RUSSIAN BREAKOUT FROM NEW START?
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.