The Nato intends to react this year to the deployment of nuclear missile-capable Russian cruise missiles in Europe. “When it comes to the SSC-8, we will work on air defense and missile defense systems, on conventional weapons, on increased alert and an extension of the warning times,” said General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg of the German Press Agency. NATO defense ministers had already agreed on the framework for this.
“With the deployment of the SSC-8 cruise missiles, Russia violated the INF treaty. It is part of Russia’s strategy to invest heavily in new modern capabilities, including new modern nuclear weapons,” said Stoltenberg, NATO will respond “defensively and appropriately”. The defense alliance will not station new land-based nuclear missiles in Europe.
SSC-8 missiles with a range of more than 2,000 kilometers
The reason for the expansion of NATO’s deterrence and defense capabilities is the end of the INF contract for the waiver of land-based medium-range systems. It ended last summer because the US and other NATO partners believe that Russia the agreement for years with the system called SSC-8 (Russian: 9M729) violated. This is said to be able to fire cruise missiles that can be equipped with nuclear warheads and can fly more than 2,000 kilometers. The government in Moscow rejects this and gives the range of the system as less than 500 kilometers.
The INF contract prohibited the production, testing and possession of ground-based ballistic missiles and both sides Cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. Fears of a new arms race have grown since the INF contract was dissolved. For example, the United States recently tested a ground-based medium-range missile that would not have been compatible with the INF contract.
There is currently little hope of new, effective arms control agreements. The reason for the termination of the treaty by the United States is the fact that the INF treaty only bound Americans and Russians, but not emerging military powers like China. China is now said to have nearly 2,000 ballistic missiles and cruise missiles that would fall under the agreement.