US has put its allies in an extremely dangerous situation – Russian officials

US has put its allies in an extremely dangerous situation – Russian officials
The US’ suspension of its compliance with the INF Treaty means its de facto dismantling, Russian officials say, adding that Moscow is ready for this outcome but American allies may find themselves in a tight corner.

By declaring that it has suspended its participation in the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Washington merely “confirmed its determination to deal a final blow to yet another important pillar of the international arms control system,” said Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Russian Senate’s International Affairs Committee. He was commenting on a statement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

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Earlier on Friday, Pompeo announced that the US would suspend its participation in the INF Treaty for six months, accusing Russia of alleged violation and demanding that it destroys one of its missile types, which is still under development. Russia has repeatedly rejected all such accusations and, in turn, has also accused the US of violating the treaty.

The fact that the US opted for the “language of ultimatums” from the very beginning also shows that the decision on the withdrawal from the INF Treaty was taken by the US administration long ago, and Washington “never intended to reach an agreement” on the issue, Kosachev told journalists.

The senator said that the US and its NATO allies ignored all of Russia’s attempts to preserve the accord, both when Moscow initiated a discussion on the issue in the NATO-Russia Council, and when it staged a public presentation of the missile in question. “They cannot hear you if they do not want to,” Kosachev noted, adding that “Pompeo announced something that was decided long ago and nothing Russia could do would have changed it."

“I ‘congratulate’ the world: the US just made another step towards its destruction,” Kosachev said.

All the statements made by the US are nothing but a “bluff,” Frantz Klintsevich, a member of the Senate’s Defense and Security Committee told journalists, adding that even if Russia complied with Washington’s demands, it would likely just make new ones. The head of the Russian State Duma’s Defense Committee, Vladimir Shamanov, called the US statement a “cheap ultimatum.”

Such a development was expectable and Moscow is well prepared to face new challenges that are likely to arise following the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty, according to Russian officials. Moscow will not continue to comply with the accord unilaterally, Klintsevich added, but it will “respond” to the US actions without engaging in a new arms race.

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“We have many Soviet projects related to the short- and medium-range missiles,” the senator said, adding that their development “would not require significant investments.” Apart from that, Russia already possesses “unique systems” that cannot be effectively countered by the Americans, Alerksandr Sherin, the deputy head of the State Duma’s Defense Committee, said.

Even though the US withdrawal poses a “direct threat” to Russia, as Washington is likely to deploy its new missiles not only to Europe but also to the Middle East and Asia, Russia’s “modern weapons are enough to head off this threat under the new circumstances,” Senator Oleg Morozov said.

The US decision has put its own allies in Europe in a much more precarious situation, the Russian officials believe. “The Americans… put their allies in an extremely dangerous situation,” Vyacheslav Trubnikov, the former head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, noted, explaining that the European countries might become targets of the Russian weapons if the US decided to deploy their new missiles there.

Meanwhile, Moscow said it will continue to work with other countries to keep the situation under control and avoid any dangerous escalation. “We will closely cooperate with our European partners so that they do not let the American medium-range missiles be deployed to Europe,” Morozov said.

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