Washington has signed more than $1 billion in new missile contracts in the three months since it announced plans to withdraw from a key Cold War-era arms treaty, campaigners said Thursday.
“The withdrawal from the INF treaty has fired the starting pistol on a new Cold War,” warned Beatrice Fihn, who heads the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
U.S. President Donald Trump announced last October that his country would leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement concluded between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union in 1987. Washington, which accused Russia of violating the treaty through a new missile system, began the official process of withdrawing from the pact in February. Russian President Vladimir Putin responded by saying Moscow would also leave the INF treaty, which is considered the cornerstone of global arms control.
In the three months following the October announcement, the U.S. government “proceeded to arrange no less than $1 billion in new missile contracts,” according to a report by ICAN and another anti-nuclear campaign group, PAX.
The report detailed over $1.1 billion in new contracts with six mainly U.S. companies.
“Next year is going to be extremely busy. Over 4,000 various types of drills and nearly 8,500 practical combat training events are scheduled. The main focus will be placed on applying expertise in the use of troops in today’s armed conflicts and training commanders to effectively address non-standard tasks,” the Russian defense minister was quoted by Tass news agency as saying.
Colonel General Bondarev called for old Russian bases in Vietnam to be re-opened. He said: “I believe under the condition of increased tension in the world and frank intervention in the internal affairs of other countries, Russia’s historical partners, our return to Latin America is not ruled out. Of course, this should be coordinated with the Cubans. We should also think about our Navy’s return to Vietnam with the permission of the government.”
Speaking at the UN, Andrey Belousov, deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department of Nonproliferation and Arms Control, said that Russia is indeed readying itself for war, so it can defend its people against American aggression. At a recent meeting, the US stated that Russia is preparing for war. Yes, Russia is preparing for war, I can confirm it.
U.S. Defense Secretary James Norman Mattis: “We are in close collaboration with our European allies… and we will continue to collaborate very closely with the treaty and its implications for European security. Eventually we have to look reality in the eye, that is not to mean that we are walking away from arms control. But arms control must be more than words on a paper, it must be actions.”