Russia may be on the point of walking out of a major cold warera arms-control treaty, after President Obama accused Moscow ofviolating the accord by testing a cruise missile, Censor.NETreports, citing The Guardian.
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According to Pavel Felgenhauer, a defence analyst and columnistfor the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Russia hasindeed broken the treaty by testing the R-500 which has a range ofmore than 1,000km.
"Of course, this is in gross violation of the 1987 treaty, butRussian officials including Putin have said this treaty is unfairand not suitable for Russia," Felgenhauer said. "The United Statesdoesn't have [medium-range missiles] but other countries do havethem, such as China, Pakistan and Israel, so they say this isunfair and wrong."
"The present situation of a new cold war in Europe - and noteven cold, at least not in Ukraine right now - it's a situation inwhich Russia can abrogate the 1987 treaty, and the possibilitiesare rather high," Felgenhauer said.
According to Kremlin-linked analyst Sergei Markov, Russia has afar greater need for medium-range cruise missiles than the |US,because military rivals including China are located near itsborders and because Moscow lacks the Americans' long-range bombingcapabilities. "Russia would be happy to leave this agreement, and Ithink Russia is using the Ukraine crisis to leave the agreement,"Markov said.
As for Russia's complaints about US aegis missiles, Felgenhauersaid they reflect the genuine belief among Kremlin top brass thatthe US missile defence has a secret attack capability and poses athreat to Russia. "This was a normal Soviet practice that missileinterceptors had the in-built capability to be used as an attackmissile," Felgenhauer said.