US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien’s remarks that Washington is poised to deploy intermediate-and shorter-range missiles in Europe are not constructive as these steps might trigger a new missile crisis, Chairman of the Russian State Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee Leonid Slutsky told reporters on Wednesday.
"The White House’s statements about readiness to deploy US intermediate-and shorter-range missiles to Europe are far from being constructive," Slutsky said recalling that Russian President Vladimir Putin had earlier confirmed Moscow’s compliance with the moratorium on deployment of Russian missiles in the regions along the EU borders until US missiles appear there, TASS reports.
"And immediately, a more aggressive stance was voiced from the United States by Trump’s adviser," the committee’s chairman stated.
Slutsky pointed out that "Washington is inciting instability and creating a threat to global security."
"Those irresponsible and politicized steps, in case the US does opt for deploying their missiles to the territories of its European allies, are fraught with a new missile crisis," the member of the lower house of Russia’s parliament warned.
Speaking at a seminar in Washington’s Hudson Institute earlier in the day, O’Brien pointed out that if necessary, the US would deploy intermediate-and shorter-range ballistic missiles in Europe to deter Russia. According to O’Brien, the United States will take similar steps in the Indo-Pacific to deter China, which is not party to the treaty, and that had deployed thousands of its missiles to create "anti-access/area denial" to "keep our ships and our navy away from our allies in the region and out of China," he said.
On August 2, 2019 the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was terminated at the US initiative. Washington argued that Russia had refused to meet the US ultimatum-like demand for eliminating new generation cruise missiles 9M729, which the United States and its NATO allies see as a violation of the treaty. Moscow dismissed these charges, saying that the technical parameters of the 9M729 missile were within the INF Treaty’s permissible parameters and put forward its own counterclaims over Washington’s non-compliance, for instance, referring to the US missile defense system in Europe.
The US warned then that in accordance with Article 15 of the Treaty, the country will withdraw unless Russia meets their demands, which first and foremost included the destruction of 9M729 missiles. Moscow rejected Washington’s steps as absolutely unacceptable ultimatums. On August 2, 2019, the United States withdrew from the INF Treaty.
Nevertheless, John Bolton, who was the US national security adviser at the time, admitted later that Washington’s decision-making had been influenced also by the factor that China was not a party to the INF Treaty.
In September 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the leaders of several countries, including NATO member-states, with a proposal for imposing a moratorium on the deployment of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles in Europe and other regions. The United States consequently turned this initiative down.