No real cuts under START: Experts



No real cuts under START: Experts Moscow: The much-hyped nuclear arms cut treaty signed between US and Russia does not provide for the 'real' cuts, on the contrary Moscow would have to build more missiles to retain parity with Washington, Russian experts said on Friday.

Billed as the historic treaty, the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) treaty was signed by President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Prague yesterday.

Both leaders hailed the document, which requires that their countries reduce their nuclear arsenals to 1,550 warheads over seven years, as opening a new chapter of cooperation between the world's biggest nuclear powers. But experts feel that Russia would build more missile to retain parity with US.

"In fact the sides don't have to cut the number of (nuclear) delivery vehicles. The actual number of Russian delivery vehicles is already under the 700 limit and their number as well as of warheads would significantly drop after missiles with expiry of the life span would be taken out of service in the coming years," Vedomosti financial daily reported quoting experts.

"On the contrary, if Russia plans to retain parity with the US at level of ceilings set in the new START, it would have to manifold increase the production of several types of missiles," Editor of 'Moscow Defence Brief' monthly Mikhail Barabanov was quoted as saying.

On its part the US would have to maintain its delivery vehicles at around the current level, as was already planned. "At the same time, the authors of the treaty are misleading the public by counting one bomber as one warhead - it is well known that the American as well as Russian bombers are capable of carrying six or more cruise missiles, each of which is nuclear tipped," Vedomosti quoted experts.

The daily notes that the new START is more favourable for Russia than its predecessor signed in 1991 at the end of Cold War by Mikhail Gorbachev and President George Bush (Sr).

"As the published protocol (to the Treaty) says the sides exchange telemetry of not more than five missile launches in a year, this allows Russia to withhold the data of its latest RS-24 and 'Bulava" missiles still in the trial stage," Vedomosti noted.

In its release the Kremlin also said: "The conclusion of the Treaty does not mean that at this stage we renounce modernisation of Russian strategic nuclear forces.”

“Our national security will further be strengthened through deploying advanced and more efficient and reliable types of strategic offensive arms in the context of bilateral reduction of their aggregate number."

PTI