MOSCOW, October 3. /TASS/. Moscow is keeping a close watch on a missile under development in the United States, which must be banned under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty due to its characteristics, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told TASS on Wednesday.
"The fact that the United States has launched R&D or, as we call it, research and development work on the missile, which if it is tested and even more so deployed, would be a direct breach of the treaty, and this is not news. This was outlined before and we are keeping a close eye on it," the senior Russian diplomat stressed.
"So far, this relates precisely to research and development work, which, strictly speaking, is not banned by the treaty. Meanwhile, all this is accompanied by rhetoric, in a sense, by a drumbeat, which creates an atmosphere of uncertainty and raises alarm bells to all those who are committed to the treaty, including ourselves, naturally because we are absolutely committed to the treaty and, as far as I understand, in other countries," Ryabkov said.
"If the United States has a different opinion on this score for some reason, then we would like to see the grounds for it to stick to such an opinion. And that is a major problem," the senior Russian diplomat noted.
Ryabkov earlier highlighted that the United States had launched R&D work on developing ground-based systems with ballistic and anti-ship cruise missiles having a stated range of 499 km, but also indicated its readiness to promptly build up their range, if necessary (the INF defines short-range missiles as those weapons having ranges of 500 to 1,000 km).