While major stakeholder nations have confirmed their attendance in the Nuclear Security Summit 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin maintained that he has no plans of showing up to the event.
The Nuclear Security Summit, which is slated on March 31-April 1, is a regular event initiated by US President Barack Obama in 2009. It’s a global effort, attended by world leaders, to discuss measures in examining the commitment of nations around the world toward nuclear security. Part of the Summit’s agenda is to encourage nations to abandon the militarization of its nuclear program and other nuclear systems that can be used in warfare.
The Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) has recognized Russia as part of the five-member nation group called the Nuclear Weapon Country (NWC), together with the US, China, France, and the United Kingdom, the Arms Control Association reported. The NPT is an agreement signed in 1968 between nations with nuclear capabilities to address the growing competition in showing off their nuclear muscles, which could escalate into a problematic level.
However, based on the latest confirmed attendees for this year’s Nuclear Security Summit released Tuesday, only Russia is missing among the five NWC. Weeks before the event, Mr. Putin, for the first time, will be ditching this year’s Summit, which will be hosted by Obama in Washington. Even weeks before the scheduled Summit, the Russian president has already said he has no plans of showing up this year.
Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, as reported by the Sputnik, said Mr. Putin’s decision to back out from attending the Summit was rooted on the ‘unacceptable’ interference by the event’s organizers on the structure of the program.
“While preparing for the 2016 summit, its organizers have changed the core conception of the event by suggesting to develop some sort of ‘punishment’ for the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, as well as for the UN, Interpol, and the Global Partnership,” Zakharova was quoted as saying by the Sputnik. This modification to the program, Zakharova said, did not sit well with Mr. Putin, thus, his decision to ditch this year’s Nuclear Security Summit.
As cited by the Arms Control Association, as of March 2015, Russia has 1, 582 strategic warheads deployed on 515 ICBMs, SLBMs and strategic bombers. The country also has an estimated several thousand non deployed strategic warheads and 2,000 tactical nuclear warheads the report added. Mr Putin also has in his government’s keeping a further 3,200 tactical warheads awaiting dismantlement.