RUS­SIAN BREAK­OUT FROM NEW START?

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

At Tues­day’s de­bate Sen. Tim Kaine, the Demo­cratic vice pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, praised the ef­forts of his run­ning mate, for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clinton, to cut nu­clear weapons in a deal with Rus­sian in 2010.

“It was Hil­lary Clinton who worked with Rus­sia on the New START Treaty to re­duce their nu­clear weapons stock­pile,” the Virginia Demo­crat said dur­ing Tues­day’s vice pres­i­den­tial de­bate.

But State Depart­ment statis­tics made pub­lic this week paint a dif­fer­ent pic­ture of Rus­sian nu­clear ac­tiv­i­ties.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est fig­ures from the State Depart­ment arms con­trol bu­reau, Rus­sia in the past six months added 61 new nu­clear war­heads to its stock­pile, and since the treaty went into force in 2011, added a to­tal of 259 war­heads.

The Rus­sians cur­rently have de­ployed 1,796 war­heads — 249 war­heads above the treaty limit of 1,550 that must be reached by Fe­bru­ary 2018.

Dur­ing the same pe­riod, the United States cut 433 war­heads from its arse­nal.

The State Depart­ment in­sists the in­crease is tem­po­rary and that Moscow will even­tu­ally reach to the treaty limit by early 2018.

But crit­ics say the war­head buildup is just one in­di­ca­tion that the Rus­sians are plan­ning to break out of the treaty as part of a ma­jor strate­gic and tac­ti­cal nu­clear arms buildup.

House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee Chair­man Rep. Mac Thorn­berry called Mrs. Clinton’s Rus­sia “re­set” pol­icy “a mis­take and a fail­ure.”

“The num­bers are clear: While we cut our U.S. nu­clear forces, the Rus­sians have built more,” the Texas Repub­li­can said Tues­day. “This is on top of Rus­sia’s mas­sive 10-to-1 ad­van­tage in tac­ti­cal nu­clear weapons, mul­ti­ple vi­o­la­tions of the INF Treaty, con­tin­ued ag­gres­sion in Syria and Ukraine and its sus­pen­sion of the Plu­to­nium Man­age­ment and Dis­po­si­tion Agree­ment.”

Con­tact Bill Gertz on Twitter at @Bil­lGertz.

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