The Russian army's chief of staff accused the West on Saturday of playing politics with European arms control and warned that the launch of US interceptor missiles could trigger a Russian missile strike.
"Western states have deliberately turned an agreement on European arms control into an instrument to achieve political aims" against Russia, General Yury Baluyevksy said at a press conference broadcast on state TV.
Russia on Wednesday walked away from the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, a key Cold War agreement that limits the stationing of troops and heavy weapons from the Atlantic coast to Russia's Ural mountains.
Baluyevsky criticized the NATO alliance's eastward expansion to the Russian border but said Russia had "no plans for massing troops" despite now having the freedom to do so after suspending its adherence to the treaty.
Russia said it pulled out of the CFE because of the failure of 26 NATO members to ratify the revised 1999 version of the treaty.
NATO countries have said they will only ratify if Moscow lives up to a pledge to pull its troops out of former Soviet republics Georgia and Moldova.
Russia's decision on the CFE treaty has raised a storm of protest from Western governments, with NATO calling the move "deplorable" and the US State Department saying Russia was "wrong."
Baluyevsky also criticized US plans to deploy interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic as part of a missile defense shield.
US offers made to Russia in negotiations over the missile defense shield were "unacceptable" and the US plans could not be interpreted in any other way than as being aimed against Russia, Baluyevsky said.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak reinforced that message at the press conference, saying that results of US-Russia consultations over the shield had been "disappointing."
Baluyevsky also warned that the launch of an interceptor missile by the US could trigger a Russian missile strike because it could be mistaken for a ballistic missile aimed at Russia.
"We are talking about the possibility of a retaliatory strike being triggered by the mistaken classification of an interceptor missile launch," he said, adding that Russia's defenses were controlled by an automatic system.
"If we assume that Iran does try to launch a missile against the United States ... then interceptor missiles from Poland would fly in the direction of Russia," he said.
"I don't mean to scare anyone, but this isn't a scare story ... It's a technical detail that could affect the military stability of the world," Baluyevsky said.
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
KEEN INTEREST: India is trying to procure medical gear from domestic producers and abroad, and China has emerged as a possible supplier as its factories reopen India is to buy ventilators and masks from China to help it deal with COVID-19, a government official said yesterday, even though some countries in Europe had complained about the quality of the equipment. India has recorded 1,251 cases of the coronavirus, with 32 deaths, but health experts said the country of 1.3 billion people could see a major surge in cases that could overwhelm its weak public health system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said that it was trying to procure medical gear, including masks and body coveralls, both from domestic firms and from countries such as South Korea and