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Moscow sees deployment of US interceptor missiles in Romania as INF treaty violation

The launchers are similar to those US naval ships use to launch Tomahawk intermediate range cruise missiles
Command Center building at Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System, a military anti-ballistic missile defense facility at Deveselu EPA/KAY NIETFELD
Command Center building at Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System, a military anti-ballistic missile defense facility at Deveselu

MOSCOW, September 22. /TASS/. The deployment of interceptor missile launchers in Romania is a violation of the Intermediate Nuclear Force (INF) treaty, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryakov told Russia’s Public Chamber.

"The new feature of the situation in Europe is the deployment of interceptor missile launchers at the air defense base Deveselu, in Romania. In the longer term a similar project will be implemented in Poland. The launchers are similar to those US naval ships use to launch Tomahawk intermediate range cruise missiles," he said. "The emergence of such launchers on the ground is a direct violation of the INF treaty by the United States."

On May 12, speaking at the military base Deveselu (Olt county 180 kilometers away from the Romanian capital Bucharest) NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg officially declared the US missile defense system Aegis, deployed there, was fully operational. The next day the Polish community of Redzikowo saw an inaugural ceremony at the construction site of a future US missile defense base, scheduled to go operational in 2018.

"NATO is going ahead with the buildup of its anti-missile potential in Europe within the framework of the so-called phased adaptive approach," he said. "We’ve repeatedly expressed concern over the deployment of strategic infrastructure elements near our borders, which directly affects our security interests," Ryabkov said.

He described creation of a global US missile defense, including its European segment, as a destabilizing factor, because at a certain phase the so-called European missile defense may begin to cause adverse effects on the effectiveness of Russian strategic deterrence weapons. This point has not been achieved yet, but the potential of the US and NATO anti-missile shield will keep growing.

"We see as a rather telling sign Washington and Brussels remain reluctant to revise their anti-missile defense plans regardless of the agreements that settled tensions over the Iranian nuclear program. We will remain tightly engaged with the Europeans to promote their awareness of the inevitable undesirable consequences the US project will entail," Ryabkov said.

According to Ryabkov, Russia and NATO are knowingly distorting facts by saying Russia itself has allegedly wrapped up the dialogue on antimissile defense.

"Russia has been and remains open for a constructive and trust-based dialogue on the issue of missile defense. We are not only speaking about this, we have been acting respectively, including making proposals on concrete cooperation," the diplomat said.

US plans to deploy nuclear weapons in Europe

Moscow is concerned over Washington’s plans to deploy new nuclear bombs in Europe.

"The US plan to deploy in Europe new nuclear aerial bombs with reduced capacity but greater accuracy arouses serious concerns," the high-ranking diplomat said. Such bombs can be used not as a means of political containment but as weapons on the battleground, he added.

Ryabkov rejected the claims of Washington that Russia is more relying on nuclear weapons in its military planning. "The US clearly distorts the provisions of Russia’s military doctrine concerning the nuclear weapons," he said.

NATO forces at Russian borders

According to the diplomat, deployment of NATO forces near Russia’s borders would be in violation of the Founding Act on relations between NATO and Russia.

"We know about US plans to deploy additional forces in Europe close to the Russian borders, all this is sold as an initiative to bolster allies’ confidence," he said. "In fact, these plans will mean a buildup of NATO’s troops near our borders, and these plans are sold to us as not violating the Russia-NATO Founding Act," he went on.

However, it is planned that Alliance’s units will be rotating, while hardware will stay. "Thus, the demands of the Act to refrain from deploying sizable warfare means are violated," he said.

US, NATO don't plan to find areas of common interest with Moscow

Ryabkov has stressed that the US and NATO are not planning to find areas of common interest with Moscow at the moment.

"A discussion on the military and political situation in Europe and the causes of its deterioration is being held in various formats," Ryabkov said. "This is the OSCE and the dialogue in the format of the NATO-Russia Council which has gained some dynamics over the past months, and of course our bilateral contacts."

"During this discussion we are convinced that at this stage our opponents from the US and NATO don’t pursue the goal of finding the real areas of common interest," Ryabkov stressed.

"The containment, which is one of two key elements of NATOs’ policy towards Russia, is gaining its own dynamics while the openness to dialogue, according to our assessment, has a back-seat role," he said.

Conventional arms in Europe

Moscow is prepared to discuss with NATO the situation on the control over conventional weapons in Europe based on equality and taking into account mutual interests.

Ryabkov reminded that preparation for the possible talks on the issue was put on hold and instead of this NATO intensified accusations against Moscow over its suspended participation in the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE).

Russia has repeatedly called to renew the regime of control over conventional weapons in Europe and bring it in line with the current military and political reality on the continent, Ryabkov said.

"This is because the previous treaty is hopelessly outdated and returning to it is impossible," Ryabkov said. "The adapted version of it in 1999 finally did not enter into force."

One of the signals that the Europeans show interest in this is the article of German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier published in late August with the title "More Security for All in Europe: Re-launch of Arms Control," Ryabkov said.

Although Germany’s views on a number of aspects significantly differ from Russia’s assessments, "still we are breaking logjam," he said. "We will carefully watch how Germany’s call is answered by its allies "whose efforts led the dialogue on control over conventional weapons to a deadlock."

"As earlier we remain open to discuss issues of international security and stability based on equality and taking into account mutual interests," Ryabkov stressed.