WYOMING – As tensions between the US and Russia escalate over nuclear treaty issues, Wyoming delegates have taken strong positions urging President Trump to keep the nation’s security at the forefront of any decisions.
US Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyo., signed a letter led by US Senator Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., to President Trump urging him to consider the key factors that underpin the continued viability of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START).
In the letter, senators allege “the Russian Federation is in material breach of its arms control commitments…creating a disparity between the tactical nuclear weapons stockpiles of the Russian Federation and of the United States.”
The denunciation comes at a time when the Russian navy was involved in an act of aggression with Ukraine in the disputed Kerch Strait. With the START set to expire in 2021, US lawmakers are threatening to limit funds to extend the treaty unless drastic changes are made to it.
Earlier this week Barrasso put his name on a Senate Committee on Foreign Relations bill condemning Russia for its involvement in the Kerch Strait incident.
“We remain committed to funding the necessary resources for the US nuclear weapons modernization program and we support the rigorous review of continued viability of the New START the Administration is undertaking. We know you agree that arms control is not an end to itself; it is but a single tool that may be used to advance US national security when carefully considered,” the senators wrote.
FE Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne is home to the 90th Missile Wing, which is scheduled to receive new modernized strategic nuclear missiles to replace the older Minuteman III missiles as a result of US nuclear modernization.
Meanwhile, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, led a group of House colleagues in sending a letter to President Trump thanking him for his decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty.
“Russia continues to violate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a fact recognized by Administrations of both parties. In today’s security environment, that is an indefensible situation. The security of our nation requires that we fully develop capabilities to deter or, if necessary, defeat our adversaries. President Trump deserves tremendous credit for recognizing that, after several years of Russian violations, the INF Treaty no longer serves the national security interests of our nation,” Cheney said.