If the US withdraws from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the countries hosting US missile systems will become a direct target for Russia. This statement was issued by the Chief of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov, according to Russian News Agency, Tass.
“Taking into consideration that official representatives of international military agencies are here today, I would like to send a message to your government that if the INF Treaty is violated, we won’t leave this unanswered,” Gerasimov said.
“As military professionals, you should understand that not the US directly, but the nations that are hosting US systems with intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles will become targets for Russia’s retaliatory actions,” Gerasimov said.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was signed by the United States and the USSR in 1987. In May this year, the US administration approved a military budget which proposes an annual embargo on the INF treaty. The big question is, what is urging the US to pull out of the decades-old old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty?
According to Gerasimov, Trump’s statement on the US plans to leave the INF Treaty will adversely affect global stability. “We view this as a very threatening step, which can negatively influence both European security and strategic stability in general,” Gerasimov stressed.
The general remarked that the US is placing the responsibility for violating the INF Treaty on Russia’s head, but the actual situation is very different. “The allegations against Russia are an effort to conceal the real situation.”
The real situation is that since 2000 Russia has been calling on Washington to stop the practice of using target-missiles, simulating ballistic missiles of intermediate and shorter range when testing the anti-ballistic missile system, what is prohibited by the treaty,” Gerasimov explained.
The US MK 41 vertical launching systems deployed to Romania and Poland can launch intermediate-range cruise missiles, what is a “direct violation” of commitments under the INF Treaty, he said. In late October, US President Donald Trump said that Washington would withdraw from the INF Treaty because Russia had allegedly violated it.
The INF deal was concluded on December 8, 1987, and took effect on June 1, 1988. It applies to deployed and non-deployed ground-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers). In recent years, Washington has repeatedly accused Russia of violating the treaty. Moscow strongly dismissed the accusations and voiced its own counterclaims against Washington’s non-compliance.
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