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30 May, 2019 09:16

Pentagon tells same old story: Russia ‘PROBABLY’ violating nuke treaty... that US never ratified

Pentagon tells same old story: Russia ‘PROBABLY’ violating nuke treaty... that US never ratified

The Pentagon has rolled out new allegations against Russia, suggesting that Moscow might be conducting nuclear tests banned by a treaty which the US never even ratified.

Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley Jr, the head of the Pentagon’s intelligence arm, disclosed during a speech at the right-wing Hudson Institute on Wednesday that the United States believes Russia has “probably” restarted low-yield nuclear tests, in violation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

The fear, according to Ashley, is that Russia may be developing tactical nuclear weapons for use on conventional battlefields.

Pressed about the claim in a question-and-answer session afterward, Ashley backed away from his provocative word choice and said only that Russia “has the capability” to conduct a test with a low nuclear yield.

Also on rt.com Putin submits bill on suspension of INF Treaty

His comments were later clarified by Tim Morrison, a senior director at the National Security Council, who insisted that Moscow has “taken actions” to improve its nuclear arsenal that “run contrary to the scope of its obligations under the treaty.”

The Pentagon's latest allegations are complimented by an inconvenient reality that neither Ashley nor Morrison were eager to discuss. The United States never ratified the CTBT, and is not bound by international law to follow its provisions. In layman’s terms, this means that Washington is making vague assertions that Russia is violating a treaty of which the US itself is not a ratified signatory. (The United States, the only country to ever use a nuclear weapon, claims that is has not conducted a nuclear test since 1992. So who needs silly treaties?)

Also on rt.com UN disarmament chief says risks of nuclear-weapons use higher than ever since WWII

The accusation of Russia’s non-compliance with CTBT comes as Washington prepares to exit a different arms control agreement, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, in August. The Trump administration insists that it must leave the 1987 accord because of repeated violations by Russia – an allegation which Moscow has strenuously denied.

Russia has warned that the collapse of the INF could imperil the landmark New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expires in 2021. Attacks by US conservatives and political analysts against the treaty have compelled the Russian Embassy in the US to issue a factsheet on Russia’s arms control record.

“We deem it necessary to point out some of their blatant misrepresentations of facts that mislead the audience and create a distorted picture of the actual state of affairs,” the embassy wrote in a Facebook post.

This isn't the first time Washington has resorted to vague language to accuse adversaries of serious crimes. US National Security Advisor John Bolton recently claimed that Iran was “almost certainly” behind an attack on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. As usual, Bolton didn’t elaborate.

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