Skip to Content

‘US may be wrong on number of Russian nuclear warheads’

US calculations of the number of nuclear warheads stored in Russia may be wrong by an order of thousands, said former Secretary of Defense William Perry. Washington does not have accurate information about it, he says.

Published: June 14, 2018, 10:05 am

    Read more

    “Actually, the US is not yet aware of how many warheads Russia has in its warehouses, and the errors in our calculations can reach up to thousands of units,” he said at the opening the Luxembourg International Forum on the Prevention of Nuclear Disasters in Geneva.

    Reuters reported in February last year that in a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, US President Donald Trump denounced the New START treaty and rejected Putin’s suggestion that talks begin about extending it once it expires in 2021. The duration of the new Treaty is ten years and can be extended for a period of no more than five years at a time. It includes a standard withdrawal clause like most arms control agreements.

    The previous START I treaty expired 5 December 2009, and in April 2010, the replacement New START treaty was signed in Prague by the United States and Russia. Following ratification by the US Senate and the Federal Assembly of Russia, it went into force on 26 January 2011. This Treaty was the first to provide tremendous reductions of American and Soviet/Russian strategic nuclear weapons.

    But US nuclear upgrades have contradicted the rationales for New START. By the time Obama left office in January 2017, Washington had advanced a nuclear modernisation program that is making nearly all of its nuclear weapons more accurate and deadly.

    Both parties were supposed to have limited their arsenals to a combined total of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments under the new Treaty. There is also a separate limit of 700 deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments which is less than half the corresponding strategic nuclear delivery vehicle limit imposed in the previous Treaty.

    Although these new restrictions have been set, the new Treaty does not contain any limitations regarding the testing, development, or deployment of current or planned US missile defense programs and low-range conventional strike capabilities.

    Senior Russian officials stated in April that the country had reduced its nuclear arsenal by more than 85 percent in adhering to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, while the US had bypassed certain requirements in the various documents. The Treaty verification provisions are notoriously complicated and demanding as it provides for twelve different types of inspection the US Congressional Research Service noted in 2011.

    START I still remains in effect between the US and Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. The latter three became non-nuclear weapons states under the Treaty on the non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1 July 1968 (NPT) as they committed to do under the Lisbon Protocol (Protocol to the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms) after becoming independent nations in the wake of the breakup of the Soviet Union.

    The International Forum for the Prevention of Nuclear Disasters began on Monday in Geneva, and brings together 49 experts from 14 countries to analyze current challenges in the nuclear field.

    Not only Russian, but former senior US government officials, legislators and arms-control specialists – many of whom once backed a strong nuclear arsenal — have been warning that the US modernization push which includes “small” nuclear weapons poses grave dangers.

    As George Shultz, Secretary of State for President Ronald Reagan, recently noted, “A nuclear weapon is a nuclear weapon. You use a small one, then you go to a bigger one. I think nuclear weapons are nuclear weapons and we need to draw the line there.”

    The United States currently has a massive nuclear arsenal of some 4 000 warheads. The administration is in the process of rebuilding this arsenal at an estimated cost of $1.7 trillion. As part of that massive arsenal, it already has about 1000 nuclear weapons with “low-yield options”.

    On Tuesday in Singapore Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un met for discussions of the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, while the new low-yield nuclear warheads that Trump wants to add to the American arsenal look poised to receive backing from Congress.

    The addition of the warheads to ballistic-missile submarines has become the most controversial element of the Trump administration’s new nuclear weapons strategy.

    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, in his most detailed justification of the new low-yield W76-2 warhead, said in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “potential adversaries have openly discussed the benefits of limited nuclear employment” hinting at Russia.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Americas

    Chile pulls out of Marrakesch

    SantiagoChile has joined the growing exodus from the United Nations Migration Compact. It has become the latest country to withdraw, President's Sebastian Pinera's administration announced.

    US Government loses landmark court case on vaccine safety

    WashingtonThe US federal government has been neglecting vaccine safety obligations for decades. Anti-vaccine activists have now won an important lawsuit against the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

    ISIS cyber attacks were falsely blamed on Russia

    An Islamic State-linked media outlet says a Canadian man - not Russia - was behind the terror group’s highest-profile cyber attacks, including the takeover of the Twitter account of the US military’s Central Command.

    Media reporting rigged against Republicans, Trump

    Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections in the United States, the mainstream media were directing their campaign reporting against Republicans.

    Trump is serious about troop deployment on US-Mexican border

    The number of US troops to be deployed at the Mexico border could reach 15 000, President Trump said on Wednesday afternoon.

    Trump tells migrant caravan to turn back, US military is being deployed

    WashingtonOn Monday, President Trump warned the illegal caravan approaching the US border from the south that the US military was waiting for them.

    Khashoggi was not the first casualty of Saudi regime

    WashingtonJamal Khashoggi was not the first victim of the Saudi regime allegedly hunted down and murdered. And President Donald Trump and his family, including son-in-law Jared Kushner, have meanwhile been supporting Saudi Arabia’s bizarre explanation for the murder of Washington-based Saudi journalist Khashoggi.

    New report highlights Pentagon’s cyber flaws

    WashingtonA US federal report has revealed glaring cyber vulnerabilities in US weapons systems. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report also found that defense officials believed the security measures were able to defeat hackers, even though outside teams were easily able to penetrate systems.

    US Democrats likely received fake bombs

    According to a law enforcement official, examiners are looking at whether the mail bombs sent to US Democrats over the last 48 hours were "hoax devices". What looked like bombs seen on television, may have been fakes.

    Second caravan of illegals heading for US border

    According to reports, there is now a second migrant caravan heading for the US of around 1000 people. They crossed from Honduras into Guatemala on Sunday night. The first wave comprises between 10 000 and 14 000 migrants, and includes notorious MS-13 gang members.

    Go to archive