Russia will not fall for US “provocations” and be dragged into an “expensive arms race,” a senior diplomat said. Washington had earlier test-fired a cruise missile that was banned under the now-defunct INF Treaty.
The Pentagon’s recent cruise missile test is “regretful” as it shows that “the US has clearly embarked on a path of inciting military tensions,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said.
Over the weekend, the US test-fired a ground-based cruise missile that hit a target more than 500km away. Such weapons would have been banned under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which outlawed all ground-based missiles with the range of 500km to 5,500km, as well as their launchers. Washington officially withdrew from the agreement earlier this month, citing alleged violations by Russia, and Moscow followed suit.
Ryabkov said that the new test by the US proves that it was actually the Pentagon that has been secretly violating the INF Treaty. “There can’t be more striking and obvious proof that the US has been developing such systems for a long time,” he told reporters, adding that Moscow will not jump the gun in response.
“We have been assuming this turn of events. We will not allow ourselves to be dragged into an expensive arms race.”
We don’t fall for provocations.
The diplomat reiterated that if Russia ever obtains missiles that were previously banned under the INF Treaty, it will not deploy them unless the US does so first.
During his trip to France on Monday, President Vladimir Putin had said that if short- and mid-range missile systems are “produced by the US,” Moscow will do the same. Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that Russia will deploy such missiles only if Washington does so in Europe or Asia-Pacific.
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