Russian General Staff in Krasnaya Zvezda Lays Out Conditions for Nuclear Weapons Use, in Warning to U.S.
Aug. 8, 2020 (EIRNS)—An article published in the Defense Ministry’s Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper yesterday laid out the conditions for Russian first use of nuclear weapons, reported lenta.ru (via Google translate—ed.).
“The most important postulate of ensuring the military security of our state is the guaranteed deterrence of any potential enemy, including the coalition, from unleashing military aggression against the Russian Federation and (or) its allies,” write Chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Maj. Gen. Andrey Sterlin and Col. Alexander Khryapin, leading researcher at the Center for Military Strategic Research of the Military Academy of the General Staff. “It is based on the combat capabilities of the domestic Armed Forces (primarily nuclear forces) to inflict ‘unacceptable damage’ on the aggressor in any, even the most critical conditions of the situation (‘retaliation strike’).”
The article then lists the conditions which would force a decision on whether or not to use nuclear arms, the first of which is the receipt of “reliable information about the launch of ballistic missiles attacking the territory of Russia and (or) its allies.” Since the warning systems cannot distinguish between a nuclear and non-nuclear warhead, “any attacking missile will be perceived as a missile potentially carrying a nuclear charge.” The second condition is the enemy’s attempt to destroy Russia “as a state” with the use of not only nuclear weapons, but any weapons of mass destruction by the aggressor.
The reference document for the authors is the decree, signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 2, “On the foundations of the state policy of the Russian Federation in the field of nuclear deterrence,” from which the authors quote extensively. As the authors note, that document is unusual in that it was published publicly on the official Russian government web portal.
The authors then express the fear that both the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) and the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty) are under threat of termination, which would lead to a worldwide nuclear arms race. The failure of New START, they warn, could put the world on the brink of nuclear disaster. “After the termination of the [New START] treaty, there will be no existing international agreement limiting the strategic arms race, and the hands of the American hawks will be completely untied,” the authors note. “It should be emphasized that all the actions of the American side are taking place against the background of the declared new provisions regarding nuclear policy and missile defense.”
The Krasnaya Zvezda article is clearly a message to the U.S. that the U.S. policy of dismantling the arms control system and surrounding Russia with anti-missile defenses and long-range precision strike systems is creating an unacceptable strategic situation for Russia, one that could lead to the use of nuclear weapons.