Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty destroyed one of the fundamental documents regulating arms control.
“Instead of a thoughtful discussion of international security problems, the United States simply crossed out many years of efforts to reduce the likelihood of a large-scale military conflict, including the use of nuclear weapons,” Putin’s statement on the Kremlin’s unilateral US withdrawal from the INF Treaty says.
Member of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Sergey Tsekov in a commentary to RT explained that Moscow is trying to convey to the international community the danger of ending the INF Treaty.
“It was the United States that broke the treaty. The actions of Russia were forced. After the Americans withdraw from the treaty, the world will become more dangerous ... The United States pursues its goals under far-fetched occasions, ”Tsekov said.
First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs Dmitry Novikov told RT that the INF Treaty helped reduce the military threat and the risk of armed conflict. The liquidation of the agreement paves the way for an arms race and the formation of a “general climate of mistrust and suspicion on the world stage," the deputy noted.
In an interview with RT, a military political scientist, head of the Department of Political Science and Sociology of the REU named after G.V. Plekhanova Andrei Koshkin emphasized that the United States deliberately destroys the control mechanism of the nuclear missile arsenal.
“Today, the likelihood of a conflict, including nuclear, is gradually increasing. And this is a direct result of the demolition of global security architecture by Washington. The INF Treaty was not ideal, but it very effectively served as a deterrent to the arms race, did not allow the Americans to openly invest in the development of medium-range shorter-range missiles, and even less so, ”said Koshkin.
“We count on common sense”
On August 2, the United States completed the formal cancellation of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate and Shorter-Range Missiles. As Vladimir Putin noted, the INF Treaty "was written off by the American colleagues in the archive and remained only in history."
Vladimir Putin instructed the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, and the Foreign Intelligence Service to "observe in the most thorough manner" the actions of the United States aimed at the development, production and deployment of medium and shorter range missiles.
If Moscow receives reliable information about the development and production of medium and shorter-range missiles in the United States, it will take “mirror" decisions, Putin emphasized. He, in particular, said that Russia would be forced to begin "full-format development" of similar missile systems. Prior to their arming, the threats arising from the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty will be “reliably countered” by the X-101 and Dagger aviation missiles, the Caliber and Zircon marine missiles, the Russian leader said.
Anatoly Koshkin believes that today the Russian Defense Ministry is taking enough measures to deter the United States. In his opinion, the Russian army is consistently increasing combat power through the supply of the latest weapons, including hypersonic systems.
- Russian Security Council meeting
- RIA News
- © Mikhail Klimentyev
Nevertheless, the language of diplomacy remains a priority for Moscow. Vladimir Putin said that Russia does not intend to deploy ground-based complexes "in those regions and until medium-range and shorter-range US-made missiles are deployed there." According to the President of the Russian Federation, Moscow remains open for the resumption of full-fledged negotiations.
“Despite the incident, we nevertheless rely on common sense, on a sense of responsibility of American colleagues and their allies both to our peoples and to the entire international community,” the Russian president said.
On Monday, August 5, during a traditional briefing, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called the United States "grave-diggers of the INF Treaty."
Over the past five years, the United States has constantly accused Moscow of violating the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, concluded in 1987.
Most of Washington’s claims are related to the 9M729 ballistic missile of the Iskander-M mobile operational-tactical complex. On January 23, 2019, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation demonstrated the design features and characteristics of the “suspicious” ammunition, which indicate that its 9M729 range does not exceed 500 km, and this corresponds to the conditions of the INF Treaty.
However, the United States did not take into account the information provided by the Russian defense department. Washington demanded that Russia destroy the "forbidden" arsenal. In response, Moscow invited the Americans to dispose of the Mk 41 launchers, which can be used to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles.
Without pulling into an arms race
On August 3, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced that the Pentagon is considering deploying medium-range missiles in the Asian region. A day earlier, a document was published on the website of the US military department informing of the development of "mobile non-nuclear launch systems for ground-based cruise and ballistic missiles."
"Now that we have left (from the INF Treaty. - RT ), the Ministry of Defense will continue to fully develop these conventional (non-nuclear) ground-based missiles as a reasonable response to Russian actions and as part of a wider range of conventional joint strike options," - the document says.
Moscow has repeatedly stated that it does not intend to get involved in an arms race, but is ready to react in a mirror. One of these steps was the agreement of Vladimir Putin for the launch until the end of 2019 of research and development (R&D) to create ground-based hypersonic ballistic missiles and the ground version of the Caliber cruise missile. Corresponding adjustments will be made to the current state armament program without increasing the expenditure side.
“I agree with the proposals of the Ministry of Defense to begin work on the“ landing ”of the Caliber and to open a new direction - the creation of a medium-range hypersonic ground-based missile. At the same time, I want to draw your attention to the fact that we should not and will not get involved in an arms race that is costly for us, ”the Russian president said earlier.
- Rocket 9M729 in the exhibition pavilion of the Ministry of Defense
- RIA News
- © Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation
In an interview with RT, the head of the Bureau of Military-Political Analysis Alexander Mikhailov said that in recent years, the Russian defense industry has created a technological basis for an adequate response to military threats, including the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty.
“Our country has enough offensive and defensive systems to cool the ardor of any aggressor. But if the Americans start the production of weapons prohibited by the INF Treaty, we will respond in the same way. Russia will not ignore the US desire to deploy missiles in Europe or Asia. I think that we will respond to such actions at least in a mirror, ”Mikhailov said.
According to an interlocutor of RT, the United States tore up the INF Treaty, hoping to strengthen global influence, as well as get an instrument of military-political pressure on Moscow and Beijing.
“The actions of the United States are directed not only against Russia. Washington hopes to drag China into the negotiation process or get the opportunity to deploy medium- and shorter-range missiles near the PRC border. In some respects, the Americans can be understood - Beijing has a large arsenal of such missiles. But a one-way exit, the language of threats and ultimatums, is not a way of compromise. US policy leads to an increase in militaristic sentiments and a deterioration in international security, ”Mikhailov concluded.