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Speech theses
Chief of the General Staff
Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
General of the Army Valery Gerasimov
at the IX Moscow Conference on International Security
“Strategic stability: transformation and prospects”

Ladies and gentlemen!

The victory of the anti-Hitler coalition in 1945 created the conditions for building a new world order, conflict-free development of relations between states. But the hopes of mankind for peaceful coexistence were not justified. The West’s decision to create NATO was the first step towards dividing the world into two warring camps. Humanity found itself embroiled in the Cold War.

The appearance of nuclear weapons in the United States and the USSR, as well as their use by the United States against Japan, demonstrated the danger of the transition of military confrontation between states into a hot phase. The prevention of nuclear war has become the dominant goal of strategic stability interaction between Moscow and Washington.

As a result, arms control agreements were signed that ensured the predictability of defense policy and also limited the nuclear arms race. These include: the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems, the Treaty on Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and, as an element of its verification, the Open Skies Treaty.

A series of agreements on the limitation and control of strategic offensive arms was also signed.

The collapse of the Soviet Union led to a change in the views of the collective West on global security issues. For him, the priority in the new conditions was the formation of a unipolar world, the achievement of superiority in the military sphere and the use of military force to advance his own interests. An example of such a policy was the armed conflicts in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and also in Syria.

Washington’s desire to remove any restrictions on the development of weapons was manifested in the fact that, under far-fetched pretexts, the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002, the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles in 2019, and from the Open Skies Treaty in 2020. … The modernized Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe was not ratified by European countries, which made it unviable.

At the same time, these agreements created the basis for a system of arms control and confidence-building measures in the military field, and proved in practice their relevance and effectiveness.

To date, the only international agreement to maintain strategic stability in the area of ​​arms control remains the Treaty on Measures to Further Reduce and Limit Strategic Offensive Arms, the so-called START III Treaty.

After an extension for another five years, the situation around this agreement has generally stabilized.

It should be emphasized that the Russian Federation and the United States have shown an equal desire to prolong it. Both states are interested in predictability in the development of the nuclear forces of the other side. The presence of control measures ensures such predictability. The extension of the Treaty, in addition, creates conditions for the continuation of the dialogue on the future nuclear arms control mechanism, taking into account the new factors that determine strategic stability.

One of these factors is the creation of promising weapons, primarily high-precision, hypersonic and kinetic weapons, as well as unmanned strike systems, which, in general, blurs the line between the potentials of nuclear and non-nuclear weapons.

The trend towards increasing the role of nuclear weapons in a conflict using conventional weapons is enshrined in the so-called US nuclear doctrine, adopted in 2018.

Under these conditions, nuclear deterrence remains an important element of strategic stability. With the help of this tool, security has been ensured over the past decades, sometimes in severe crisis situations.

The official views of Russia in this area are detailed and publicly announced in 2020 in the “Fundamentals of the State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Field of Nuclear Deterrence”. This document, like the Military Doctrine, does not secure the status of a military adversary of Russia to any of the states in the world.

The Fundamentals confirm the position of the Military Doctrine that the nuclear policy of our country is purely defensive in nature. The Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it or its allies, as well as in the event of aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons, when the very existence of the state is threatened.

Against the backdrop of the collapse of the arms control system, the Alliance is taking steps to move NATO infrastructure towards the borders of the Russian Federation. The priority was the deployment of advanced formations on the territory of the new members of the alliance. At first it was a mission to protect the airspace. Today, forward-based forces, along with aviation, include formations of ground forces.

In Eastern Europe on a permanent basis there are subdivisions of the non-regional states of the bloc with a total number of about 10 thousand people. It has been announced that the number of advanced NATO forces, including the contingent of American troops, will increase along the western borders of Russia. This is evidenced by the 2020 agreement between Washington and Warsaw, which provides for the additional deployment of command and control bodies, support units, special operations forces, and army aviation on Polish territory.

The practice of creating advanced military groupings to enhance its influence is used by the United States not only in Europe, but also in other regions of the world, including the Asia-Pacific region.

The issue of missile defense is acquiring great importance for international security. Defense Minister Sergei Kuzhugetovich Shoigu has already spoken about this. The ABM factor has a direct impact on the arms race, nuclear disarmament and strategic stability.

At present, elements of the American missile defense system have already been deployed in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Their build-up continues through the creation of a ground-based missile defense system in Poland, and the provision of anti-missile capabilities to NATO and Japanese ships.

The Russian Federation has repeatedly raised the issue of preventing the deployment of the US global missile defense system near our border, since this system is a significant destabilizing factor. The need to reduce the negative impact of US missile defense on Russia’s military security required the development of means to neutralize this threat.

The strike potential of the global missile defense cannot be ignored either.

