MOSCOW, March 11. /TASS/. Russia is not planning to be the first to deploy intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles to the regions not hosting similar US weapons, including to Europe, Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) Defense Committee Chairman Vladimir Shamanov told a briefing for military attaches on Monday.
Russia reserves the right to respond in kind in terms of development, production and deployment of intermediate-range and shorter-range ground-based missiles and Russian President Vladimir Putin had signed a decree on suspending Russia’s participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Shamanov recalled.
"But we are not planning to be the first to deploy these advanced weapons to the regions, including Europe, where there are no similar US systems," he said.
Shamanov also said that the breakdown of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty could signify the risk of returning to the Cold War for Europe.
"Anyway, the collapse of the treaty on medium-and shorter-range missiles could deal a severe blow to the international security and stability system. For Europe, that would mean the risk of returning to the worst times of the Cold War, while the Americans themselves will remain out of reach," Shamanov said.
According to Shamanov, the United States may deploy about 1,200 warheads excluded from the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty).
"Last year, the United States unilaterally excluded about 100 allegedly converted Trident II SLBM launchers on submarines, 41 B-52H bombers and four so-called training mines from the Treaty," he said. "They [the Americans] claimed to have converted them for non-nuclear use," Shamanov noted, adding that Russia was unable to verify that information.
"It is about no less than 1,200 warheads, this is serious," the senior Russian lawmaker pointed out.
The INF Treaty, signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987, took effect on June 1, 1988. It applies 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 had accused Russia of violating the accord, but Moscow vehemently dismissed all accusations and, in its turn, expressed grievances over Washington’s non-compliance.
On February 1, US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF 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 agreement. He handed down instructions to refrain from initiating talks with Washington on the issue and stressed that the US needed to show willingness for an equal and substantive dialogue.
Putin signed a decree suspending Moscow’s compliance with the Treaty on March 4.