The possible redeployment of nuclear cruise missiles to Europe and other military steps mentioned by a US official over Russia’s alleged violation of a crucial arms control treaty won’t add to US security, but will increase tension, Moscow said.
Russia will not follow “American dictation” over the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Treaty (INF), which the two countries signed back in 1987, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Moscow expressed its “regret that Washington continues to follow such logic of confrontation” in handling its relations with Russia.
“With regards to the possible military steps, which the US officials have hinted at, they would only add tensions to the already very difficult situation. It would hardly strengthen the security of the US and its allies as it was discussed,” the statement said.
During a Senate hearing on Wednesday, the US Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Brian P. McKeon, said the Pentagon has developed a set of military measures to pressure Moscow on the issue.
“Our strategy has two potential ends,” McKeon said, as quoted by The New York Times. “First, we seek to convince Russia to return to compliance because we believe preserving the treaty is in our mutual security interest. If Russia doesn’t return to compliance, our end will be to ensure that Russia gains no significant military advantage from its violation.”
According to McKeon, those measures may include the deployment of new defenses against cruise missiles, exploring the possibility of the deployment of US ground-launched cruise missiles in Europe, and building up other military capabilities.
“We don’t have ground-launched cruise missiles in Europe now obviously because they’re prohibited by the treaty. But that would obviously be one option to explore,” he said.
Brian P. McKeon, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (Image from defense.gov)
The Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Rose Gottemoeller, said the US is also considering “economic measures” against Russia, but did not elaborate further.
Last week, the lower house of Congress passed a resolution urging President Obama “to hold the Russian Federation accountable for violations of its obligations” of the INF Treaty.
Washington says that Moscow developed a ground-launched cruise missile, which is in violation of the INF treaty. The treaty bans all intermediate-range missiles based on land.
US officials say the Russian military began testing the nuclear-capable missile back in 2008.
“To date, Russia has been unwilling to acknowledge its violation or address our concerns,”Gottemoeller said. “They have not acknowledged the missile.”
In July, when the accusations were first voiced, Russia said that the American claims are baseless, adding that it has complaints of its own about the US’s fulfillment of its obligations under the treaty.
Earlier this year, the US implemented several waves of sanctions and aborted cooperation with Moscow in a number of key areas over Russia’s alleged involvement in the Ukraine crisis.
The INF Treaty is a key agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union which put a seal on the Cold War era.
It eliminated nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with intermediate ranges, defined as between 500-5,500 kilometers (300-3,400 miles).
The two countries agreed to reduce their nuclear arsenals, eliminate an entire category of nuclear weapons, and conduct extensive on-site verification inspections. As a result, Moscow and Washington destroyed a total of 2,692 missiles.