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Polish PM says ‘biggest threat is Russia’ – but Poland invaded Russia many times

Poland has long been an aggressor state against Russia, yet Poles also contributed to significantly to Russian history

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The Polish Prime minister has declared (unsurprisingly), that the greatest threat to Poland is Russia. This is a standard declaration we have come to expect from all NATO countries and their allies; according to them, no matter what the situation is, Russia is always the bad guy. Prime Minister spoke at Davos, fearing a Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to Fort Rus:

“What will happen when the Russian army moves deep into Ukrainian territory is unknown. It is better to have a second and third line of defense than to remain without these kinds of weapons,”- the Polish Prime Minister said.

You could substitute the Polish PM for any western leader at this point. It wouldn’t be surprising if a tiny micro-nation in the Pacific ocean declared their greatest threat is a Russian Invasion, followed by Russian hacking and then tropical storms.

Poland however, has a long story of conflict with the Rus’ peoples (Russians, Ukrainians, Belarussians, Carpatho-Russians). Does that mean the Polish Prime Minister was right in his assessment? Absolutely not; however this long history reveals the deep-seated roots of Russophobia in Poland.

With Fire and Sword – A Tragic History of Russo-Polish Conflict

Hatred grew in the hearts of men and poisoned the blood of brotherly peoples.” – Henryk Sienkiewicz, ‘With Fire and Sword’

That quote from the famous Polish author perfectly describes the relationship between Russia, Poland, and Ukraine for that matter. In a better world, Russians and Poles should be friends, they are both Slavic peoples, and that cultural bond should be more powerful than politics. Sadly, the history is filled with conflict.

When these three words are used in the same sentence: Poland, Russia, Invaded – the average westerner always assumes the sentence is: Russia invaded Poland. This is both the result of the Cold War, in which Russia was always portrayed as a villain in the west, and also Polish biases.

War is inherently tragic, however, in the context of Russo-Polish Wars, Polish people inherently speak as if Poland was always sinless, and Russia invaded Poland brutally and without just cause from the very beginning of their relationship. This is untrue, Poland in fact, invaded Russia long before Russian soldiers ever set foot on Polish soil in any meaningful way. Two wrongs do not make a right, it is not my intention to portray the conflicts from a moralistic point of view, casting the blame on one party or another. It is necessary, however, to understand these events from an objective, historical perspective, and the history of Russo-Polish Wars did not begin with a Russian invasion of Poland. We always hear about Russian Aggression against Poland, but the following are some major examples of Polish Aggression against Russia, long before Russian armies ever set foot in Poland.

The Polish Intervention in the Kievan Interregnum 1018

In the year 1018, taking advantage of the interregnum in Kievan Rus’ following the death of Saint Vladimir ‘Equal-to-the-Apostles’, Baptiser of All Rus’, Poland invaded Kiev. The image of famous Polish King Boleslaw the Brave entering the Golden Gate depicts the moment, and how Poland’s coronation sword got its name.

The Polish sword Szczerbiec is sometimes called the “Jagged Sword”, because the King apparently chipped the edge on the Golden Gate.

Poland intervened in support of their favored candidate for the Kievan throne, Svatopolk the Accursed Prince, at war with his brothers, of whom he already killed a few. With a name like “The Accursed”, you have to know that’s a fine and reputable member of society right there.

Sviatopolk I of Kiev.jpg

What is it with Western-allied countries constantly supporting the LEAST popular person they possibly could during a military intervention! Svatopolk is known as “Accursed” in Ukrainian histography as well, not only Russian, so let no one claim Poland was supporting the “Ukrainian” candidate. At this time in history, Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarussians were completely indistinguishable. Svatopolk was married to the daughter of the Polish King, and possibly responsible for the murder of his brothers Boris and Gleb. (Other sources claim he was their uncle)

The Polish intervention would be the equivalent of Russia invading Poland in support of their own candidate for the Polish presidency, (who happens to be married into a powerful Russian family).

The Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia 1349

Galicia-Volhn was one of the divisions of Kievan Rus’, existing on what is now Western Ukraine. Its history is long and fascinating, and beyond the scope of this article.

