The Washington Free Beacon says Russia is increasing the number of nuclear warheads in its arsenal by adding multiple, independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs, a Pentagon official said.
The buildup violates the New START arms treaty between the United States and Russia, which calls for a reduction in warheads by February 2018, said an official.
The US has decreased its arsenal in recent years while Russia has added deployed warheads and new weapons. The treaty limit is 1,550 warheads — the State Department in January said the U.S. was below the mark at 1,538, and Russia was above it, at 1,648.
The State Department said it can inspect the new MIRV missiles, but an official in the Beacon story said that is not the case.
“We fully expect Russia to meet the New START treaty central limits in accordance with the stipulated timeline of February 2018,” said Blake Narendra, spokesman for the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance.
Former Pentagon official Mark Schneider told the Beacon that the Russians have not made any claims that they’ve reduced their numbers “in five years.” He also said the Obama administration’s claims about reducing arms “border on outright lies.”
World leaders are gathering for the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, but Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend.
Russia’s absence from the summit is “to show its outrage with the West’s policy,” said Alexei Arbatov, director of the Center for International Security at the Russian Academy of Sciences.
In a Washington Post editorial, Obama said, “Our progress notwithstanding, I’m the first to acknowledge that we have unfinished business.”
“But we have begun,” Obama said.
“It’s great that Obama made this an issue,” said Miles Pomper of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies said to Scientific American. “But he didn’t quite drive it home.”