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US may deploy intermediate-and shorter-range missiles in Europe, says Russian diplomat

MOSCOW, May 18. /TASS/. The United States may start deploying land-based intermediate-and shorter-range missiles in Europe after their deployment in the Asia-Pacific region, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said during a video lecture for students of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) titled: "Essential Issues of US Foreign Policy."

After the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty ceased to exist, Russia proposed that Moscow and the United States with its allies agree on restraint in the future to avoid the escalation of tension, the Russian diplomat said.

"However, in their reply, they let us know that they did not intend to follow our example and would not introduce a moratorium on the deployment of their new missiles. By all indications, their corresponding test programs will be activated in the short term and subsequently such systems may begin to be deployed on the ground," Ryabkov said.

As the Russian diplomat pointed out, Washington has directly stated its intention to start deploying land-based intermediate-and shorter-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific region soon.

"After that, this process may begin in Europe. Therefore, we face a real prospect of the emergence of US land-based missile and nuclear weapons of the corresponding types in various regions of the world," the Russian diplomat said.

On August 2, 2019, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was officially terminated at the US initiative. The US claimed that its actions were provoked by Russia’s refusal to comply with the American ultimatum-like demand to eliminate the new 9M729 cruise missiles, which, as Washington and its NATO allies believe, violate the INF Treaty. Moscow rejected these accusations, saying that the technical parameters of the 9M729 missiles were within the characteristics allowed by the treaty and laying counterclaims to Washington.

In an interview with Fox News in July last year, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not rule out that Washington might deploy new intermediate-range missiles in Asia after withdrawing from the INF Treaty. US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson said on August 13 that Washington was discussing this possibility with its allies.