MOSCOW, February 17. /TASS/. Russia is able to produce ground-based intermediate and shorter-range missiles within six month, should the US make steps on development, production and deployment of such missiles in third countries, says Russia’s Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security head Viktor Bondarev.
"Considering the equipment our factories have, the scientific potential our military institutes, design bureaus and companies have, we are able to fill this gap - the absence of ground-based intermediate and shorter range missiles - in the most minimal time span. We often visit the industry factories, we see their equipment. Of course we might be unable to create a new missile very fast, but it is possible to bring a missile to tests within six to twelve months, and then we will have [such] missile," Bondarev said.
He underscored that Russia currently has air defense systems, S-300 and S-400 in particular, so "it can defend itself."
The senator believes that the option to re-negotiate the INF Treaty persists. He did not rule out that other nations might join the new Treaty, as well.
"I advocate the re-negotiation of this Treaty - but of course, not on onerous conditions. It must be re-negotiated on conditions of equality, including counting all missiles in countries that have capacities to produce and deploy them, with further global control," the lawmaker said.
On August 2 last year, Washington unilaterally abandoned the INF Treaty, justifying their action by Russia’s refusal to fulfill their ultimatum to destroy the new 9M729 cruise missiles, which, according to Washington and NATO, violate the Treaty. Moscow denied these accusations, saying that the missile’s properties comply with the agreement, and expressed counter allegations against Washington. On August 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to observe further steps of the US on development, production and deployment of intermediate and shorter-range missiles, and begin full-scale development of such missiles, if needed. The President underscored that Moscow’s actions will only be reactive, and that Russia would not deploy its missiles until the US does the same.
On August 18, the US tested the newest Tomahawk missile version. This was the first US cruise missile test at a range, forbidden by the INF Treaty. On December 12, US Department of Defense conducted a flight test of a ground-based non-nuclear ballistic missile at Vandenberg Air Force base in California. US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper claimed at the time that Washington began work on the missile "after the US suspended its obligations on INF Treaty in February 2019."