The United States refused to introduce a protocol to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) separating unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV) from cruise missiles, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Friday.
"The definition of land-based cruise missiles fully covered unmanned combat aerial vehicles [in the treaty]," the senior diplomat underlined. "Americans were telling us, 'stop playing the fool, you understand that the difference between a UCAV and a cruise missile is that a cruise missile has a one-way ticket, while a UCAV returns back to base after strike'," TASS reports.
Ryabkov recalled that back when the INF Treaty was signed, there were no UCAVs at all, they only started to be developed. "We were saying, 'No, you don’t play the fool, we understand this [the difference between cruise missiles and UCAVs — TASS] perfectly well'." However, we wanted to introduce relevant changes to the treaty — to draft a provision and add a protocol to the treaty, saying that the aerial vehicle definition does not include UCAVs since they are recoverable, they return to base. Americans did not want to do this, even though it would lift one of the concerns."
The INF Treaty was terminated on August 2 at the US initiative. The US said that its actions were provoked by Russia’s refusal to comply with the American ultimatum-like demand to eliminate the new 9M729 cruise missiles, which Washington and its NATO allies believe to violate the INF Treaty. Moscow has been rejecting these accusations, saying that the technical parameters of the 9M729 missiles are within the parameters allowed by the treaty and laying counterclaims to Washington.