It’s most famous capitol was Lvov, Ukraine’s most western city, considered to be very Polish. This Old Rus’ Kingdom actually extended into small parts of eastern Poland before their lands were seized and their identity was assimilated into Poland. A Heavy Polish-Catholic influence can been seen in Western Ukraine to this day – even the dialect is Polish influenced.

Jesuit Catholic Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Lvov

In 1349, despite attempts to obtain an alliance with Poland, the westernmost Kingdom of Rus’ was invaded by Poland, ending its independence. By 1362, Kiev was conquered by Lithuania, which lettered entered into a permanent union with Poland – Rzeczpospolita – The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Poland occupied Rus’ territories (including in modern Russia) for centuries, until the great reunification of Ukraine with Russia under Hetman Bogdan Khmelnitsky in 1652. Some western lands were still occupied centuries after that.

But that was so long ago…

I realize there will be people who refuse to accept the fact that Russia is a continuation of Rus’, and others will say those other examples are far too early. One could argue that citing 11th-century events as examples of Polish aggression towards Russia would be like considering the Norman Invasion in 1066 as French Aggression against England.

It remains immature and naive to think events that occurred in the past have no effect on the modern world. The formation of a nation happens over the course of hundreds of ages, as a result, today’s wars could be affected by events centuries ago. Most of today’s issues in Europe are largely the result of WW1 (which lead to the second), and many consider the Sykes-Picot Agreement to be a source of the Middle East woes to this very day. This is part of the reason why progressivist historiography goes wrong. The idea of endless progress aside, Human civilization does not go endlessly forward with the past becoming irrelevant, history proves in many ways, we are still fighting over the same basic things today as we were in the medieval period.

Nevertheless, Poland continued to attack Russia in the Early Modern Period.

The Time of Troubles 1593-1618

The time of troubles was…well…one of the worst periods in Russian history. It stands together with the Mongol Invasion/Tatar Yoke, The Bolshevik Revolution, and the Neo-Liberal invasion of the 1990’s. Poland invaded Russia and went as far as the Moscow Kremlin…they occupied the Moscow Kremlin, and for around a decade, it looked like Russia was about to collapse.

Prince Dmitri begged to lead an army to defend Russia against Poland

There were multiple imposters claiming to be Czar (The False Dmitris), a famine which practically killed a third of the country, and roving bands of pillaging marauders everywhere…it was a very, very, very bad time.

During the Polish Occupation, they imprisoned the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Homogenous, demanding he blessed the Polish Army. When he refused, the beat and starved the elderly monk to death in a dungeon.

The Polish King Sigismund, with the help of greedy Russian Boyars who betrayed the Motherland, made a claim to the Russian Throne, seeking to incorporate all of Russia into the commonwealth. Poland already occupied the Russian city of Smolensk prior to the conflict. The Polish invasion of Russia was so brutal, peaceful monks took part in the defense of Russia.

The conflict only ended when Prince Pozharsky and Citizen Kuzma Minin helped organize an army to retake the Kremlin, and to elect a new Czar. During the election, Prince Wladyslaw of Poland was considered a candidate, and Polish influence was still strong, however, Michael Romanov was elected instead, ending the Time of Troubles. A truce was signed in 1618, but Poland still occupied Smolensk, and when Wladyslaw was later crowned, he refused to relinquish his claim to the Russian throne.

Polish Soldiers murdering Ivan Susanin who lead them into the woods to save the Czar in Glinka’s famous opera “Life for the Czar”

The Smolensk War 1632-1634

The Smolensk War was essentially a continuation of the previous unresolved hostilities. Russia attempted to reclaim Smolensk from Poland. The result was simply the status quo prior to the war, in Poland’s favor. The Polish King did renounce his claim to the Russian throne, however.

Russo-Polish War (The War for Ukraine) 1654-1667

The first major Russian offensive against Poland happened during the Khmelnitsky uprising, when the Cossacks asked their Russian brothers for aid. The famous Polish book “With Fire and Sword” was set during this time period. The final sentence of the book perfectly describes the Polish-Russian conflict:

Hatred Grew the Hearts of Men and poisoned the blood of brotherly peoples.

