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Russia retains its right for tit-for-tat response to US missiles deployment, notes Lavrov

At the same time, Lavrov pointed out that Russia has never rejected any talks aimed at boosting strategic stability

ABU DHABI, March 6. /TASS/. Moscow reserves the right to deploy missiles in any region in response to Washington’s similar steps, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Lavrov cited Russian President Vladimir Putin saying that Moscow would respond in kind in the wake of the crisis around the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

"The [Russian] president emphasized that in case the United States, after quitting the treaty and consequently taking the shackles off, started deploying still banned missiles in any part of the world, and wherever these US-made missiles would appear, we would retain the right to do the same so that our missiles would appear in that very region," Lavrov said.

"It is not our choice. It is the choice of the United States which seems to be, mildly speaking, feeling discomfort from objective tendencies in the world’s development, when a new non-colonial, non-imperial, without any diktat and ultimatums system of international relations is being shaped up," he added.

Along with this, Lavrov pointed out that Russia has never rejected any talks aimed at boosting strategic stability.

"However, we will not be bothering our Western counterparts with this issue. They are aware of these proposals. Once they are mature enough, welcome," Lavrov concluded.

On February 1, US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that Washington would suspend its liabilities under the INF Treaty starting February 2 and would quit it within six months if Russia did not come into compliance with the agreement. Russian President Vladimir Putin responded in kind, saying that Moscow would suspend the Cold War-era treaty. Moreover, he told the ministers not to initiate disarmament talks with Washington, underscoring that the United States should become "mature enough" for equitable and meaningful dialogue.

The INF, or the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, Treaty was signed between the former Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987 and entered into force on June 1, 1988. In 1992, following the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the treaty became multilateral with the former Soviet republics - Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine - as successors. The INF Treaty covered deployed and non-deployed ground-based short-range missiles (from 500 to 1,000 kilometers) and intermediate-range missiles (from 1,000 to 5,500 kilometers).