What is the New START Treaty? How is it different from the START treaty? What is the history of START? Which are the various Treaties signed Between USA & Russia? Read further to know more.
In February 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the suspension of Russia’s participation in the last major military accord with the United States, New START.
The US claims that Russia is violating the New START Treaty, jeopardising a source of stability in their relationship.
Russia claims that the US intends Russia’s strategic defeat, and the “theatre of the absurd” (the existentialist concept) is vital to Moscow.
Over many years, the two countries signed numerous arms control treaties, thereby putting an end to their Cold War rivalry’s terrifying nuclear arms race.
Yet, the relationship between the United States and Russia is deteriorating, and the suspension of most treaties in recent years has increased the potential of a nuclear arms race once again.
History of START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty)
On May 9, 1982, US President Ronald Reagan introduced the START initiative. On June 29, 1982, he presented it in Geneva.
The first phase would limit total warhead counts on all missile types to 5,000, with an extra 2,500 limit on ICBMs. Furthermore, a total of 850 ICBMs would be permitted, with a maximum of 110 “heavy throws” missiles such as the SS-18 and other restrictions on the overall “throw weight” of the missiles.
Similar restrictions were imposed on heavy bombers and their weapons, as well as other strategic systems, in the second phase.
The Soviet Army posed no significant danger to the United States since its strategy focused primarily on targeting US convoys in the Atlantic Ocean as well as surface targets on the Eurasian landmass.
Although the Soviets had 1200 medium and heavy bombers, only the Tupolev Tu-95s could reach continental North America without refueling in the air.
This made it difficult for them to fly across US airspace, despite its lax defenses. The fact that there were too few aircraft available in comparison to American bomber numbers was balanced out by the fact that US forces were required to reach Soviet airspace, which was far larger and more fortified.
Following the demise of the Soviet Union, treaty duties were transferred to twelve Soviet successor republics. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan each removed one nuclear-related site, and on-site inspections were suspended.
Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine continued to be inspected.
The efficiency of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty
- Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine have all surrendered, disposed of, or transferred their nuclear weapons to Russia. Both the US and Russia have limited their weapon delivery payloads and vehicles to no more than 1600.
- According to a report provided by the US State Department on July 28, 2010, Russia was not complying with the majority of the treaty’s terms. It should be noted, however, that the circumstances of the noncompliance were not listed.
Also Read: Russia-Ukraine Conflict – ClearIAS
New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty
The only surviving weapons reduction treaty between the former Cold War adversaries, New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), limits the number of nuclear warheads that Russia and the United States of America can deploy to 1,550.
- It went into effect on February 5, 2011.
- The New START Treaty imposed even more restrictions on the United States and Russia by requiring them to reduce their strategic assets within seven years of its implementation.
- The boundaries were determined by a rigorous analysis conducted by the Department of Defense. These restrictions encompass 1550 nuclear warheads, which include intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and even ordinances used in heavy bomber formations.
- The Treaty of Moscow contains 74% fewer limitations and 30% fewer restrictions than the pact established in 1991. Both parties will also be limited to 800 deployed intercontinental ballistic missile launchers.
- There will be no restrictions on present or prospective American missile defence programs’ testing, development, or deployment.
- The New START will last 10 years and can be extended for another 5 years at a time. It, like other control agreements, includes a typical withdrawal clause.
- It was supposed to last until 2021, but it was extended by five years to 2026.
- It was signed in 2010 by former US President Barack Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
- It is one of the most significant limits for superpowers’ deployment of nuclear weapons.
Strategic Offensive limits
The New START Treaty went into effect on February 5, 2011. The treaty’s basic restrictions on strategic offensive armaments must be satisfied by the United States and the Russian Federation within seven years (by February 5, 2018), and they must thereafter enforce those limits for the remainder of the treaty’s validity.
- Organization of the Force: Each Party is able to choose how its troops will be organized, subject to general limits.
- The New START Treaty allows the United States to posture and maintains its strategic nuclear forces in the manner that best serves its national security objectives.
- It forbids Russia from deploying any intercontinental nuclear weapon, including any nuclear warhead carried by an intercontinental ballistic missile with a flight length of fewer than 30 minutes.
The history of Nuclear Relations Between the United States and Russia is evident. The US formally withdraws its intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF). The two countries agreed to eliminate all ground-based missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.
Various Treaties signed Between USA & Russia
Various Treaties signed Between USA & Russia are listed below.
SALT-1 (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks)
It began in 1969, with both sides agreeing not to build new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) silos, not to increase the size of existing ICBM silos considerably, and to limit the number of Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) launch tubes and SLBM-carrying submarines.
START-1 (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty)
The agreement, signed in 1991, demanded the destruction of excess delivery trucks, which was validated by an extensive verification system that included on-site inspections, frequent information exchange (including telemetry), and the deployment of national technical means (i.e., satellites).
Agreed in 1993, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty-2 called for lowering deployed strategic arsenals to 3,000-3,500 warheads and prohibiting the deployment of destabilizing multiple-warhead land-based missiles.
Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT)
Signed in 2004, the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) lowered the United States and Russia’s strategic arsenals to 1,700-2,200 warheads each.
Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START)
A legally binding, verifiable agreement signed in 2010 that restricts each side to 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on 700 strategic delivery systems (ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers) and 800 deployed and nondeployed launchers.
Also Read: I2U2 Initiative – ClearIAS
Nuclear disarmament process between the US – Russia
The two countries launched weapons control discussions on three fronts in 1985.
- The first addressed strategic missiles with ranges greater than 5,500 kilometers, resulting in the START accord in 1991.
- Both sides had a total of 1,600 strategic delivery vehicles and 6,000 warheads at their disposal.
- A second track addressed intermediate-range missiles, resulting in the 1987 INF Treaty.
- Nuclear and Space Discussions, a third track, was designed to address Soviet worries about the United States Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), however, it had no results.
Reason for Russia to halt the inspection
Due to Western sanctions, including the closing of air space for Russian flights and visa restrictions, it is impossible for Moscow to conduct inspections on US land. It also indicated a recent increase in coronavirus cases in the United States.
Article Written By: Atheena Fathima Riyas