You can read the book here in PDF form, or watch the Polish-Ukrainian movie with English subtitles:

Hetman Bogdan Zinovii Khmelnitsky, a Russian-Ukrainian hero lead the Cossacks of Zaporozhia in full rebellion against Poland who had been occupying them and depriving them of their rights for centuries. Polish nobles had largely supported the Union of Brest in 1595-96, which created the Uniate (Catholic) Church in Ukraine. The “Unia” was just as dangerous to Russian Orthodox culture, as Polish armies were to Russian lands. Many Orthodox Churches were confiscated and forced to become Catholic, more by local Catholic magnates than the Commonwealth itself, known for its strong religious freedoms, though they did little to prevent the forced conversions.

This first major Russian victory against Poland marked the first time Moscow actively attacked Poland. The First Russo-Polish war ultimately resulted in Russia reclaiming ancient Russian land like Smolensk and Kiev long occupied by Poland-Lithuania. It was hardly an offensive of Russia against the Polish heartlands. Before Russian armies ever set foot in Poland, Polish armies had conquered the westernmost Rus’ principality, and later sacked Moscow, after occupying Kiev for centuries.

Russia begins to expand

Poland began its steady decline after a series of foreign invasions. The Swedes destroyed hundreds of Polish cities and churches during the Deluge, and sacked Warsaw. No one today speaks of Swedish aggression against Poland. Between 1772-1795, Poland was partitioned thrice, and the final time, she ceased to exist as a state. While Russia did take a portion of Poland, the country was equally partitioned by Prussia and Habsburg Austrian Empire. Russia had been invaded by Poland numerous times prior to these tragic partitions.

The Patriotic War of 1812 (Napoleonic Wars)

A little-known fact is that Polish troops played a major role in Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, particularly at Smolensk. The fact that Russians and Polish-Lithuanian troops have been fighting for Smolensk since the Middle Ages proves the cyclical nature of human civilization. Poles fought for Napoleon with the hopes of the resurrection of Poland. The Polish national anthem even mentions how the nation will be reformed:

March, march, Dąbrowski,
From the Italian land to Poland.
Under your command
We shall rejoin the nation.
We’ll cross the Vistula, we’ll cross the Warta,
We shall be Polish.
Bonaparte has given us the example
Of how we should prevail.

Every Russian soul can understand what it means to fight for the survival of your Motherland, especially when its fellow Slavs fighting. This is just another example of the many times Polish troops spilled Russian blood during an invasion of Russia.

In Our Time

The details of the Great Patriotic War are worthy of their own articles, as volumes could be written about them. Regardless of how the war began, their fellow Slavs in the Red Army liberated Poland from Nazi Germany. Russian and Polish soldiers died fighting side by side in WW2.

In the photo above, Russian Marshal Zhukov and Polish Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky of the CCCP greet Marshal Montgomery in Berlin, after the Soviet Union won the war in 1945. Another famous Polish-Russian was the father of the Russian space program which put the first man in space, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.

Tsiolkovsky.jpg

If any Poles hold Soviet security services responsible for anti-polish actions, they should consider the founder of the first Soviet secret service was also Polish (Dzerzhinsky).

Despite all the conflicts, from a Russian perspective, one can consider the Polish peoples (not the governments) to be brothers.

Now, in a most cynical act, Poland has been demolishing red army memorials, an act which Russia considers highly Russophobic. Not all Poles agree with those moves, and a group of Polish activists has vowed to protect the monuments to their shared Slavic history, as RT covered in a great video.

In conclusion, history has revealed that the long history of conflict between Poland and Russia was initiated by Poland. Poland invaded Kiev in the 11th century, and occupied Ukraine until the 17th when they captured Moscow during Russia’s Time of Troubles. It was only after the 17th century did Russian soldiers ever set foot on Polish soil. Poland started historical conflicts, Russia merely reacted to them, and finally won, after taking heavy losses early on.

