27 May, 2022

Russia Ambassador to U.S. Says NATO Not Taking Nuclear War Threat Seriously

TOM O’CONNOR 

Russia’s envoy to the United States has told Newsweek that leaders of the U.S.-led NATO military alliance do not grasp the true gravity of a potential nuclear conflict erupting, as a tense war of words among powers looms over the ongoing fighting in Ukraine.

As officials and other influential figures of the U.S. and allied nations accuse the Kremlin of summoning the specter of nuclear war over NATO’s support for Ukraine against Russia’s devastating invasion, Moscow’s ambassador in Washington, Anatoly Antonov, disparaged what he called “a flurry of blatant misrepresentation of Russian officials’ statements on our country’s nuclear policy.”

In fact, he said it was those in the Western bloc that have proven irresponsible in their handling of what has been described as one of the most dangerous moments since the Cuban Missile Crisis six decades ago.

“The current generation of NATO politicians clearly does not take the nuclear threat seriously,” Antonov told Newsweek.

Those who feel Russia was fueling the hysteria include top U.S. military leaders, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair General Mark A. Milley, who accused Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of “nuclear saber-rattling” after an interview last month in which Moscow’s top diplomat said that “the danger is serious, real, and we must not underestimate it.”

And while U.S. officials cast Russia as the aggressor in escalating nuclear tensions, Antonov called these accusations “baseless,” and “part of a propaganda campaign launched against Russia in response to the steps taken to neutralize threats to our national security emanating from the Ukrainian territory.”

He then outlined the “conditions under which the use of nuclear weapons is possible” as per Russia’s official doctrine, which he said states that such weapons of mass destruction “can be used in response to the use of WMD against Russia and its allies, or in the event of aggression against our country, when the very existence of the state is jeopardized.”

US, German, troops, train, with, B-52, bombers
U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party Operators and German Joint Fires Observers pass target data to B-52H Stratofortress bombers during a Dynamic Targeting and Close Air Support training event at the 7th Army Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany on March 4. The B-52 constitutes part of the aerial component of the U.S. nuclear triad, and the bombers have been sent to Europe as part of an increased U.S. military presence on the continent in response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine.GERTRUD ZACH/TRAINING SUPPORT ACTIVITY EUROPE/U.S. ARMY

But Antonov believes his Western colleagues misread the weight of the nuclear risk, and that’s why Russian officials “have never stopped our efforts to reach agreements that will guarantee that a catastrophic confrontation will not be unleashed.”

“It is our country that in recent years has persistently proposed to American colleagues to affirm that there can be no winners in a nuclear war, thus it should never happen,” Antonov said.

He noted the inclusion of this “no winners” principle in the joint Russia-U.S. statement adopted after the June 2021 summit held between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and again among the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council in January of this year.

Even before the outbreak of Russia’s war in Ukraine on February 24, however, strategic stability between the two nations that hold roughly 90% of the world’s nuclear arsenal had eroded. Now, the conflict leaves the future of one of the last bastions of diplomacy between Moscow and Washington even more uncertain.

Next month will mark two decades since the U.S. exit from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which for half a century marked a pioneering effort in reducing nuclear tensions in the heat of the Cold War. In August 2019, then-President Donald Trump abandoned the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, accusing Moscow of having first defied the agreement through the development of a new cruise missile in violation of the 310-3,420-mile range banned for land-launched weapons.

Since then, just one single yet significant treaty has bound the Russian and the U.S. nuclear arsenals, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). After disagreements between Moscow and Washington threatened to allow this accord to collapse as well, Biden heeded Putin’s offer to unconditionally extend it as one of the U.S. leader’s first foreign policy measures after taking office last year.

Antonov called New START “a universally recognized gold standard in the sphere of maintaining strategic stability and transparency between the major nuclear powers,” and said that “Russia has repeatedly drawn the attention of the United States that it is important to continue the joint work on an agreement that could replace New START and accommodate new realities of international security and development of military technologies.”

“Regrettably, Washington has unilaterally ‘frozen’ the bilateral strategic stability dialogue that was launched at the Geneva summit, thus jeopardizing the prospects of keeping the foundation of arms control in place,” he added. “Russia is ready to resume the consultations as soon as the United States is ready.”

The latest report submitted to Congress last month by the State Department assessed that both sides remained in compliance with New START.

The report also said that “the United States has made clear its concerns about Russia’s arsenal of theater-range nuclear weapons,” which commonly refers to weapons armed with low-yield, tactical warheads, of which the U.S. Intelligence Community assesses Russia possesses between 1,000-2,000, a figure that is “projected to grow.”

The U.S. has also developed low-yield warheads for use on submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and Pentagon officials have called for even more applications. U.S. Strategic Command chief Admiral Charles A. Richard told lawmakers in a letter last month that “a non-ballistic, low-yield, non-treaty accountable system that is available without visible generation would be valuable.”

“The nation and our allies have not faced a crisis like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in over 30 years,” Richard said. “President Putin simultaneously invaded a sovereign nation while using thinly veiled nuclear threats to deter U.S. and NATO intervention.”

