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Russia will be ready, if the United States further aggravates the situation by deploying intermediate-range missiles, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Tuesday.
The senior Russian diplomat made this statement at a session of the State Duma (the lower house of the country’s parliament), which discussed the bill on suspending Russia’s participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
As the high-ranking diplomat stressed, Moscow will not be the first to deploy intermediate-range missiles wherever it may be, until Washington makes this move, TASS reports.
“I believe this is the highest manifestation of goodwill and responsibility on our part. We are keeping the powder dry and we will be ready, if the United States further destabilizes and escalates the situation,” the deputy foreign minister vowed.
On February 1, US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF deal starting February 2. Washington warned it would withdraw from the treaty in six months unless Moscow complied with certain terms allegedly related to this accord. Specifically, the US insists that Russia should eliminate its 9M729 ground-based cruise missile whose range, as Washington claims, exceeds the limit stipulated by the INF.
On February 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was also suspending the INF Treaty. He handed down instructions to refrain from initiating talks with Washington on the issue and stressed that the US needed to show readiness for an equal and substantive dialogue.
On February 5, Trump mentioned the possibility of negotiating "a different agreement - adding China and others."
The INF Treaty, signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987, 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). Washington on many occasions accused Russia of violating the Treaty, but Moscow strongly dismissed all accusations and expressed grievances concerning Washington’s non-compliance.