This is not to blame Poland, but rather to end the one-sided discussion of Russian-Polish history as if Russia is always the aggressor and Poland is an innocent victim. The time has long come to set aside the age-old conflicts.

Destroying Soviet monuments and crying about imaginary Russian aggression in the 21st century doesn’t help anyone but those who want Slavic peoples to continue fighting instead of uniting.

When the Polish Primer Minister speaks about the imaginary Russian threat to Poland, he fails to realize a greater and real threat is this endless hatred of Russia in Poland. The Russophobia is making it impossible to move on to friendly, normal relations.

The past is the past, both nations have invaded each other, and for the sake of Polish and Russian children, the hatred needs to end.

The conflict between the two Slavic peoples is best understood by the words of a famous Polish Author Henryk Sienkiewicz:

Hatred grew in the hearts of men and poisoned the blood of brotherly peoples. ~ Nienawiść wrosła w serca i zatruła krew pobratymczą ~ Ненависть вросла в сердца и отравила кровь двух братских народов. – With Fire and Sword

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High-ranking Ukrainian official reports on US interference in Ukraine

It is not usually the case that an American media outlet tells the truth about Ukraine, but it appears to have happened here.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Hill committed what may well have been a random act of journalism when it reported that Ukrainian Prosecutor General, Yuriy Lutsenko, told Hill.tv’s reporter John Solomon that the American ambassador to that country, Marie Yovanovitch, gave him a “do not prosecute” list at their first meeting.

Normally, all things Russia are covered by the American press as “bad”, and all things Ukraine are covered by the same as “good.” Yet this report reveals quite a bit about the nature of the deeply embedded US interests that are involved in Ukraine, and which also attempt to control and manipulate policy in the former Soviet republic.

The Hill’s piece continues (with our added emphases):

“Unfortunately, from the first meeting with the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, [Yovanovitch] gave me a list of people whom we should not prosecute,” Lutsenko, who took his post in 2016, told Hill.TV last week.

“My response of that is it is inadmissible. Nobody in this country, neither our president nor our parliament nor our ambassador, will stop me from prosecuting whether there is a crime,” he continued.

Indeed, the Prosecutor General appears to be a man of some principles. When this report was brought to the attention of the US State Department, the response was predictable:

The State Department called Lutsenko’s claim of receiving a do not prosecute list, “an outright fabrication.” 

“We have seen reports of the allegations,” a department spokesperson told Hill.TV. “The United States is not currently providing any assistance to the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), but did previously attempt to support fundamental justice sector reform, including in the PGO, in the aftermath of the 2014 Revolution of Dignity. When the political will for genuine reform by successive Prosecutors General proved lacking, we exercised our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer and redirected assistance to more productive projects.”

This is an amazing statement in itself. “Our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer”? Are Americans even aware that their country is spending their tax dollars in an effort to manipulate a foreign government in what can probably well be called a low-grade proxy war with the Russian Federation? Again, this appears to be a slip, as most American media do a fair job of maintaining the narrative that Ukraine is completely independent and that its actions regarding the United States and Russia are taken in complete freedom.

Hill.TV has reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine for comment.

Lutsenko also said that he has not received funds amounting to nearly $4 million that the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine was supposed to allocate to his office, saying that “the situation was actually rather strange” and pointing to the fact that the funds were designated, but “never received.”

“At that time we had a case for the embezzlement of the U.S. government technical assistance worth 4 million U.S. dollars, and in that regard, we had this dialogue,” he said. “At that time, [Yovanovitch] thought that our interviews of Ukrainian citizens, of Ukrainian civil servants, who were frequent visitors of the U.S. Embassy put a shadow on that anti-corruption policy.”

“Actually, we got the letter from the U.S. Embassy, from the ambassador, that the money that we are speaking about [was] under full control of the U.S. Embassy, and that the U.S. Embassy did not require our legal assessment of these facts,” he said. “The situation was actually rather strange because the funds we are talking about were designated for the prosecutor general’s office also and we told [them] we have never seen those, and the U.S. Embassy replied there was no problem.”

“The portion of the funds, namely 4.4 million U.S. dollars were designated and were foreseen for the recipient Prosecutor General’s office. But we have never received it,” he said.