Neither Russia nor the U.S. has made any official changes to their respective nuclear policies since the war in Ukraine began more than two months ago. But rhetoric touched upon the potential for nuclear escalation in the opening days of the conflict, especially after Putin announced on February 27 that his nuclear forces were being placed “on a special mode of combat duty.”

Antonov said Western nations “misinterpreted the decision.” But Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu “publicly explained that it was only about the work shifts of strategic forces commands which began to perform combat duties with reinforced personnel.”

The Russian diplomat said it was about responding to NATO’s own nuclear moves on the continent.

“This means that Russia has increased its vigilance against the backdrop of extremely confrontational statements by Western countries,” Antonov said, “including NATO member states that possess nuclear weapons.”

Among the 30-state NATO alliance, three nations — France, the United Kingdom and the U.S. — possess nuclear weapons. The U.S. has also, however, deployed nuclear weapons to a number of other allied states including Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Turkey.

This nuclear sharing policy, through which such weapons remain solely under U.S. control, has prompted concerns from Russia that Ukraine’s NATO aspirations could also bring nuclear weapons to the neighboring former Soviet republic seeking closer ties to the West.

As such, Antonov argued that “it is not us who are the source of unhealthy speculations about unleashing a nuclear war.”

“They were initiated by the Kiev regime, which made no secret of its intentions to acquire military nuclear capabilities,” Antonov said. “In the same vein — statements made by Polish leaders about their readiness to deploy American nuclear weapons on their territory. And some hotheads on Capitol Hill even allege to call to use nuclear weapons against Russia.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has denied that his statements disparaging the 1994 Budapest Memorandum constituted a call for developing nuclear weapons. The deal, reached three years after Ukraine declared its independence, launched a process through which Kyiv surrendered Soviet-era nuclear weapons stored in Ukraine to Moscow in exchange for security assurances.

Russia’s actions in Ukraine, which both U.S. and Ukrainian officials have argued amount to “war crimes” and even “genocide,” have nonetheless stirred a hawkishness in Washington and other allied capitals with calls for a greater NATO role in the conflict.

“Such rhetoric is accompanied by an unprecedented ‘pumping’ of Ukraine with modern NATO weapons,” Antonov said. “There are calls in the West to establish a no-fly zone, to bring alliance troops into Ukrainian territory under the disguise of peacekeepers.”

Russia, Putin, oversees, Sarmat, ICBM, launch
Russian President Vladimir Putin oversees the launch of the RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile on April 22. The weapon, nicknamed “Satan II” in the West, was one of several advanced nuclear systems introduced by the Russian leader during a March 2018 press conference.RUSSIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE

Antonov also reiterated Russian claims of “an undeclared military biological program implemented with the support of the Pentagon in close proximity to the Russian borders.” U.S. officials have roundly rejected these allegations. A State Department official told Newsweek in March that such sites were actually “Ukrainian diagnostic and biodefense laboratories,” which “are not biological weapons facilities.”

Competing narratives over the war in Ukraine continue to play out in the information space in both news outlets and social media, as both sides accuse one another of deliberately obscuring the truth to suit their respective interests.

Antonov says his concerns lie with the fact that, for all the World War II comparisons made, the current generation of leadership has not lived through the worst of humanity as did “the Soviet and American leaders who went through the Second World War and knew from personal experience what the blood and torment of millions of people are.”

He then quoted two leaders who carried the world through the tense moments of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

“We are in a dire need of military intellectuals,” Soviet Defense Minister Marshal Rodion Malinovsky wrote in his notebook, as cited by Antonov. “Not just highly educated officers, but people who have mastered advanced culture of heart and spirit a humanistic outlook. Modern weapons of such destructive power cannot be entrusted to a skillful person who has only a firm grip. To wield it one needs a clear head capable of foreseeing consequences as well as a sensible heart. That is a mighty moral instinct.”

On the other side of the crisis was President John F. Kennedy, who in his famous 1963 address at American University offered a softer approach to relations with Moscow.

“If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity,” Kennedy said. “For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

With the world’s top two nuclear powers again at the brink, Antonov said “our country does not threaten the United States and its European allies, but, on the contrary, is making every effort to prevent the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis.”

And he explained why the nuclear warnings from Moscow continue.

“We are compelled to warn of the emerging risks associated with the intervention of NATO states into the Russian special military operation,” Antonov said.

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5 thoughts on “Russia Ambassador to U.S. Says NATO Not Taking Nuclear War Threat Seriously”

  1. Whatever the US Government is now is anyone’s guess. I has it’s own agenda and hears nothing anyone else says…..like that old church lady we used to see on SNL when she had her fingers in her ears. That’s a sure sign or an agenda similar to all the NWO’s agendas and similar to the dems who just move forward regardless of their exposure; all that AFTER they project their own lies and shortcomings on the opposing force. It’s a strategy that works consistently because they control the media and opposition is muffled.

    Here’s a short, complimentary article from PCR that I found on Jim Stone….in that 80% category.

    This is a nice column by Paul Craig Roberts.

    Normally I don’t post other people’s stuff but this is too excellent to skip.

