Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov on Euro missile defense, our tanks and Mistral
Anatoly Antonov was appointed deputy defense minister in February of this year. Prior to that, he worked for more than 30 for years in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and since 2004 has been head of the Department for Security and Disarmament. He was the head of a number of Russian government delegations, including at negotiations with the G8 countries, as well as on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear weapons, on the review of the Conventions on “Inhuman” Weapons, on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, on the Prohibition of Biological Weapons, in negotiations on multilateral export control mechanisms. He was the head of the Russian delegation at the negotiations with the United States on the development of a new Treaty on Strategic Offensive Arms. He has the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Candidate of Economic Sciences.
The “reset” in relations between Russia and the United States has affected virtually all aspects of the international life of our country. Including on the relationship with NATO. The most important part of this relationship is military-technical and military cooperation. Anatoly Antonov, Deputy Defense Minister, told Litovkin’s Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Viktor Litovkin, about the successes and difficulties of such cooperation, the solution of the EuroPRO problem. This is his first interview for print media after being appointed to a new position.
- Anatoly Ivanovich, the first question you want to ask is obvious. How did it happen that a person appeared in the Ministry of Defense who deals with international cooperation? And why did you come from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Ministry of Defense?
- I would like to say at once that I am not engaged in international cooperation, but I am engaged, and I want to stress this, in international military and military-technical cooperation. Of course, this did not happen all of a sudden.
I know that Anatoly Eduardovich Serdyukov has long thought about strengthening this bloc in the ministry, given the fact that recently Russia's ties with various states in the military field are actively developing. This is connected primarily with the new look of our army, and with the problems of modernization of the armed forces, and with the development of military-technical cooperation. There are new challenges in the military sphere - the fight against terrorism, piracy, etc. The interaction within the CSTO and the CIS is intensified. Relations between Russia-NATO and Russia-EU were intensified.
I do not know how this will work out to me. We need additional impetus for international military cooperation. This required the support of diplomats who know firsthand international security issues. We must calmly and convincingly tell our foreign partners what the Russian Ministry of Defense is, what the reform is going on in our armed forces, why this modernization. How will it be, since we are talking about international military cooperation, look abroad? Will they understand who the Russian soldier is? Not the one who is caricatured in some Western films, but a modern fighter using modern weapons, who is ready to defend the national interests of his homeland, is ready with the soldiers of other states to look for answers to modern challenges and threats. Unfortunately, the number of such calls is not reduced.
Today we have military cooperation with 70 states. And all this economy should have, as they say, a manager. A person who has certain powers and who will coordinate all this work and build it up. We calculated, and it turned out that the year before last we had a military line with France on 16 joint activities, and this year - already 66. Moreover, these are not “excursions”, but specific measures in the field of combating terrorism, work on rescue at sea, interaction of fleets, the Ground Forces ...
- Again, "Mistral."
- Yes, Mistral. I gave you an example with France, because it so happened that we were there recently with Anatoly Eduardovich Serdyukov. He negotiated the "Mistral", visited the exhibition at Le Bourget. We are very interested in the modernization of the armed forces experience of other countries. Incidentally, I was instructed to make a presentation on the experience of reforming our armed forces at a meeting with NATO ambassadors on Sochi on July 4. On the part of NATO members, there was a great interest in this experience, in its results. It turned out that NATO colleagues would like to give a regular basis to conversations on this topic. They plan to continue contacts in Brussels, to get a more detailed idea of what is happening with us.
- That is, if you go back to the question that I asked, you have certain areas of military-technical cooperation. And I would like to understand which of them are the main ones?
- For us, all directions that are given to us by the Minister of Defense are major. Of course, I alone can not cope with them. Especially given the huge scale of the activities of our ministry. But we are trying to do our work according to the now known “one-stop” principle. Of course, I will not solve the problem of a foreign warship entering a port in our country. But to coordinate such work, to render assistance, to try to make it more effective, more operational - that is my task, which I am trying to accomplish together with my colleagues from the Main Directorate of International Military Cooperation. By the way, highly qualified specialists, real military diplomats and experts work there.
