The Trump administration is ready to take such a step in order to persuade Russia to extend the strategic offensive arms treaty.
The US leadership is ready to put the stored nuclear weapons into combat conditions in order to put pressure on Moscow in negotiations on strategic offensive arms reduction. This is reported by the American publication Politico, citing three sources at once.
“The Trump administration has asked the military to assess how quickly they can remove nuclear weapons from storage and load them onto bombers and submarines if the arms control treaty with Russia expires in February,” the publication notes.
A corresponding request from the administration was sent to the US Strategic Command in Nebraska. At the same time, it is not concealed that this order is part of a strategy to put pressure on Moscow in the negotiations on a new nuclear missile treaty in the period before the presidential elections in the United States. Thus, the White House wants to emphasize that they are serious about terminating the agreements if Russia does not comply with the US demands.
Washington notes that Moscow is deliberately delaying negotiations. The Kremlin hopes that if Joe Biden wins, his administration will offer better conditions for Moscow than those currently being discussed.
Thus, according to one source in Washington, what the Trump administration is doing is “a real incentive for Russians to sit down and negotiate.”
Recall that the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START III) between the United States and Russia entered into force in February 2011. Its action is provided for a ten-year period — until February 2021. After that, the parties must come to an agreement or continue existing agreements or conclude new ones.
Also, a year ago, the Russian Foreign Ministry officially confirmed the breakdown of the treaty with the United States on the elimination of medium and short-range missiles.