White House officials have confirmed that the United States would begin withdrawing from Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) with Russia.
US President Donald Trump had earlier made it clear that he intended to withdraw from the INF Treaty, blaming Russian non-compliance.
America has provided Russia with a 6 month window to get back to compliance.
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told the BBC, “All [European] allies agree with the United States because Russia has violated the treaty for several years. They are deploying more and more of the new nuclear-capable missiles in Europe.”
He also stated that the six-month period the US had given Russia to return to full compliance should be taken advantage of.
Russia has denied violating the INF treaty.
Russian President Putin said, “Our American partners announced that they are suspending their participation in the treaty, and we are suspending it too. All of our proposals in this sphere, as before, remain on the table, the doors for talks are open.”
He added Russia would start developing new missiles.
Defense Updates analyzes what is Dead Hand system and why Russia is activating the dreaded system?
Dead Hand, also known as Perimeter, is a Cold War-era automatic nuclear weapons-control system used by the Soviet Union.General speculation from insiders alleges that the system remains in use in the post-Soviet Russian Federation as well.An example of fail-deadly and mutual assured destruction deterrence, it can automatically trigger the launch of the Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) by sending a pre-entered highest-authority order from the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Strategic Missile Force Management to command posts and individual silos if a nuclear strike is detected by seismic, light, radioactivity, and overpressure sensors even with the commanding elements fully destroyed. By most accounts, it is normally switched off and is supposed to be activated during dangerous crises only; however, it is said to remain fully functional and able to serve its purpose whenever it may be needed. A similar system existed in the U.S.
“Perimeter” appeared as an alternative system for all units armed with nuclear weapons. It was meant to be a backup communication system, in case the key components of the “Kazbek” command system and the link to the Strategic Missile Forces are destroyed by a first-strike in accordance with the concept developed in the US called “Limited nuclear war”.
In order to ensure its functionality the system was originally designed as fully automatic, and with the ability to decide on the adequate retaliatory strike on its own with no (or minimal) human involvement in the event of an all-out attack.
According to Vladimir Yarynich, a developer of the system, this system also served as a buffer against hasty decisions based on unverified information by the country’s leadership. Upon receiving warnings about a nuclear attack, the leader could activate the system, and then wait for further developments, assured by the fact that even the destruction of all key personnel with the authority to command the response to the attack could still not prevent a retaliatory strike. Thus, this eliminates the possibility of a false-alarm-triggered retaliation.
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The purpose of the Dead Hand system, was to maintain a second-strike capability, by ensuring that the destruction of the Soviet leadership would not have prevented the Soviet military from releasing its weapons.
Soviet concern about the issue grew with the U.S. development of highly accurate submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) systems in the 1980s. Until then, the United States would have delivered most nuclear weapons by long-range bomber or ICBM. Earlier U.S. sub-launched missiles, such as the 1960s-vintage UGM-27 Polaris and 1970s-vintage UGM-73 Poseidon, were considered too inaccurate for a counterforce or first-strike attack, an attack against an opponent’s weapons. SLBMs were reserved for attacking cities, where accuracy was of less importance. In the first case, an opponent with effective radar and satellite surveillance could expect a 30-minute warning of an attack before the first detonation. This made an effective first strike difficult, because the opponent would have time to launch on warning to reduce the risk of their forces being destroyed on the ground. The development of highly accurate SLBMs, such as the Trident C4 and, later, the D5, upset this balance. The Trident D5 is considered to be as accurate as any land-based ICBM. Therefore, US or UK Trident submarine systems could stealthily approach an enemy’s coast and launch highly accurate warheads at close range, reducing the available warning to less than three minutes, making a counterforce first strike or a decapitation strike viable.
The Soviet Union took steps to ensure that nuclear retaliation, and hence deterrence, remained possible even if its leadership were to be destroyed in a surprise attack.
The dead-hand system he [Dr. Blair] describes today takes this defensive trend to its logical, if chilling, conclusion. The automated system in theory would allow Moscow to respond to a Western attack even if top military commanders had been killed and the capital incinerated.
The heart of the system is said to lie in deep underground bunkers south of Moscow and at backup locations. In a crisis, military officials would send a coded message to the bunkers, switching on the dead hand. If nearby ground-level sensors detected a nuclear attack on Moscow, and if a break was detected in communications links with top military commanders, the system would send low-frequency signals over underground antennas to special rockets.
Flying high over missile fields and other military sites, these rockets in turn would broadcast attack orders to missiles, bombers and, via radio relays, submarines at sea. Contrary to some Western beliefs, Dr. Blair says, many of Russia’s nuclear-armed missiles in underground silos and on mobile launchers can be fired automatically.
The communication missile would work similarly to the US Emergency Rocket Communications System (ERCS).
However, more recent sources indicate the system was semi-automatic. In a 2007 article, Ron Rosenbaum quotes Blair as saying that Dead Hand is “designed to ensure semi-automatic retaliation to a decapitating strike.” Rosenbaum writes, “Of course, there’s a world of difference between a ‘semi-automatic’ doomsday device and the totally automatic—beyond human control—doomsday device.”
President Putin: “Of course, there are certain issues concerning the development of missile technology in the world and the restrictions which only the US and the USSR, then the Russian Federation undertook. But what are we concerned about? We are concerned that the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was terminated. Now we are talking about the treaty on intermediate-range and short-range missiles.”
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