Russia may be on the point of walking out of a major cold war era arms-control treaty, after President Obama accused Moscow of violating the accord by testing a cruise missile, Censor.NET reports, citing The Guardian.
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According to Pavel Felgenhauer, a defence analyst and columnist for the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Russia has indeed broken the treaty by testing the R-500 which has a range of more than 1,000km.
"Of course, this is in gross violation of the 1987 treaty, but Russian officials including Putin have said this treaty is unfair and not suitable for Russia," Felgenhauer said. "The United States doesn't have [medium-range missiles] but other countries do have them, such as China, Pakistan and Israel, so they say this is unfair and wrong."
"The present situation of a new cold war in Europe - and not even cold, at least not in Ukraine right now - it's a situation in which Russia can abrogate the 1987 treaty, and the possibilities are rather high," Felgenhauer said.
According to Kremlin-linked analyst Sergei Markov, Russia has a far greater need for medium-range cruise missiles than the |US, because military rivals including China are located near its borders and because Moscow lacks the Americans' long-range bombing capabilities. "Russia would be happy to leave this agreement, and I think Russia is using the Ukraine crisis to leave the agreement," Markov said.
As for Russia's complaints about US aegis missiles, Felgenhauer said they reflect the genuine belief among Kremlin top brass that the US missile defence has a secret attack capability and poses a threat to Russia. "This was a normal Soviet practice that missile interceptors had the in-built capability to be used as an attack missile," Felgenhauer said.