Moscow backs out of Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), months after it suspended the ‘New START’ treaty, blames America for deterioration of global security

Important Takeaways:

  • Russia Says Risk of Nuclear, Chemical, Biological War Increasing, Blames America
  • The United States’ foreign policy is wrecking global security, bankrupting Europe, and risks the outbreak of nuclear war, Russia said in a series of finger-pointing statements while failing to address its own role in the same
  • Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev said the deterioration of global security is the “natural consequence [of]… irresponsible” U.S. foreign policy. Referring to Israel, the Russian politician accused America of exacerbating conflicts and more broadly accused the United States of “stimulating the growth of common threats and challenges, including terrorism, drug trafficking, and transnational organized crime”.
  • Patrushev went on to say, per Russia’s state news service that: “The risk of using nuclear, chemical and biological weapons is increasing.” The U.S. bears special culpability in the risk of biological threats, he said, because America has been engaged in “dangerous biological experiments” in Ukraine.
  • Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who confirmed the rant was an official statement of the Kremlin.
  • Russia’s remarks on Wednesday amount to a degree of saber-rattling and finger pointing, but come just days after Russia withdrew from the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and months after it suspended the ‘New START’ (reduction of strategic offensive arms) treaty. The United States decried the latest move as an irresponsible “significant step in the wrong direction” which sets back confidence in international arms control.

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Pentagon puts countering China, Russia at center of U.S. defense strategy

: Three F/A-18E Super Hornets fly in formation over the aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and their strike groups along with ships from the Republic of Korea Navy as they transit the Western Pacific, November 12, 2017.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military has put countering China and Russia at the heart of a new national defense strategy unveiled on Friday, the latest sign of shifting American priorities after more than a decade and a half of focusing on the fight against Islamist militants.

The strategy document, the first of its kind since at least 2014, sets priorities for the U.S. Defense Department that are expected to be reflected in future defense spending requests. The Pentagon released an unclassified, 11-page version of the document on Friday.

The so-called “National Defense Strategy” represents the latest sign of hardening resolve by President Donald Trump’s administration to address challenges from Russia and China, despite Trump’s calls for improved ties with Moscow and Beijing.

“It is increasingly clear that China and Russia want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model – gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic and security decisions,” the document said.

Elbridge Colby, deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development, said at a briefing with reporters that Russia was far more brazen than China in its use of military power.

Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014 and intervened militarily in Syria to support its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Still, Moscow was limited by its economic resources, Colby said.

China, on the other hand, was described as economically and militarily ascendant by the document. It has embarked on far-reaching military modernization that Colby said was in “deep contravention to our interests.”

“This strategy really represents a fundamental shift to say, look, we have to get back, in a sense, to the basics of the potential for war and this strategy says the focus will be on prioritizing preparedness for war, in particular major power war,” he added.

The document also listed North Korea among the Pentagon’s top priorities, citing the need to focus U.S. missile defenses against the threat from Pyongyang, which beyond its nuclear weapons has also amassed an arsenal of biological, chemical, and conventional arms.

It said that while state actors would have to be countered, non-state actors like Islamist militants would continue to pose a threat.

The document said that international alliances would be critical for the U.S. military, by far the world’s best-resourced. But it also stressed a need for burden-sharing, an apparent nod to Trump’s public criticism of allies who he says unfairly take advantage of U.S. security guarantees.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)