For the application of the sea-based cruise missile “Tomahok” with a launch range of up to 2400 km, universal launchers MK-41 can be used, which are part of the Aegis Ashor anti-missile systems deployed in Romania, and in the future also in Poland.

Taking into account the existing technological groundwork created during the period of the INF Treaty, Washington has begun to create medium-range missiles that can be deployed in Europe and Asia.

If such missiles are deployed in Europe, the United States will create an additional threat to facilities on Russian territory.

The activity of the NATO naval forces near our borders has significantly increased. Ships equipped with high-precision long-range missiles operate on an almost permanent basis in the Black and Baltic Seas, and reconnaissance, patrol and strike aircraft, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles, fly.

The actions of US ships and their allies are clearly provocative.

On October 13 last year, the destroyer URO “Dragon” of the British Navy, making a transition with the weapons control and air target detection radar stations turned on, violated the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea of ​​the Russian Federation 22 km west of Sevastopol.

On November 24, the US Navy URO destroyer John McCain violated the state border of the Russian Federation in the northwestern part of the Sea of ​​Japan on the approaches to Peter the Great Bay (93 km south of Vladivostok), deepening more than 2 km into the Russian territorial sea.

Thus, the preconditions for the occurrence of incidents are created, which do not help to reduce tensions in the military field.

Another new factor affecting strategic stability is the expansion of military areas of operations caused by climate change. Among them is the Arctic zone. At the same time, a typical trend today is the involvement of the Arctic in economic activity and, as a result, attempts by individual states to revise the established practice of ensuring the security of the region.

In addition to increasing interest in the resources and communications of the Arctic, there is an intensification of the naval activities of regional and non-regional states, as well as a multiple increase in military exercises near our borders.

In the Russian Arctic, there is the shortest sea communication between Europe and Asia – the Northern Sea Route. The Russian Federation has everything it needs to ensure the safety of navigation in difficult ice conditions, as well as to protect the Arctic ecosystem.

Confrontation in the information space is escalating. Western countries ranked it as a new sphere of warfare.

Information technology is used as a weapon to damage critical facilities and infrastructures of states.

The Russian Federation has consistently advocated the prevention of conflicts in the information sphere and the development of cooperation in the field of international information security.

Interstate dialogue is gaining great importance in order to develop approaches to the establishment of an international legal regime under the auspices of the UN, under which conditions are created for the prevention and settlement of conflicts in the global information space.

We are actively pursuing this work within the framework of the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, BRICS and the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation stands for the openness of interstate relations, the development and implementation of rules for responsible behavior of states and confidence-building measures in the information sphere.

The fight against international terrorism continues in Syria and Iraq. ISIS formations have been largely defeated. At the same time, there is a transit of terrorists from the Middle East to North Africa and Afghanistan. We note that a number of non-governmental organizations, as well as special services of a number of states, are involved in financing and arming terrorist organizations in order to achieve their political goals.

At the same time, practice shows that flirting with terrorists does not lead to good results. Sooner or later, terrorist groups get out of the control of their curators. A decent rebuff to terrorists can only be given with close international coordination.

Dear Colleagues!

The situation in the world clearly demonstrates that the time of the sole domination of individual states has passed.

The number of states with significant military economic potential is increasing, without which today it is impossible to solve regional and world problems. These include Brazil, India, China, Russia, the United States, the countries of the European Union and other states that are centers of power on a global and regional scale. Their number will only increase.

Today, the content of strategic stability is becoming more saturated and complex, and the state is becoming less manageable and subject to various kinds of randomness. controlling escalation and preventing military clashes, especially between nuclear powers, has become much more difficult.

We believe that the preservation of strategic stability will be facilitated by the prevention of an arms race and the development of confidence-building measures and transparency.

It is in our common interests to continue work on a peaceful political and diplomatic settlement of regional conflicts and crises, and to ensure strategic stability.

In the interests of preventing unintentional military conflicts, it is necessary to establish and improve interstate channels of communication and communication along the military line, which would work in a permanent mode as a mechanism for de-escalation.

At the same time, we will continue to make efforts to strengthen the existing nuclear non-proliferation regime and prevent a further increase in the number of countries possessing this type of weapons. We remain committed to compliance with the provisions of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Along with this, we believe it is necessary to stop the destruction of the existing arms control system. First of all, close attention should be paid to compliance with existing agreements in this area.

In the future, in our opinion, it is necessary to improve the mechanisms for ensuring strategic stability, giving them a multilateral character.

In the current difficult conditions, it is important for all countries to show political will, wisdom and foresight.

Realizing this responsibility, Russia proposed to convene a summit of countries that bear the greatest responsibility for the preservation of peace. Its goal is to reaffirm the key principles of conduct in international affairs, to work out ways to effectively solve the most pressing problems of our time.

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation is ready for substantive discussions on strengthening strategic stability with all states on an equal and respectful basis.

Our conference is a good platform for dialogue.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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