Sergei Shoigu, Defense Minister of Russia, said Sunday that Russia will station new missiles in Europe or Asia only in case the US does it first, reported Reuters.
In an interview aired Sunday, Shoigu stated that despite Russia’s withdrawal from the Intermediate Nuclear Force Treaty with the US, the country has no plans to deploy new military equipment. “We will stick to that. Unless there are such systems in Europe (deployed by Washington), we won’t do anything there,” Shoigu said.
Washington and Moscow formally abandoned the INF treaty, which banned short and intermediate-range (500-5,500 km) land-based missiles, on August 2. Previously the US accused Russia of violating the treaty, yet Moscow denied the accusations. According to Shoigu, Moscow’s actions regarding INF have always been transparent.
“We have never refused dialogue; we had offered it from February to August. We showed our openness. We showed [the United States] the missile that caused doubt. The Americans did not come to us,” he said.
Shoigu also claimed that the US had included in its budget the funds for development of short and intermediate-range missiles long before its formal withdrawal from the INF Treaty.
“In fact, eight months, almost a year before this decision was made the US budget had included funds for the development of such missiles. These funds were approved, allocated, and aimed at starting the development of such missiles,” he said.
Last week Andrea Thompson, US State Department Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, said that the US was planning to deploy intermediate-range missiles in Asia. However, she noted that the final decision can be made “by the leaders of those governments.”
“Any decision made in the region will be done in consultation with our allies,” Thompson said. “This is not a US unilateral decision.”
Right now the US is considering installing new missies in Japan, South Korea and Australia. However, China has threatened to impose sanctions against any country that accepts American missiles.
US President Donald Trump claimed earlier that the US wanted to develop and sign a new treaty with Russia and China, yet China said it saw no grounds for entering into trilateral negotiations.
Natalia Veselnitskaya – official website