Putin: Russia to respond if U.S. exits INF Treaty
Russia is against the scrapping of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, but Moscow would be forced to respond if the United States exits the treaty, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, commenting on the ultimatum delivered by U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.
Putin noted that the United States had long ago decided to exit the treaty and was blaming Russia for violations in order for them to serve as a pretext.
"This means that the decision has long been made, but it has been made sneakily. They thought we wouldn't notice this, but this is already in the Pentagon's budget — the creation of these missiles. But only after it they announced publicly that they were leaving," the head of state stressed.
"As the next step, they started to think whom they could shuffle blame onto. Well, to say 'Russia is to blame' is the easiest and the most habitual thing for an ordinary Western person. This is not true, we are against the destruction of the treaty, but if it happens, we will react accordingly", Putin stressed.
Yesterday, Pompeo said after a meeting of the NATO member-states’ top diplomats in Brussels that Washington expected Moscow to return to compliance with the treaty within 60 days.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said earlier that Moscow answered all questions on the implementation of the INF Treaty posed by the U.S.
First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Vladimir Dzhabarov, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Russia's response to the U.S. exit from the INF Treaty will be production and deployment of intermediate-range nuclear forces.
"Once the Americans withdraw from this treaty, it means that they are trying to produce and deploy such missiles. Russia's response will depend on the place of their deployment - if Europe, then we will deploy our complexes at our western borders, and if Asia, it means that Russian missiles will be on the Asian territory of the Russian Federation. Since intermediate-range missiles are up to 5.5 thousand km, and short-range missiles are up to 1.5 thousand km, it's an approximate distance of our missiles from the American ones," he explained.
The senator stressed that the exit from the INF Treaty would jeopardize global security. "Any agreement that provides for maintaining the balance of power is very important, and the slightest changes to it will entail major consequences. At any moment there may be a hot head which will violate the status quo, and then uncontrollable development of events is likely," Vladimir Dzhabarov warned.