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MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry has requested explanations from the Pentagon over recent statements by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, to the effect the United States might deploy in Europe and Asia its cruise and ballistic missiles that might be targeted against Russia, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said.
"The Russian Defense Ministry is conducting scrupulous analysis of information regarding compliance with the INF treaty coming from different sources. Certainly, we took note of these publications in the Western press. In order to obtain official reaction from the American side we have dispatched a request through military-diplomatic channels for explanations of the Pentagon’s positions regarding statements reportedly made by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey.
"The measures mentioned by US sources would be tantamount to the United States’ walkout from the INF treaty," he added.
"We believe that the return of US intermediate and shorter range missiles to Europe and their deployment in other regions from where they might threaten Russia and other countries reluctant to follow instructions from Washington would cause a drastically negative impact on global security and stability. We cannot but feel worried about such prospects," Antonov said.
He recalled that the Russian Defense Ministry had more than once vowed commitment to the INF Treaty.
"We confirm that we are still prepared for a professional, competent discussion of all problems regarding the parties’ compliance with that treaty," he said.
Antonov recalled that Russia, too, had certain grievances over the United States’ observance of this treaty, and if the US side were determined to address the issue in earnest, "it should provide clear answers to Russia’s concerns over US violations of the treaty."
The Russian Defense Ministry, Antonov said, counted on an honest dialogue by experts, but specialists should be discussing not circumstantial evidence, hints or general speculations over "hypothetical violations," but specific facts.
"For the time being the US partners have not provided any to this day in defiance of our repeated requests," Antonov said.
According to last week's reports by Associated Press quoting unclassified extracts from a report by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey the deployment in Europe or Asia of ground-based missiles targeted at Russia’s nuclear potential was one of the likely responses to Russia’s alleged failure to fully comply with the INF treaty of 1987.
Moscow has repeatedly dismissed all US charges it had breached the terms of the INF treaty.
The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s non-proliferation and arms control department, Mikhail Ulyanov, described Washington’s claims as groundless.
"The United States refuses to provide facts to back up the charges. Or, which is more likely, it is unable to do that. One has the impression that the real aim is to discredit Russia and to make it look like a state that violates its international obligations," Ulyanov said.