Just finished reading Putin’s opening remarks at the June 19 meeting of military-industrial top brass in St. Pete dedicated to implementation of the aerospace defense component of the 2011-2020 state armament program. In those Putin for the first time praises restructuring of Phase IV of EPAA in what keeps hope for BMD deal alive, orders aerospace defense forces to prepare defending against a first decapitating strike, criticizes INF treaty, but remains mum on Obama’s same day call for unilateral cuts of strategic nukes by US and Russia and a NATO-Russian deal on tactical nukes.
See main points below with my comments in Italics
I. Putin’s opening remarks at the 06.19.13 meeting of military-industrial top brass dedicated to implementation of the aerospace defense component of the 2011-2020 state armament program.
“We see that how rapidly high-precision non-nuclear weapons are being developed in the world. These weapons’ strike capabilities are approaching those of the strategic nuclear weapons. States with such systems greatly increase their offensive potential.
At the same time, and we are well aware that the United States continues to deploy its strategic missile defense system. Yes, there is some reconfiguration of the time the geography of this project. We see and positively appreciate these steps of our American partners. However, no one is giving up the program as a whole, it continues to implement. It is only the matter of time: when and where elements of this missile defense system will be implemented.
Moreover, there are more and more discussions among military analysts on that the first, so-called disarming or beheading strike, even against nuclear powers is possible. We too should take this into account in our planning of development of the armed forces.
And finally, not only the United States, but also other states are actively improving their offensive weapons, including medium-range missiles. And around us almost all of our neighbors are developing these weaponry systems.
Let me remind you that the Soviet Union at the time, and then, of course, Russia decided to abandon the the medium-range missiles, signing an agreement with the United States. However, it is not so clear why the Soviet Union did this, bearing in mind that these systems were not relevant for Americans as they had no place to use them. As for the Soviet Union and today's Russia, that decision was, at least, debatable, given the fact that our neighboring countries are developing such attack systems. But the decision was made, and we just have to proceed from realities of today.
We can not allow the balance of strategic deterrence to be violated as this would reduce effectiveness of our nuclear forces. Therefore, development of aerospace defense will remain of the key areas of our military reform. In fact, an effective aerospace defense constitutes a guarantee of the stability of our strategic deterrent forces and defense of our country’s territory for aerospace attack weapons.” So Putin essentially says Russia needs a nation-wide BMD, which is impossible because of decoys, because U.S. and other countries are improving their offensive capabilities, including conventional delivery systems, while also accusing U.S. of pursuing a strategic BMD to defend against strategic delivery systems. But the fact that he did for the first time praises restructuring of Phase IV of EPAA (compare his words with Patrushev who dismissed this as ‘cosmetic change”) ’s keeps hopes for a US-Russian BMD deal alive
- Russia is to spend 3.4 trln rubles ($105.4 bn) on armaments for Aerospace Defense Forces until 2020, which constitutes 17% of all money to be spent on armaments in that period.
- Share of modern armaments operated by the Aerospace Defense Forces is to reach 50% by 2015 and then 70% by 2020, including S-500 (should be capable of mid-course intercept) and Voronezh-M/DM early warning radar.
II. Remarks by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin the 06.19.13 meeting of military-industrial top brass:
- Russia has no plan to carry out a first decapitating strike against any country. “Ours is a totally defensive doctrine.” Actually, Russian doctrine explicitly allows 1st strike in situations “in case of aggression against the Russian Federation with use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is threatened.”
- When calling aerospace defense forces to prepare defending against a first decapitating strike, Putin implied that this strike could be carried out with high-precision weapons that “paralyzes the country’s economy and its political-military leadership” as was the case during the bombing of Yugoslavia. “This is how the strategy of the global prompt strike may develop…. these weapons could be used to carry out a decapitating, disarming strike that nullify the economic potential and that produce an effect comparable to what is caused by weapons of mass destruction.” So it is against US Prompt Global Strike that the Kremlin wants aerospace defense forces to defend against – in line with earlier statements.
III. Putin’s press secretary denied that the St. Pete meeting is meant as response to Obama’s call for further nuclear cuts/excerpts from Obama’s speech:
- Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov: the St. Pete meeting planned well in advance, “absolutely not connected” to Obama’s Berlin speech.
- Excerpts from Obama’s 09.19.13 speech in Berlin:
“Peace with justice means pursuing the security of a world without nuclear weapons — no matter how distant that dream may be. And so, as President, I've strengthened our efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and reduced the number and role of America’s nuclear weapons. Because of the New START Treaty, we’re on track to cut American and Russian deployed nuclear warheads to their lowest levels since the 1950s. But we have more work to do. So today, I’m announcing additional steps forward. After a comprehensive review, I’ve determined that we can ensure the security of America and our allies, and maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent, while reducing our deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one-third. And I intend to seek negotiated cuts with Russia to move beyond Cold War nuclear postures. So clear that Obama has chosen option of unilateral reductions, hoping Russia would follow suit as was the case with PNIs or maybe an executive agreement because any treaty would require rafication in Senate, which is unattainable.
At the same time, we’ll work with our NATO allies to seek bold reductions in U.S. and Russian tactical weapons in Europe. And we can forge a new international framework for peaceful nuclear power, and reject the nuclear weaponization that North Korea and Iran may be seeking. He had to refer to tactical nukes, but clear that not very hopeful.
America will host a summit in 2016 to continue our efforts to secure nuclear materials around the world, and we will work to build support in the United States to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and call on all nations to begin negotiations on a treaty that ends the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. These are steps we can take to create a world of peace with justice.” So the 2014 nuclear security summit in Netherlands won’t be the last one.
(Source: Kremlin.ru, Whitehouse.gov, RIA Novosti, Gazeta.ru 06.19.13).