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U.S. Senators Call For Strategic Talks With Russia: Hypersonic Nuclear Weapons

Unic Press UK: Four notable Senators of the United States – Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Thursday urged the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to begin constructive, strategic talks with the Russian Federation in the light of recent revelation on the extraordinary nuclear arsenal of the Russian military.

In a letter to the U.S. Secretary of State, which was dated 8 March 2018, the Senators said:

Dear Secretary Tillerson:

“We write to urge the State Department to convene the next U.S.-Russia Strategic Dialogue as soon as possible. A U.S.-Russia Strategic Dialogue is more urgent following President Putin’s public address on March 1st when he referred to several new nuclear weapons Russia is reportedly developing including a cruise missile and a nuclear underwater drone, which are not currently limited by the New START treaty, and would be destabilizing if deployed. However, it is due to these policy rifts, not in spite of them, that the United States should urgently engage with Russia to avoid miscalculation and reduce the likelihood of conflict. Lastly, as the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review notes, Russia maintains a numerical advantage to the United States in the number of non-strategic nuclear weapons. However, even absent the political space for a formal agreement or binding treaty with Russia, we urge the State Department to discuss ways to enhance transparency on non-strategic nuclear weapons. However, even at the height of Cold War tensions, the United States and the Soviet Union were able to engage on matters of strategic stability.  Leaders from both countries believed, as we should today, that the incredible destructive force of nuclear weapons is reason enough to make any and all efforts to lessen the chance that they can never be used again.”   

The Senators’ point of view is a reaction to the annual State of the Nation address of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which, the Russian leader warned its ‘adversaries’ that Russia had the potential to use nuclear weapons in response to an attack on Russia or an attack on its allies. Putin said:

“I believe it as my duty to say this: any use of nuclear weapons of any yield – small, medium or whatever – against Russia or its allies will be regarded as a nuclear attack against our country. Retaliation will be instant with all the ensuing consequences… tests conducted during military exercises have produced positive results, confirming that in the near future Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces will receive the newest technical complexes capable of achieving hypersonic speed and hitting targets at intercontinental distances with high accuracy, at the same time being able to fully manoeuvre, changing altitude and course… no other country currently has such weapons.”

When questioned by NBC’s Megyn Kelly on Thursday, the 1st March 2018, on whether his 2018 State of the Nation address had not triggered a new arms race, the Russian leader responded with point blank blame on the U.S. government, saying that the U.S. initiated a new arms race since 2002 by withdrawing from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty).

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