Moscow retaliate against Washington by suspending INF Treaty
Suspending Russia's compliance with the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (the INF Treaty) was a response to the U.S. decision to withdraw from the treaty, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told the Luxemburger Wort newspaper.
"Everyone will feel more at ease when all U.S. nuclear weapons return to U.S. territory, and infrastructure in Europe which allows to store, service and deploy those weapons, will be eliminated," Medvedev told the Luxemburger Wort newspaper ahead of his visit to Luxembourg.
Medvedev recalled that the United States, not Russia, decided to withdraw from the fundamental treaty in the sphere of global security - the International Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
"This is why the Russian president signed, as a reciprocal measure, a decree on suspending membership in the INF Treaty until the U.S. eliminates their own violations," TASS cited Medvedev as saying.
"We are not threatening anyone, and we are definitely not going to attack anyone or fight with anyone," Medvedev said. "Any attempts at nuclear blackmailing, in our opinion, exacerbate international tensions," the PM added.
Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree suspending Russia’s compliance with the INF Treaty until the U.S. addresses the violation of obligations under the Treaty or until the Treaty is terminated. On February 1, U.S. President Donald Trump announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF starting February 2.
The deputy head of the Council of the Russian Diplomats Association, Andrey Baklanov, speaking with the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, said that from now on, Russia's response to Washington’s actions will be more tough than it has been up to now. At the same time, he stressed that it's not just about relations with the United States, but also with NATO as a whole.
At the same time, he said that the actions of the United States had crossed a certain psychological line, after which Russia would begin to retaliate against all Washington's actions.
The diplomat noted that the destruction of the arms control system could potentially lead to armed conflict. "We need to take such steps that would affect the degree of vulnerability of the U.S. territory and the degree of vulnerability of the U.S. from a counterstrike from our country. Because this decision is legal in nature and could never go anywhere. But this is another signal that more serious military-political actions could follow," Andrey Baklanov concluded.
The President of the National Strategy Institute, Mikhail Remizov, said that Moscow's response was 100% expected by Washington. "Just because it was a symmetrical response. The Americans are quite ready for the consequences, in terms of understanding the consequences of their exit from the INF Treaty, in terms of the development of the corresponding systems in Russia," he explained.
According to the expert, suspending the agreement could lead to the destruction of the existing arms control system. "Since the non-proliferation regime was initially linked to the arms control and the program for compulsory phased disarmament, it will also have a bad effect on the non-proliferation regime. Another point is the increase in tensions in Europe and East Asia, where the likelihood of deployment of such systems increases. First of all, in East Asia," the president of the National Strategy Institute warned.
He added that Moscow's suspension of the INF Treaty would hardly force Washington to change its strategy. "In this case, it is an absolutely predictable reciprocal measure, which does not contain any novelty for the region," Mikhail Remizov concluded.