Anton Surikov, an expert with the Military, Strategic and Technological Research Centre of the Institute of the United States and Canada, told ITAR-TASS on Sunday that a test launch made at the White Sands range, New Mexico, last week within the framework of a "tactical" anti-ballistic missile system development programme makes the discussion of the main provisions of the 1972 ABM Treaty pointless.
The testing of a new ABM system shows the U.S. intention to make Russia face the fact of the development of new arms in circumvention of international agreements, he said.
According to the U.S. Department of Defence, the new system is capable of intercepting and destroying ballistic missiles with a range of 50 to 1,800 miles and may be deployed by the year 2000.
Commenting on the U.S. plans to build a "tactical ABM system" and change the ABM Treaty, Surikov pointed out that "these plans are in fact yet another attempt to push through the back door the old Reagan SDI [Strategic Defense Initiative] idea. That's why they pose a considerable threat to strategic stability in the world and provoke China and other `minor nuclear countries' to sharply build up their nuclear missile forces."
He believes that Russia should not agree to any changes in the ABM Treaty if they contradict its provisions which prohibit modernising tactical ABM systems in such a way that would make it possible to use them for strategic anti-missile defence.
"The parliament should state that any changes and amendments to the 1972 ABM Treaty ratified by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR should be submitted for ratification by the Federal Assembly. Otherwise Russia's national security may be seriously damaged," Surikov said.