Germany Refused Putin’s Proposal for Missile Deployment Halt in Europe – How Will Russia Retaliate?

  • Putin expected to place S-400 and S-500 missiles in response to the denial.
  • France also denied Putin's proposal.
  • NATO issued its negative stance to Putin's proposal in August 2019.

Germany refused Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal for a moratorium on missile deployment in Europe. Putin had sent a proposal to the leaders of several countries this fall to introduce a moratorium on deploying intermediate-and shorter-range missiles in Europe. The intermediate-range missile is defined as ground-launched ballistic missiles (GLBM) or GLCM having a range between 1,000 km to 5,500 km. The shorter-range missile was defined as GLBMs or GLCMs with a range between 500 km and 1,000 km.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg asked for the denial on behalf of the alliance on August 2. However, Germany agreed to review the proposal and announced its final stance on November 28. Stoltenberg is a Norwegian politician who has been serving as the 13th Secretary General of NATO since 2014. French President Emmanuel Macron  confirmed France’s denial as well.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was officially terminated in this summer. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was an arms control treaty between the US and the Soviet Union, signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on December 8, 1987.

It is plausible to believe Putin will respond by strategically placing intermediate and shorter range missiles, as well as S-350, S-400 and new generation S- 500. The S-400 Triumf, previously known as the S-300PMU-3, is an anti-aircraft weapon system developed in the 1990s by Russia’s Almaz Central Design Bureau as an upgrade of the S-300 family. It has been in service with the Russian Armed Forces since 2007.

The S-500 Prometey, also known as 55R6M “Triumfator-M,” is a Russian surface-to-air missile/anti-ballistic missile system intended to replace the A-135 missile system currently in use, and supplement the S-400. The S-500 is under development by the Almaz-Antey Air Defense Concern. The system is expected to enter operation in 2020.  There is also a possibility of Russia using the SS-N-27 “Sizzler,” a Russian short-range ship-, and submarine-launched anti-ship missile. The Sizzler is part of the Kalibr family of missiles and has several export versions known as the ‘Klub’ missile series.

Russia’s strategic locations for missile systems are more than likely to be in Belarus, Crimea, Egypt, Syria and possibly even Austria (since that country is not part of NATO). Austria tends to remain neutral, that is why it is one of the neutral grounds used for spy swaps. US strategic locations could be Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechia, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova.

During the Soviet Era, the Red Army created a buffer using Eastern Block nations. Since the collapse, Russia easily could be facing US missiles positioned at its borders.

US president Donald Trump and his administration moved this week to cut the US contribution to NATO under a new formula proposed and agreed upon by the other members.  Previously, the US contributed 22% of the NATO direct budget. Under the new formula, the US will be contributing 16%. Overall, the NATO budget is close to $2.5 billion. The US contribution going forward will be $400 million.

Germany is the second largest contributor with 14%. Since Germany has direct interest based on the geographic location and proximity to Russia, it is possible Germany will increase its defense budget, in order to offset the possibility of Russia significantly increase its rocket positioning.

Putin recently announced the need for a new Russian Defense and Weapons Strategy for 2020, which should reflect Germany’s denial of the moratorium proposed on missile deployment in Europe. Putin will retaliate for certain and Russian strategy will reflect the denial since it gives the US carte blanche to proceed with missile system placements in Europe.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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