Russia claims it may be forced to deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov meets US special envoy Marshall Billingslea in Vienna
FILE PHOTO: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov arrives for a meeting with US special envoy Marshall Billingslea in Vienna, Austria June 22, 2020. REUTERS / Leonhard Foeger

December 13, 2021

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia said on Monday that it may be forced to deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe in response to what it sees as a NATO plan to do the same.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russia’s RIA news agency in an interview that Moscow would have to take this step if NATO refused to step in to prevent such an escalation.

His comments add to the strength of the East-West rivalry, in which Russia is demanding security guarantees from the West while the United States and its allies are warning Moscow to back down from what they see as a “smear” position. possible invasion of Ukraine – which Ryabkov again denies. Russia’s intention.

Intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) in Europe were banned under a 1987 treaty agreed between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US President Ronald Reagan in what was hailed at the time as a measure ease Cold War tensions. Washington abandoned the treaty in 2019 after complaining for years about Russian violations.

Ryabkov said there were “indirect signs” that NATO was moving closer to redeployment of the INF, including last month’s restoration of 56th Artillery Command, which operates Pershing missiles capable of nuclear capabilities during the Cold War.

‘Complete Lack of TRUST’

“The lack of progress towards a political and diplomatic solution to this issue will lead to our response being of a military and technical-military nature,” he said.

“That is, it will be confrontation, this will be the next round, the appearance of such resources on our side. Currently without any, we have a unilateral ban. We call on NATO and the US to join this ban.”

NATO says there will be no new US missiles in Europe and it is ready to stop new Russian missiles with a “measured” response involving only conventional weapons.

But Ryabkov said that Russia “completely lacks confidence” in NATO.

“They don’t allow themselves to do anything that would somehow enhance our security – they believe they can act when they need to, to their advantage, and we simply have to. swallow all this and solve it. This will not continue. ”

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden held two hours of talks last week about the Ukraine crisis and Moscow’s demand for what it calls legally binding security guarantees. from the West.

Ryabkov said Russia will present its further proposals to the United States, and possibly to other NATO countries, in the coming weeks. However, Putin’s spokesman said he expected Russian ideas to be presented this week.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova and Alexander Marrow; writing by Mark Trevelyan; editing by Andrew Heavens) Russia claims it may be forced to deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe


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