. Air Force confirmed that it had launched a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
The Arms Control Association has expressed concern that tensions may rise after the U.S. announced on February 1 it will suspend the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) Treaty. The following day, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on RIA, a news channel, that Russia would follow suit by developing previously outlawed missiles.
The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. was the first-ever arms control agreement to outlaw an entire class of nuclear missiles, the Council on Foreign Relations explains. The treaty prohibited ground-based missile systems with ranges from 500 to 5,500 kilometers (310 to 3,400 miles), resulting in the destruction of 2,600 armaments by 1991.
According to reports by RT, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed that the decision was retaliation for America’s violation of the treaty. The New York Times, however, previously reported that the U.S. compiled evidence in 2011 suggesting that Russia was testing banned weapons.
Speaking at Georgetown University on February 6, former-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the now-suspended treaty had allowed for the building of mutual trust as each side inspected the other’s nuclear facilities.
The Economist speculated that a cash-strapped Russian government in the 2000s could no longer afford air and sea-based missiles, which were permitted by the INF Treaty, because such systems are more costly than those that the INF outlawed. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, however, says that Russia may be correct in asserting that the U.S. violated the treaty first if the American Aegis missile systems installed in Eastern Europe in 2009 field cruise missiles.