- One of these difficulties, as I imagine, is the relationship with NATO. And first of all on the issue of missile defense. What is the main thing in relations between Russia and NATO, our Ministry of Defense and the alliance, and what are the possibilities to solve the missile defense problem? The Lisbon summit of the Russia-NATO Council last fall gave, if I may say so, the go-ahead to solve this problem, even a deadline was set - June 2011 of the year. But neither in Brussels, 8 June, nor in Sochi, 4 July, the parties did not agree. Everything is postponed for the 2012 year, at the summit in May in Chicago. I understand that it’s too early to say that everything will turn out, but I want to hope.
- I would also like to hope that everything will work out. And of course, the results of the meeting in Sochi clearly show that there are problems between NATO and Russia. But I would like to emphasize that at the meeting with NATO ambassadors Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev clearly demonstrated Russia's attitude towards dialogue, the search for a compromise. Here it is necessary to specifically say, journalists, as a rule, “tail” of what I am talking about, for some reason, are omitted. A compromise is possible, but not at the expense of Russia's national interests, not at the expense of its defense capability.
And the problem of missile defense is very difficult. It has existed for several decades. I had to deal with it at the end of 90, when the Americans began to reconsider their attitude towards the ABM Treaty 1972. And then we prepared a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, tried to pull other countries to support this resolution. We managed to do it. The resolution was adopted by a majority vote, but the treaty could not be saved.
I want to emphasize that we do not want to attack anyone and we are not going to. All we want is to develop normal, predictable partnerships with everyone, be it NATO members or other countries. And we clearly said that. We are not going to either excessively or excessively build up our armed forces, or “hang over” anyone. Some countries, our neighbors, are afraid that our tanks will enter somewhere.
- Estonian Defense Minister Mart Laar, for example ...
- This is some kind of nonsense, in my opinion. And everyone forgets how much we have brought out our heavy equipment from the same northern flank area — tanks, infantry fighting vehicles ... And no one in the West paid attention to this. As we say: they took it, put it in their pockets and at the same time say: little, little, little ... Move farther and farther, better — beyond the Urals.
We have always stated that we are ready to cooperate with the United States, with the NATO countries on missile defense. But we want to determine what the basis of this cooperation. We must together determine which threats we will fight together. Also an example that I give. Here you come to some kind of site and are going to build a house. We need to understand what kind of a house it will be, what foundation it needs to be laid for, what the weather is like here, what kind of climate, what kind of house it should be - wooden or stone. We must first learn all this, and then build a house. And now NATO members are proposing to us to start building a house, not imagining what kind of foundation it needs, what the weather is like in these parts, what winter it will be like. This is the main problem.
We are told: you, Russians, will have no concerns if you cooperate with us. By transparency, we will remove all your doubts. And we answer: let's sit at the table and find out what the threats are, what threats we will create a missile defense system. To date, it is impossible to agree that such threats really exist. We are talking about potential threats. The Americans - and in this they convinced the NATO members - that there is a threat of a rocket attack, and in the future, possibly with the use of nuclear weapons. At the same time called Iran and North Korea. Let us suppose. I will not use the word "Iran", we will talk about the southern direction.
The simplest question arises, which I ask myself: why should X country hit Rome? Can anyone explain this to me?
“Especially if this country, X, sells half of the oil it produces to Europe.” Why should she fight with her best customers?
- Yes. You see, when I ask this question in Brussels, everyone smiles knowingly, nod in agreement and point a finger at the great neighbor from across the ocean. Like, he insisted that such a decision was made. But even though you don’t know what threats exist for you, we tell them: build your system, increase your security. But not at the expense of our security.
Imagine for a moment that the rocket is flying from the south. It will fly over the territory of the Russian Federation. For us all the same, what a rocket, we will shoot it down. It is foolish to think that we will not react to it.
- That we will let her pass so that she can fly to Europe. What if she falls on our land?
- Yes, this is some kind of nonsense. We must respond. But if this is so, if in the West they understand that we are sound people, then the question is: why are you extending the coverage of your missile defense system to the territory of the Russian Federation?
Today, the missile defense system that is being created may, rather, be capable of, respond to the ICBM of the Russian Federation. No one has such missiles that she can intercept in the 3 and 4 phases of the implementation of the US missile defense plan. And if this is so, if the threat to the United States is the Russian Federation, then, excuse me, what kind of partnership are we talking about? Then it turns out that we, sitting in these offices of the Ministry of Defense, should think how to make it so that ordinary people can quietly watch TV in the evenings and not worry about anything. That's all.
