Russia Threatens Nukes in Crimea: Europe May See New Nuclear Arms Race

Russia Threatens Nukes in Crimea
Europe May See New Nuclear Arms Race

A view of Bakhchisarai, a city in central Crimea / AP
A view of Bakhchisarai, a city in central Crimea / AP

BY: Jack Caravelli

February 9, 2015 12:05 pm
In December 2014 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Russia’s Interfax news agency that because Crimea had been absorbed into Russia and was no longer part of Ukraine, Russia “has the right to manage its nuclear arsenal…in accordance with its interests and international legal obligations.”

Even the threat of an introduction by Russia of nuclear weapons into Crimea can be interpreted as a warning to European states that Russia is willing to escalate its effort to control the ‘near-abroad.’ Introducing the weapons also would cement Crimea’s status as “Russian territory.”

Lavrov’s remarks also are further confirmation that Russia has no intention of respecting the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. At that time, Russia, the United States, United Kingdom and Ukraine agreed Ukraine would become a nonnuclear weapons state under the Nonproliferation Treaty by giving up its nuclear weapons—at the time it had the world’s third largest stockpile with 1900 strategic warheads and 2500 tactical nuclear warheads—in exchange for recognition by all signatories that they would respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Ash Cater, speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week as it was considering his nomination for Secretary of Defense, stated he believed the Obama administration needed to do more to support Ukraine’s security requirements, including providing lethal assistance. He did not mention interest on the Obama administration’s part in parrying any possible Russian introduction of nuclear weapons into Ukraine with the return of US nuclear weapons to Europe.

As Carter’s nomination was moving through the Senate, on January 22, two Republican subcommittee chairmen from the House Armed Services Committee, Mike Rogers and Mike Turner, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Chick Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry offering their assessment of the current situation in Ukraine and measures the United States should take in response.

Rogers and Turner conclude that the United States needs to view Putin as an adversary, noting Russia’s continuing efforts to increase military tensions in Ukraine and Lavrov’s assertions regarding Russia’s “right” to introduce nuclear weapons into Crimea. Their unequivocal language states, “We write to express deep concerns about Russia’s repeatedly stated position that it has the right—and the intention—to deploy its nuclear weapons in the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.” Rogers and Turner describe this possibility as a “dangerous escalation in Russia’s recent aggression.”

For the congressmen, the time has come for the Obama administration to “move immediately to update US defense policy.” Their letter poses questions for Hagel and Kerry focused on options for the United States to introduce more “dual use” weapons such as F-16 fighters and forward deployed nuclear weapons into Europe, focusing in particular on basing such weapons on the territory of newer NATO members such as Poland. On the Senate side, Senator John McCain, new chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, is expected to take on this issue in coming months as well.

In late 1987 Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in Washington which entered into force the following June. That ended a series of events that were turning Europe into a nuclear staging area, beginning with the 1977 deployment of Soviet SS-20 missiles that could hit targets throughout Europe, which in turn led to plans for the deployment of American nuclear weapons in response.

As with Ukraine’s sovereignty, the INF Treaty’s accomplishments may be another victim of Russia’s aggression.
http://freebeacon.com/national-security/russia-threatens-nukes-in-crimea/

February 09, 2015 20:44

Ukraine escalation could enter new round if talks are a failure – Russian diplomat (Part 2)

NEW YORK. Feb 9 (Interfax) – A failure of the upcoming summit talks in the Normandy format could further escalate the situation in Ukraine, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said on Monday.

“There are fears that if the talks in the Normandy format fail, the escalation of the situation in Ukraine could enter a new round,” he said on Rossiya 24 television station.

The UN pins great hopes on the Normandy quartet’s meeting set for Wednesday, the Russian diplomat said.
“This issue is being intensively discussed in UN corridors. Great hopes are being pinned on the Minsk meeting of the Normandy quartet set for Wednesday,” Churkin said.

The final decision on arms supplies to Kyiv will depend on the outcome of these talks, he said.
“This prospect will be tackled depending on the outcome of the Minsk meting,” according to Churkin.
Churkin also said that the U.S. could decide to supply arms to Ukraine, but it would contradict a number of provisions in international agreements.

“The U.S. has demonstrated a selective approach to international law on many occasions. Such a decision cannot be ruled out, therefore,” he said.

“If the U.S. responds to the Ukrainian government’s request and supplies weapons to Kyiv, a host of international agreements will be violated,” Churkin said.
Sd mk
(Our editorial staff can be reached at eng.editors@interfax.ru)

February 09, 2015 13:06

Successful Minsk meeting could result in Mistral carrier delivery to Russia – source (Part 2)

MOSCOW. Feb 9 (Interfax-AVN) – Paris will have grounds to start the transfer of the Vladivostok Mistral-class helicopter carrier build by the STX France shipyard to Russia if a meeting between the leaders of Germany, Ukraine, Russia and France scheduled for February 11 in Minsk is a success, a military diplomat told Interfax-AVN on Monday.
“If the Minsk talks really help ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, then Paris will be free to transfer the Vladivostok ship to the Russian Navy rapidly,” he said.

By doing so, Paris will achieve two goals: its face will be saved in the eyes of its allies and its reputation as a credible supplier will be confirmed, the source said.

“Both are important for France. In fact, France is interested in the soonest transfer of the Mistral-class helicopter carrier it has built and tested for Russia because it is incurring sizable expenditures to maintain the serviceability of this ship, which has been anchored in the Saint Nazaire through all these months,” he said.
Russia’s state arms trader Rosoboronexport and France’s DCNS signed a contract to build two Mistral-class helicopter carriers in June 2011. St. Petersburg-based Baltiysky Zavod, part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, built the sterns. The STX France Saint Nazaire shipyard attached the sterns to the bows and put the finishing touches to the ships. The contract value stands at 1.2 billion euro.

French President Francois Hollande said he had decided to postpone the Vladivostok’s delivery to Russia over the Ukraine crisis. Russia has said that it expects to receive either the ships or a refund.
Te cy

February 09, 2015 10:48

News headlines

Kyiv must cease fire, stop putting economic pressure on Donbas – Putin

MOSCOW. Feb 9 (Interfax) – President Vladimir Putin said that Kyiv must immediately end the military operation in southeastern Ukraine and stop attempts to impose an economic siege on Donbas, which he said are the key conditions for stabilization in Ukraine.

“An immediate ceasefire and an end to the so-called counterterrorism operation, which is in fact a punitive operation being conducted in southeastern Ukraine, are one of the most essential conditions for stabilization,” Putin said in an interview with the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram ahead of his visit to Cairo.
“Kyiv’s attempts to put economic pressure on Donbas and to block its vital functions are only complicating the situation,” he said.

“It is a dead-end path which can lead to a huge disaster,” the Russian president said.
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(Our editorial staff can be reached at eng.editors@interfax.ru)

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