    Neoconservatives Are Setting Up The World For Nuclear War

    By Paul Craig Roberts – May 4, 2022 Oliver Stone on Facebook writes that rabid anti-Russian propaganda has set the stage for a false flag low-yield nuclear explosion in Ukraine that the world has been trained to interpret as Russia’s doing. The success of Washington’s perception war and saturation of the CNN/Fox airwaves with condemnation of Russia could lead to hopes that a false flag nuclear event would bring down Putin’s government. A new Yeltsin installed would return Russia to Washington’s control and leave China, alone, as the next target. Such an event is not a fantasy. It is an expression of Stone’s understanding of the neoconservatives commitment to Washington’s hegemony. Biden officials have made it clear that they are at war with Russia, using Ukraine as a proxy, with the goal of exhausting Russia into weakness and disposing of Putin.

    A false flag event is not the only avenue to nuclear war. The expansion of NATO to Finland and Sweden is another. Washington is not only pressuring the governments to apply for NATO membership but also is bribing Swedish and Finnish government officials to do so.

    Think about this expansion of NATO for a minute. One reason for Russia’s intervention in Ukraine is the stark refusal of Washington and NATO to take Russia’s security concerns seriously. Ukraine’s membership in NATO is totally unacceptable to Russia, so why was it pushed? With Western intervention in Ukraine threatening to spin the conflict out of control, why pour gasoline on the fire by bringing Sweden and Finland into NATO? Currently Scandinavia and the Baltics are nuclear free. Finland’s entry into NATO would bring more NATO to Russia’s border, a development that the Kremlin has declared as unacceptable. By piling on more provocations, Washington and NATO are intentionally widening a conflict that was deliberately provoked.

    Clearly, it is irresponsible for Finland and Sweden to further destabilize the situation by joining NATO. Dmitry Medvedev has made it clear that NATO membership would mean the end of the nuclear-free Baltic. More NATO on Russia’s border creates an imbalance that Russia would have to correct with deployment of hypersonic nuclear missiles. How can it be possible for the governments of Finland and Sweden to regard NATO membership as an increase in security when the result is to have their countries targeted with nuclear weapons? Finland and Sweden are in no danger of being attacked by Russia unless they join NATO. No one in their right mind would see NATO membership for Finland and Sweden as anything but a reckless act of destabilization. Like Switzerland, Finland and Sweden have benefitted from their neutrality. It is nonsensical for them to turn themselves into nuclear targets.

    Everyone needs to understand that the neoconservatives’ ideology of hegemony is an expansionist ideology like original 20th century International Communism. It is the American Empire that is expanding toward Russia, not Russia expanding into the West. It is truly amazing how opposite from the truth the anti-Russian propaganda is. Sooner or later the Kremlin will comprehend that Russia’s enemies are the American neoconservatives and that the pressure point on the neoconservatives is Israel.

    As my audience knows, I have been concerned for years that Russia’s low-key response to provocations brings about more and more dangerous provocations that eventually will bring Armageddon upon us. I saw recently that the Chinese government thinks similarly when a Chinese spokesman said that China can accept no provocation from Washington as the result would be more and worse provocations.

    The Kremlin’s policy of relying on reason, negotiations, and good will has not been reciprocated by the West. The Kremlin’s limited military operation in Ukraine was not of sufficient ferocity to convince the West to abandon its policy of provocation. It seems Washington will continue its provocations until the fatal line is crossed.

    moderated
    1. I can spot a news consumer a mile away. I have a small army of casual friends that have swallowed the “Russia is evil incarnate” lies with breakfast. Just like they swallowed the Kung Flu pronouncements whole without chewing. Nothing can move them off of it. If you try to explain rationally why you disagree, they won’t listen, they can’t listen. I tried to give them the ABCs of the history of Ukraine and it was obvious they knew jack squat about the place. They have not the faintest idea about NATO driving the conflict. And they don’t want to know. I keep hearing about the great awakening but I don’t see it in my circle. If you take everything the news says and invert it, you get a rough sketch for what’s going on.

      I have a ski buddy who is flush for life. He made his fortune outsourcing computer chip manufacturing to China and lived their 6 or 7 years. We ran into a handful of Chinese men skiing and he starting spewing Chinese like he grew up there. When I told him about the CCP organ harvesting story, he simply said “this I have no doubt”. Like it was a well accepted fact. But I can’t move him on the Ukraine is a victim, Russia is evil, Putin the Devil scenario. I gave it a try. That’s all you can do with the Marks of this realm

      moderated
      1. So true, Dave……you can plant a seed, but the next time they turn on the box, the seed gets buried so deeply, it never sprouts. I have never seen a dividing line so defined and impenetrable from either side.
        I hate to give the dark side any credit, but they have done a remarkable job getting the world populace to this state. The side of light is way behind the curve. We had better get off our asses and moving NOW.

      2. Tell your ski buddy to visit Jim Fetzer’s website now and then to clear his brain of the propaganda that’s been stuffed into it.

        Seriously, Russia has been guarding against the “false flag” since the beginning, which is why it quickly went after the Chenobyl and Zaporizhzhia nuclear plants and the 30 bioweapons labs. No doubt NATO has more up its sleeve before the Ukrainians completely crater.

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