Yovanovitch previously served as the U.S. ambassador to Armenia under former presidents Obama and George W. Bush, as well as ambassador to Kyrgyzstan under Bush. She also served as ambassador to Ukraine under Obama.

Former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who was at the time House Rules Committee chairman, voiced concerns about Yovanovitch in a letter to the State Department last year in which he said he had proof the ambassador had spoken of her “disdain” for the Trump administration.

This last sentence may be a way to try to narrow the scope of American interference in Ukraine down to the shenanigans of just a single person with a personal agenda. However, many who have followed the story of Ukraine and its surge in anti-Russian rhetoric, neo-Naziism, ultra-nationalism, and the most recent events surrounding the creation of a pseudo-Orthodox “church” full of Ukrainian nationalists and atheists as a vehicle to import “Western values” into a still extremely traditional and Christian land, know that there are fingerprints of the United States “deep state” embeds all over this situation.

It is somewhat surprising that so much that reveals the problem showed up in just one report. It will be interesting to see if this gets any follow-up in the US press.

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President Putin signs law blocking fake news, but the West makes more

Western media slams President Putin and his fake news law, accusing him of censorship, but an actual look at the law reveals some wisdom.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The TASS Russian News Agency reported on March 18th that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on a new law intended to block distorted or untrue information being reported as news. Promptly after he did so, Western news organizations began their attempt to “spin” this event as some sort of proof of “state censorship” in the oppressive sense of the old Soviet Union. In other words, a law designed to prevent fake news was used to create more fake news.

One of the lead publications is a news site that is itself ostensibly a “fake news” site. The Moscow Times tries to portray itself as a Russian publication that is conducted from within Russian borders. However, this site and paper is really a Western publication, run by a Dutch foundation located in the Netherlands. As such, the paper and the website associated have a distinctly pro-West slant in their reporting. Even Wikipedia noted this with this comment from their entry about the publication:

In the aftermath of the Ukrainian crisis, The Moscow Times was criticized by a number of journalists including Izvestia columnist Israel Shamir, who in December 2014 called it a “militant anti-Putin paper, a digest of the Western press with extreme bias in covering events in Russia”.[3] In October 2014 The Moscow Times made the decision to suspend online comments after an increase in offensive comments. The paper said it disabled comments for two reasons—it was an inconvenience for its readers as well as being a legal liability, because under Russian law websites are liable for all content, including user-generated content like comments.[14]

This bias is still notably present in what is left of the publication, which is now an online-only news source. This is some of what The Moscow Times had to say about the new fake news legislation:

The bills amending existing information laws overwhelmingly passed both chambers of Russian parliament in less than two months. Observers and some lawmakers have criticized the legislation for its vague language and potential to stifle free speech.

The legislation will establish punishments for spreading information that “exhibits blatant disrespect for the society, government, official government symbols, constitution or governmental bodies of Russia.”

Insulting state symbols and the authorities, including Putin, will carry a fine of up to 300,000 rubles and 15 days in jail for repeat offenses.

As is the case with other Russian laws, the fines are calculated based on whether the offender is a citizen, an official or a legal entity.

More than 100 journalists and public figures, including human rights activist Zoya Svetova and popular writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya, signed a petition opposing the laws, which they labeled “direct censorship.”

This piece does give a bit of explanation from Dmitry Peskov, showing that European countries also have strict laws governing fake news distribution. However, the Times made the point of pointing out the idea of “insulting governmental bodies of Russia… including Putin” to bolster their claim that this law amounts to real censorship of the press. It developed its point of view based on a very short article from Reuters which says even less about the legislation and how it works.

However, TASS goes into rather exhaustive detail about this law, and it also gives rather precise wording on the reason for the law’s passage, as well as how it is to be enforced. We include most of this text here, with emphases added:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law on blocking untrue and distorting information (fake news). The document was posted on the government’s legal information web portal.

