On the issue of the denunciation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Part III
General characteristics of the INF Treaty and the current state of its implementation
The agreement between the USSR and the US on the elimination of their short-range and intermediate-range nuclear missiles, the INF Treaty, was finally signed on December 8, 1987 and came into force on June 1, 1988.
According to the INF Treaty, each party was to liquidate its land-based ballistic and cruise missiles of intermediate (from 1000 to 5500 km) and shorter (from 500 to 1000 km) distance within the first three years of the agreement’s conclusion. In addition, to such missiles were to be produced or tested. Along with missiles, their launch establishments, support equipment, deployment bases, deployment fields, operational bases, and missile support facilities were also subject to liquidation. The Soviet missiles subject to liquidation were those deployed in the nine Soviet republics: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Estonia, and also the GDR and Czechoslovakia. The American missiles slated for elimination were those on the territories of European NATO countries: Belgium, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany.
As a result of the USSR’s fulfillment of the agreement by June 1, 1991, 1846 missiles, including 889 intermediate-range ones (654 RAR-10, 149 R-12, 6 R-14, 80 RK-55 cruise missiles) and 957 short-range missiles (718 OTR-22 and 239 OTR-23) were liquidated.
For its part, the US liquidated 846 missiles, including 677 intermediate-range missiles (234 "Pershing-2" and 443 BGM-109G Tomahawk cruise missiles) and 169 short-range “Pershing-1A" missiles.
Among those liquidated were not only outdated pieces, but also, new freshly developed ones as well as those which did not necessarily match the terminological determination of a “missile.” The US destroyed 680 such missiles ("Pershing-2" and BGM-109G), and the USSR scrapped about 950 similar ones (RAR-10, RK-55 and OTR-23).
The INF Treaty provided for an unprecedented depth and coverage of control mechanisms. For the first time in practice of nuclear disarmament, inspection activities received legal registration.
With the aim of controlling the implementation of the agreement, each party had the right within 13 years of the moment of its introduction to inspect the territories of the other party and those of the countries of former deployments. The agreement provided for inspections on a constant basis of missile production objects, such as the Votkinsk machine-building plant in the USSR and the Hercules plant in the US in Magna, Utah.
Within the valid years of control, 442 inspections were carried out by the USSR and 774 by the US. The total number of experts involved in inspection work under the INF Treaty included approximately 7,000 people from the USSR (Russia) and 13,000 from the US.
Since the end-date of INF Treaty inspection activities on May 31, 2001, monitoring control is now carried out only by means of national, technical means of control and by way of exchanging notices.
The implementation of the INF Treaty demanded the establishment of special organizational structures which did not have previous analogues. In the USSR, the NCCNW was created, the National Center for the Reduction of Nuclear Danger, which is the center of exchanging information under the INF Treaty and has been designated as such under subsequent agreements. Within the Armed Forces of the USSR, additional units were formed for resolving the task of liquidating arms and ensuring the US’ inspections of the objects of the Armed Forces of the USSR. This was the Center for Managing Liquidation, later converted into the Center for Ensuring the Realization of Agreements (TSORD).
For assisting in the implementation of the INF Treaty, the Special Control Commission was also created which promotes questions related to the implementation of accepted obligations and coordinating measures viably necessary for increasing the efficiency of the agreement. The work of the commission developed necessary inspection procedures, solved legal and material questions, and handled mutual financial calculations. The most important work of the commission was considered to be observing the provisions of the treaty.
Twenty-nine sessions of this commission had been held until the last one in October 2003. The Commission has not convened again since then.
Special attention should necessarily be paid to the INF Treaty’s assignment of communication divisions in regards to the termination of the existence of the USSR as a subject of international law and the emergence of 15 new states on its former territory.
The United States upheld the position that, following the disintegration of the USSR, all states of the former union should become subject to the responsibilities of the USSR’s agreement to the treaty as a whole. An exception was made only for the Baltic states despite the fact that a significant amount of the objects subject to inspection according to the INF treaty were on the territories of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. In 1993, the American side officially states that it would not carry out inspections on the territories of these countries and does not consider them to be “assignees” of the USSR.
In 1992, a decision on the participation of the CIS states in the INF Treaty was signed by Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine.
According to this solution, the CIS states strove to carry out provisions of the INF Treaty with reference to their territory, taking into account their national interests, and taking the necessary measures of registering, with the assistance of the US, for the corresponding arrangement of the agreement. Such an agreement, however, was never signed, which leaves the former USSR’s assignees’ status still de jure undetermined in terms of the INF Treaty.
On the practical side of business (ensuring inspection activities and participating in the work of the Special Control Commission), Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan have acted as the de facto relevant assignee states of the USSR.
The INF Treaty is indefinite. However, any of the states involved as the right to sovereignty and to exit the agreement if it decides that, under exceptional circumstances, the contents of the agreement threaten their highest interests. In this case, the party wishing to annul the agreement has six months prior to its departure to notify the other parties of its decision. The notice must contain a statement on the exceptional circumstances which the notifying party considers to be threatening.