Neither the United States nor European countries have responded to Russia’s statements that it would not deploy intermediate-range missiles in those parts of the world which don’t have similar US weapons, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
"We have always been told that the Aegis systems cannot be used to launch ground-based intermediate-range missiles. The Aegis systems that have already been deployed in Europe, in Romania, will soon be deployed in Poland. They told us they could be used but then bang, and said the Aegis launching systems were used to fire to those intermediate-range missiles. If only they have waited a bit longer. It is obvious they cheated on us or sought to do that," Putin said at a plenary session of the Valdai international discussion club, TASS reports.
"Bearing this in mind, we said, I said immediately that we will do the same but pledge we will not deploy ground-based intermediate-range missiles, when we develop them, until US-made systems are deployed in these regions. I said it five times I think. No one has reacted, neither in the United States nor in Europe, so far. As though they have grown deaf," Putin added.
"I think that the fact that the United States test launched such an intermediate-range ground-based missile shortly after it had announced its withdrawal from the treaty means that it had been working on it for a long time. Such technological solutions cannot be accomplished in a couple of months. It means it had been working on it for at least several years," Putin said. "And as for the rest, they simply looked for a pretext and found it. I don’t think it was a right pretext because there were no grounds to accuse Russia of violating anything."
Missile deployment in Asia
The deployment of US intermediate-range missiles in Asia will entail a tit-for-tat response, which will only create new threats, the Russian president stressed.
"It is very bad because an adequate tit-for-tat response will inevitably follow," he said commenting on such a possibility. "Will it improve the situation in Asia? No, it will only worsen it, creating new threats. But I hope very much that until a final decision is taken, we do have certain possibilities to resolve this situation."
"We suddenly heard from US military that the first step in this direction [deploying intermediate-range nuclear forces] will be done just like in Asia. We are affected by this. It is important to understand where in Asia specifically and whether it will be able to reach the Russian territory. By the way, it becomes clear right away what the initial reason for withdrawing from the treaty was. It was not Russia or any mythical violations of the treaty by us. If they want to deploy forces in Asia, this means that Asia was the initial reason for withdrawing from the treaty. I think that experts understand this, no matter how much it was silenced by the media, as this is an obvious fact," Putin said.
On August 2, 2019, the United States formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987. It applied to deployed and non-deployed ground-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers). The US motivated its actions by Russia’s alleged refusal to comply with the American ultimatum-like demand that the new 9M729 cruise missiles be eliminated as violating the INF Treaty. Moscow vehemently dismissed all accusations, saying that the technical parameters of the 9M729 missiles are within the parameters allowed by the treaty and laid counterclaims to Washington.