The document supplements the list of information, the access to which may be restricted on the demand by Russia’s Prosecutor General or his deputies. In particular, it imposes a ban on “untrue publicly significant information disseminated in the media and in the Internet under the guise of true reports, which creates a threat to the life and (or) the health of citizens, property, a threat of the mass violation of public order and (or) public security, or the threat of impeding or halting the functioning of vital infrastructural facilities, transport or social infrastructure, credit institutions, energy, industrial or communications facilities.”

Pursuant to the document, in case of finding such materials in Internet resources registered in accordance with the Russian law on the mass media as an online media resource, Russia’s Prosecutor General or his deputies will request the media watchdog Roskomnadzor to restrict access to the corresponding websites.

Based on this request, Roskomnadzor will immediately notify the editorial board of the online media resource, which is in violation of the legislation, about the need to remove untrue information and the media resource will be required to delete such materials immediately. If the editorial board fails to take the necessary measures, Roskomnadzor will send communications operators “a demand to take measures to restrict access to the online resource.”

In case of deleting such untrue information, the website owner will notify Roskomnadzor thereof, following which the media watchdog will “hold a check into the authenticity of this notice” and immediately inform the communications operator about the resumption of the access to the information resource.
The conditions for the law are very specific, as are the penalties for breaking it. TASS continued:

Liability for breaching the law

Simultaneously, the Federation Council approved the associated law with amendments to Russia’s Code of Administrative Offences, which stipulates liability in the form of penalties of up to 1.5 million rubles (around $23,000) for the spread of untrue and distorting information.

The Code’s new article, “The Abuse of the Freedom of Mass Information,” stipulates liability for disseminating “deliberately untrue publicly significant information” in the media or in the Internet. The penalty will range from 30,000 rubles ($450) to 100,000 rubles ($1,520) for citizens, from 60,000 rubles ($915) to 200,000 rubles ($3,040) for officials and from 200,000 rubles to 500,000 rubles ($7,620) for corporate entities with the possible confiscation of the subject of the administrative offence.

Another element of offence imposes tighter liability for the cases when the publication of false publicly significant information has resulted in the deaths of people, has caused damage to the health or property, prompted the mass violation of public order and security or has caused disruption to the functioning of transport or social infrastructure facilities, communications, energy and industrial facilities and banks. In such instances, the fines will range from 300,000 rubles to 400,000 rubles ($6,090) for citizens, from 600,000 rubles to 900,000 rubles ($13,720) for officials, and from 1 million rubles to 1.5 million rubles for corporate entities.

While this legislation can be spun (and is) in the West as anti-free speech, one may also consider the damage that has taken place in the American government through a relentless attack of fake news from most US news outlets against President Trump. One of the most notable effects of this barrage has been to further degrade and destroy the US’ relationship with the Russian Federation, because even the Helsinki Summit was attacked so badly that the two leaders have not been able to get a second summit together.

While it is certainly a valued right of the American press to be unfettered by Congress, and while it is also certainly vital to criticize improper practices by government officials, the American news agencies have gone far past that, to deliberately dishonest attacks, based in innuendo and everything possible that was formerly only the province of gossip tabloid publications. The effort has been to defame the President, not to give proper or due criticism to his policies, nor credit. It can be properly stated that the American press has abused its freedom of late.

This level of abuse drew a very unusual comment from the US president, who wondered on Twitter about the possibility of creating a state-run media center in the US to counter fake news:

Politically correct for US audiences? No. But an astute point?

Definitely.

Freedom in anything also presumes that those with that freedom respect it, and further, that they respect and apply the principle that slandering people and institutions for one’s own personal, business or political gain is wrong. Implied in the US Constitution’s protection of the press is the notion that the press itself, as the rest of the country, is accountable to a much Higher Authority than the State. But when that Authority is rejected, as so much present evidence suggests, then freedom becomes the freedom to misbehave and to agitate. It appears largely within this context that the Russian law exists, based on the text given.

Further, by hitting dishonest media outlets in their pocketbook, rather than prison sentences, the law appears to be very smart in its message: “Do not lie. If you do, you will suffer where it counts most.”

Considering that news media’s purpose is to make money, this may actually be a very smart piece of legislation.