We proposed - Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev did it - let's distribute the sectors in Europe among themselves, and we will be responsible for your own, interact with you. The Americans say: we need to create some kind of joint center, conduct joint exercises - we are ready. But all we want is to get guarantees that the future US missile defense system will not be used to the detriment of the interests of the Russian Federation. But the question is: you Russians, what guarantee do you want to get?
We say: time is difficult, it’s no secret that there is a certain mistrust or lack of trust between NATO and Russia.
- It is on the subcortical level.
- It's not even that. We all know what happened to Yugoslavia. We know how the expansion of NATO occurs when they say that the threat comes from the south. I reply to NATO "friends": if the threat is from the south, then what are you always approaching my house? What kind of incomprehensible statements from some states that border on us that they feel threatened by the Russian Federation? What kind of fighters who patrol the line of contact between Russia and NATO?
- In the Baltics.
- What kind of terrorism is there? What kind of terrorism is fighting here?
- And the American nuclear bombs in Europe?
- This is a separate question. The topic of a special conversation. These bombs must be removed from Europe. But back to missile defense. We offer: put these guarantees on paper. And not just on paper. We do not want to be dependent on this or that President of the United States. There is Barack Obama, who treats us well and who has good relations with our president, Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev. But tomorrow another American president will come, and everything can change. And we want it to be law, that these guarantees exist regardless of who will be later in the palace on the Champs Elysees or in the White House. We want these to be legally binding agreements. That's all.
We want to know that if today we agree with you on potential threats from medium-range and shorter-range missiles, then the parameters of the missile defense system should be such that they reflect precisely this potential threat. This means that your antimissile should not catch up with the Russian ICBM, that it should have a speed limit. This means that the deployment of missile defense bases should not be close to the Russian ICBM bases. If you think that the threat is from the south, then place them in that direction. But they do not.
Another important point is that there is no NATO missile defense. I always emphasize this: we must speak honestly. There is an American segment of European missile defense. There is nothing else. Whoever and whatever is tying up somewhere is all bluff. NATO does not have such opportunities. When some industrial structures of Europe speak and push their governments to cooperate with the United States in the field of missile defense, hoping that they will get anti-missile technologies, this is also a delusion. Because American laws do not allow and do not intend to share such sensitive technologies with partners. Including Western Europe. Therefore, the question of what the American segment of the European missile defense system bears for Europe, in my opinion, is not fully calculated. I am not sure that the leaders of Western European states have fully calculated how this missile defense can affect European and global stability.
We say that after the START Treaty, on which we had to work a lot, we somehow with the Americans in Geneva identified a list of issues that need to be resolved in the near future. It is clear that in those conditions we solved only part of the problem. Nobody says that we solved all the problems of security and stability. And after we fulfilled the instructions of Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev and Barack Obama, we realized that there remains a huge field of problems, the first of which is the missile defense issue. The second, say, START in non-nuclear equipment, high-precision weapons. Next - the fate of weapons in space, will there be a weapon or not. And so on. These are the problems that we would like to discuss and which we would like to solve.
The key problem is the problem of missile defense, because the problem of the relationship between strategic offensive weapons and strategic defensive weapons remained the most acute until the last day of the signing of the new START Treaty. This link is fixed in the preamble of the treaty. It is a pity that today the Americans are trying to move away from this understanding. But sorry, this understanding was signed by our presidents, and the treaty was ratified, including by the Senate. And it is very strange when at the various negotiation platforms the Americans abandon this relationship. And for us it is principled. If you look at the treaty, it says that we recognize “the existence of a relationship between strategic offensive weapons and strategic defensive weapons, the increasing importance of this relationship in the process of reducing strategic nuclear weapons ...” That is, as the reduction of nuclear weapons decreases, .
- People from the street, as we, journalists, say, the question arises: if such difficulties in relations between us and the United States, with NATO, if they do not want to hear, do not respond to our concerns, why do we somehow agree with this, continue to cooperate with them in other matters? For example, in Afghanistan, helping them to transport their goods, people. Why do we not give them any ultimatums: we will continue to cooperate on Afghanistan if you do this and that?
