‘No winners’ in INF collapse, but Russia ‘will never lose an arms race’ either – deputy FM
The US withdrawal from the INF treaty jeopardizes everyone’s security and may cause an arms race, but the US shouldn’t count on winning it, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told RT.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) officially expired on Friday, six months since the Trump administration announced it was withdrawing from it in February. The rash move left Russia no choice but to also abandon the landmark accord, which served as a cornerstone of European security since 1987.
The INF banned ground-based missiles with a range between 500km and 5,500km. By withdrawing from the treaty, “the US decided to untie itself from an arms control treaty that kept their capabilities in this area at zero level for decades,” Ryabkov said.
“No one will gain from the collapse of the INF,” he pointed out. “Everyone’s security will be in jeopardy.”Also on rt.com Bolton says ‘flawed’ New START treaty with Russia unlikely to last past 2021
He also shrugged off ambitious claims by US President Donald Trump about the superiority of American arms.
Russia will never lose in this arms race. We have shown earlier our ability to find cost effective answers to any challenges we face.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that it would make no sense to compete with the US in the number of missiles and that parity should instead be achieved by producing a limited number of state-of-the-art hardware that surpasses American capabilities.Also on rt.com US to develop new missiles as INF treaty expires – Pentagon
“Russia showed utmost responsibility regarding European and global security” by announcing a moratorium on fielding weapons that used to be banned under the INF until the US makes such a deployment anywhere in the world. Moscow hopes Washington will also follow the path of “restraint and responsibility.”
Whether there will be a new arms race or not, “the choice is in the US hands,” Ryabkov said. However, the Pentagon has already announced it would “pursue the development of… ground-launched conventional missiles” that were outlawed by the treaty.
Among other things, Washington justified its withdrawal from the INF by claiming that the Russian 9М729 cruise missile, mounted on launchers also used by Iskander-M ballistic systems, was produced and fielded in violation of it.
Ryabkov says the US never explained how it came to such a conclusion, adding that the short-range missile was never even tested at intermediate range.Also on rt.com Nice try, wrong missile: US botches propaganda video accusing Russia of INF violation
Moscow insists the American accusations were needed to distract attention from Washington's own non-compliance with the treaty, pointing out that American MK-41 launchers, which were deployed in Romania in 2016, can be used to fire mid-range Tomahawk cruise missiles, creating a real threat to Russia’s national security.
Ryabkov also warned that pulling out of the INF “is just one element of a series of similar efforts by the US to withdraw from international treaties, agreements and arrangements in the area of arms control and nonproliferation.”
“We should focus on keeping the rest of the international arms control architecture intact, first and foremost the so-called New START treaty on strategic nuclear weapons,” he added.
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