MOSCOW, February 7. /TASS/. Russian diplomats and military will do everything possible to prevent the deployment of US missiles to the Baltic States, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said at a press conference on Thursday.
"I will make every possible effort to prevent it," he said. "I am sure that everyone who is somehow involved in our foreign policy, defense and security activities will work as a team to prevent a situation that would mean everything that was a cornerstone of European security for decades has perished," the senior Russian diplomat said.
Colonel General Viktor Yesin, an adviser to the Russian Strategic Missile Force commander and former Strategic Missile Force chief of staff, told TASS earlier that US intermediate-range ballistic missiles, should they be deployed to the Baltic countries, will be able to reach Moscow in three to four minutes. According to him, the time of arrival will depend on the type of missiles and their flight path. "The arrival time of Tomahawk missiles will be about an hour, while intermediate-range ballistic missiles will be able to reach Moscow in three to four minutes," Yesin said.
INF Treaty issue
The INF Treaty, signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987, took effect on June 1, 1988. It applied to deployed and non-deployed ground-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers). Washington on many occasions accused Russia of violating the Treaty but Moscow strongly dismissed all accusations and expressed grievances concerning Washington’s non-compliance.
On February 1, Trump and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF Treaty starting February 2. Washington is determined to withdraw from the Treaty in six months unless Russia returns to "real and verifiable" compliance.
On February 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was also suspending the Treaty. He handed down instructions to refrain from initiating talks with Washington on the issue and stressed that the US needed to show readiness for an equal and substantive dialogue.