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US continues to try to corner Russia with silence on Nukes

Moscow continues to be patient in what appears to be an ever more lopsided, intentional stonewalling situation provoked by the Americans.

Seraphim Hanisch

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TASS reported on March 17th that despite Russian readiness to discuss the present problem of strategic weapons deployments and disarmament with its counterparts in the United States, the Americans have not offered Russia any proposals to conduct such talks.

The Kremlin has not yet received any particular proposals on the talks over issues of strategic stability and disarmament from Washington, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS on Sunday when commenting on the statement made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton who did not rule out that such talks could be held with Russia and China.

“No intelligible proposals has been received [from the US] so far,” Peskov said.

Earlier Bolton said in an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis aired on Sunday that he considers it reasonable to include China in the negotiation on those issues with Russia as well.

“China is building up its nuclear capacity now. It’s one of the reasons why we’re looking at strengthening our national missile defense system here in the United States. And it’s one reason why, if we’re going to have another arms control negotiation, for example, with the Russians, it may make sense to include China in that discussion as well,” he said.

Mr. Bolton’s sense about this particular aspect of any arms discussions is correct, as China was not formerly a player in geopolitical affairs the way it is now. The now all-but-scrapped Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, was a treaty concluded by the US and the USSR leaders Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, back in 1987. However, for in succeeding decades, most notably since the fall of the Soviet Union, the US has been gradually building up weaponry in what appears to be an attempt to create a ring around the Russian Federation, a situation which is understandably increasingly untenable to the Russian government.

Both sides have accused one another of violating this treaty, and the mutual violations and recriminations on top of a host of other (largely fabricated) allegations against the Russian government’s activities led US President Donald Trump to announce his nation’s withdrawal from the treaty, formally suspending it on 1 February. Russian President Vladimir Putin followed suit by suspending it the very next day.

The INF eliminated all of both nations’ land based ballistic and cruise missiles that had a range between 500 and 1000 kilometers (310-620 miles) and also those that had ranges between 1000 and 5500 km (620-3420 miles) and their launchers.

This meant that basically all the missiles on both sides were withdrawn from Europe’s eastern regions – in fact, much, if not most, of Europe was missile-free as the result of this treaty. That is no longer the case today, and both nations’ accusations have provoked re-development of much more advanced systems than ever before, especially true considering the Russian progress into hypersonic and nuclear powered weapons that offer unlimited range.

This situation generates great concern in Europe, such that the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on both Moscow and Washington to salvage the INF and extend the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, or the New START as it is known.

“I call on the parties to the INF Treaty to use the time remaining to engage in sincere dialogue on the various issues that have been raised. It is very important that this treaty is preserved,” Guterres said at a session of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Monday.

He stressed that the demise of that accord would make the world more insecure and unstable, which “will be keenly felt in Europe.” “We simply cannot afford to return to the unrestrained nuclear competition of the darkest days of the Cold War,” he said.

Guterres also urged the US and Russia to extend the START Treaty, which expires in 2021, and explore the possibility of further reducing their nuclear arsenals. “I also call on the United States and the Russian Federation to extend the so-called New START Treaty before it expires in 2021,” he said.

The UN chief recalled that the treaty “is the only international legal instrument limiting the size of the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals” and that its inspection provisions “represent important confidence-building measures that benefit the entire world.”

Guterres recalled that the bilateral arms control process between Russia and the US “has been one of the hallmarks of international security for fifty years.”

“Thanks to their efforts, global stockpiles of nuclear weapons are now less than one-sixth of what they were in 1985,” the UN secretary-general pointed out.

The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty) entered into force on February 5, 2011. The document stipulates that seven years after its entry into effect each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and strategic bombers. The new START Treaty obliges the parties to exchange information on the number of warheads and carriers twice a year.

The new START Treaty will remain in force during 10 years until 2021, unless superseded by a subsequent agreement. It may be extended for a period of no more than five years (that is, until 2026) upon the parties’ mutual consent. Moscow has repeatedly called on Washington not to delay the issue of extending the Treaty.

 

 

 

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The Duran Newsletter

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