The New START treaty's death would lead to the re-emergence of a costly US-Russian arms race "in a matter of months" and push up the risk of a nuclear conflict, Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the US-based Arms Control Association, told Sputnik on Monday
MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 21st September, 2020) The New START treaty's death would lead to the re-emergence of a costly US-Russian arms race "in a matter of months" and push up the risk of a nuclear conflict, Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the US-based Arms Control Association, told Sputnik on Monday.
In a fresh interview with Russia's Kommersant newspaper, US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea said that unless Washington and Moscow struck a presidential memorandum on arms by February, the treaty would not be extended. He also warned that the "price" for Russia would rise after November if President Donald Trump is reelected. In response, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said that an agreement is possible only if the US abandons ultimatums.
"Without an effective system of agreements to verifiably limit and reduce the already excessive and very deadly U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, we could see the re-emergence of dangerous and costly nuclear competition the likes of which we have not seen since the mid-1980s," Kimball said.
The scenario may come true within several months.
"In the absence of New START, Washington and Moscow could 'upload' several hundred additional warheads on the existing ground- and sea-based ballistic missiles. In a matter of months each could potentially exceed the treaty's 1,550 deployed strategic warhead ceiling," he said.
According to the expert, each side could "accelerate plans for new and dangerous capabilities" once the treaty breaks up. This, in turn, would "undermine strategic stability and increase the risk of a nuclear conflict."
"Russia is considering new nuclear-armed hypersonic delivery systems, a long-range nuclear torpedo designed to destroy a port-city, nuclear-armed ground-based and sea-based cruise missiles, while the Pentagon is considering ground-based cruise missiles in Europe, new intermediate-range ballistic missiles in Asia, a nuclear-armed sea-based cruise missile, and a new nuclear warhead, the W-93," Kimball stated.
A renewed race, he went on, would be "unaffordable for both sides."
The expert urged the two countries against "playing games with New START, which is working, is verifiable, and is in their mutual self-interest." He also recalled that if no deal is struck by November and Democratic candidate Joe Biden wins the election, he would have 16 days after the Inauguration Day to work with President Vladimir Putin to extend the treaty.