- We proceed from the fact that today all the problems of strategic stability are interrelated. And, of course, possible solutions are achieved at different speeds. Today, for example, on the track of Afghanistan, we get interaction. In the other direction, things are not moving so fast. For example, we are negotiating an agreement on defense technologies with the Americans. They are conducted for a long time, and the success there is not as tangible as, say, on the track of Afghanistan. On missile defense, as you can see, so far nothing is working. The question of how you put it: whether it is necessary to link all this into a single “package”: for now, they say, you will not decide with me the issue of missile defense, we will not interact with you in anything.
I think it's wrong. Life, it is much richer, although, of course, we take into account all the circumstances. We consider the attitude to our proposals. I believe that there are areas of cooperation in which everything is going quite well with us, and they need to be developed. I think that this positive, which develops and accumulates and which can ultimately influence, convince Americans and NATO of the need to listen to the Russian proposals.
Whether such an understanding on missile defense will appear, I can’t say today, I don’t know. But I am deeply convinced that the conversation should be continued. We are thinking how to get out of this situation.
No one ever puts the question how you put it: white or black. We say that even the “sectoral” approach proposed by Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev is only one of the options, and not “cast in metal”. We are ready to discuss other proposals. If NATO has counter ideas, we are ready to listen to them. In the meantime, we are told only one thing: nothing terrible for you, let’s cooperate. Transparency will appear, and then you will realize that our missile defense system is “harmless”.
That was what we were told at the time of Bush, when the Americans were going to deploy GBI antimissiles in Poland. Like, there are all 10 interceptors will be. What, it will undermine your strategic stability? Of course, I do not want to use harsh words, but it is unreasonable to think that we are afraid of something there. This is the first. Secondly, it’s not about these 10 antimissiles, but for the first time since the end of the Cold War, despite the assurances of one and all that the era of confrontation is over, that we are now partners, a strategic potential of a military organization appears near the Russian borders, which can used against Russia. Moreover, today is 10 anti-missile, tomorrow is 100, and the day after tomorrow is 1000.
We have asked many times at the talks: how many rockets do you need? Well, two hundred. All right, we say, let it be three hundred, but let's fix it on paper. They: No, we do not want. Does that mean a thousand? Let's write down a thousand, I begin to laugh. No, they don't want that either. This means that they do not limit themselves in anything, and under certain conditions this anti-missile potential will be able to undercut the forces of strategic nuclear deterrence of Russia. And then we will have no choice, we will have to take reciprocal military-technical measures. I would not want to.
As Dmitry Anatolyevich said, there is still room for agreement. You spoke about Chicago right from the start. And who said that we are going to come to an agreement in Chicago?
- Rasmussen spoke about the summit of the Russia-NATO Council, where you can supposedly launch cooperation on missile defense.
- The issue of such a summit has not yet been resolved. We still have to see, we need it? Why fly there? For check? Just show that all is well, they say, do not worry. Americans, by the way, in many areas want to show that the process itself is good. And we are talking about what should be the result. Without a result, this “good” is impossible.
- There is one more question that is being debated in our newspaper - this is a problem with the implementation of the START Treaty. We passed the first inspections, and we had publications where the author criticizes our approach to their conduct.
- Yes I know.
- Our author believes that we are making some concessions to the Americans. Unjustified, from his point of view.
- I assure you, there are no concessions to the Americans in the contract, and real experts know this.
In the contract itself laid the mechanism, the conditions for its implementation. Nothing happened today to say that one of the parties violates certain provisions. Passed the first inspection. We have established a bilateral advisory commission, the DCC, in the course of which we exchanged data in accordance with the provisions of this agreement. They are published on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Department.
- On the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?
- Yes Yes.
- But nobody writes about it.
- Why write? You just need to take the Internet, click the mouse, go to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and see them there. There is nothing secret. If we gave these data to our “friends” -Americans, then why can't we communicate them to our public ?!
I would not say today how some colleagues write that someone is deceiving someone. Each party has its own obligations and perfectly understands all responsibility for the presentation of the completeness of the data.
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