The Kremlin yesterday said that Russia would be forced to respond in kind if the US began developing new missiles after quitting a landmark Cold War-era treaty.
US President Donald Trump on Saturday said that Washington would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (IFN) because Russia was violating the pact.
The treaty, signed by then-US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, required the elimination of short-range and intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles by both countries.
Photo: EPA-EFE / Russian Security Council
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov yesterday told reporters that the US move would make the world a more dangerous place and said Russia would be forced to act to restore the balance of military power if Washington quit the pact and started developing new missiles.
“This is a question of strategic security. Such measures can make the world more dangerous,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had repeatedly said that the demise of the treaty would force Russia to take specific steps to protect its own security, Peskov said.
“It means that the United States is not disguising, but is openly starting to develop these systems in the future, and if these systems are being developed, then actions are necessary from other countries, in this case Russia, to restore balance in this sphere,” Peskov said.
There was a six-month period for the US to withdraw from the treaty after Washington gave official notification it was leaving, he said, something he noted it had not yet done.
That meant the question of Russia developing its own new intermediate-range missiles — something Washington accuses it of doing anyway — was not “for today or tomorrow,” he said.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton was due to hold talks with senior officials in Moscow later yesterday and to meet Putin today.
Peskov said Trump’s announcement would obviously be a subject for discussion and that Moscow was looking for a detailed explanation for why Washington had decided to turn its back on the treaty.
Russia denied US accusations it had breached the treaty, Peskov said, alleging that the US had been steadily undermining it.
Meanwhile, China yesterday called on the US to “think twice” about its decision to ditch the IFN.
“It needs to be emphasized that it is completely wrong to bring up China when talking about withdrawal from the treaty,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying (華春瑩) said.
“Unilateral withdrawal will have a multitude of negative effects,” she told a regular news briefing in Beijing.
Additional reporting by AFP
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