MOSCOW, August 20. /TASS/. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told TASS on Tuesday that the fact that the Pentagon’s test of a cruise missile with a range that would have flouted the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is regrettable, and now Washington has set the course for increasing tensions.
"It is noteworthy that the test of an advanced Tomahawk-type missile was conducted just 16 days after the US withdrew from INF, and the treaty was terminated. Perhaps, there can be no clearer and more explicit confirmation of the fact that the United States has been developing such systems for a long time, and preparations for quitting the agreement included, in particular, the relevant research and development," he noted.
Ryabkov also pointed out that "the missile had been fired using the Mk41 vertical launching system." "That’s a universal launching system that is suitable for both firing SM-3 interceptor missiles and ground-to-ground and surface-to-surface cruise missiles," he specified.
"All that is regrettable. The United States has evidently set the course for fomenting military tensions," the senior diplomat stressed.
"We do not give into provocations. As Russian President [Vladimir Putin] said in France yesterday, we reiterate our commitment to a unilateral moratorium on deploying land-based intermediate-range systems until the US deploys such systems in some part of the world," he said.
On Monday, the Pentagon reported that the United States had tested a land-based cruise missile capable of hitting its target after flying more than 500 kilometers for the first time after Washington’s exit from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
Washington has repeatedly stated that it could conduct a flight test of a land-based cruise missile in late August. In mid-March, Pentagon officials explained that the issue at hand was the test of a Tomahawk missile at a range of about 1,000 kilometers.
In addition, the US Defense Department plans to test an intermediate-range land-based ballistic missile in November. According to the Pentagon, a completely new missile similar to the Pershing 2 will be tested. The US’ Pershing-II missiles were destroyed under the INF Treaty by 1991.