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Russia preps for possible US deployment of intermediate-range missiles — senior diplomat

Russia will not deploy its intermediate-range ground missiles until American missiles of the same type emerge in certain regions, the diplomat pointed out

MOSCOW, July 11. /TASS/. Russia is beginning to prepare for a potential deployment of American intermediate-range ground missiles, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told a State Duma (lower chamber) session on ensuring strategic stability.

"We have done everything possible to preserve the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty)," the diplomat recalled. "However, our initiatives to address the concerns on both sides based on mutual transparency were rejected."

"Now, we are starting to gear up for a potential deployment of US intermediate-range ground missiles," he said. "The decisions on response measures are being implemented."

Nevertheless, Russia being a responsible country "is not interested in any new missile crises and, as Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out on February 2, will not deploy intermediate-range ground missiles until American missiles of the same type emerge in certain regions."

INF Treaty

The United States first voiced its allegations against Russia for violating the INF Treaty in July 2014. Moscow bluntly denies Washington’s accusations and lays the same counterclaims against the US. Moscow has also reiterated that the development of new generation cruise missiles began as a result of the US unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM or ABMT) in 2002. Moreover, Russia has repeatedly warned the US about the inevitability of a new arms race, back when Washington was only discussing exiting the ABMT.

In December 2018, the US sent an ultimatum to Russia, demanding that the new Russian 9M729 cruise missiles, which according to the US and NATO allies, violate the INF Treaty, be destroyed. Russia rejected these demands, saying that the technical parameters of 9M729 cruise missiles are complying with the norms stiplulated by the treaty. The United States and NATO countries ignored all the submitted information. On February 1, the US announced the official launch of the treaty termination procedure. The process will take six months, so the treaty will lose its force on August 2.

On February 2, President Putin announced that Russia was suspending its participation in the INF Treaty. On July 3, the Russian leader signed the corresponding law, approved earlier by the State Duma and the Federation Council.