The U.S. authorities' claims accusing Russia of breaking the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty are groundless and act as an element of Washington's information warfare, the senior vice-president of Russia's Center for Political Studies (PIR-Center), Lt. Gen. Yevgeny Buzhinsky, has said.
"It is a long story. If I am not mistaken, it dates back to 2009. It centers on our mobile missile system Topol. The Americans detected somewhere that it was tested within a range that was allegedly shorter than the 5,500-kilometer range permitted by the INF Treaty. But the thing is that Topol was even earlier tested within its maximum range - more than 9,000 kilometers, which confirms that it belongs to the class of intercontinental ballistic missile and that it is not an intermediate-range missile," said Buzhinsky, who headed the International Treaty Directorate of the Russian Defense Ministry's Main Department for International Military Cooperation in 2002-2009.
At that time the United States was offered an official explanation within an INF institution in charge of responding to the sides' complaints, he said, adding that the Americans found this explanation satisfactory and the matter was closed.
"But now that the information warfare is being waged against Russia, these old accusations have been revisited," the expert said.
Moscow also has complaints about Washington's compliance with the INF Treaty, he said.
"Instead of destroying the stages of its intercontinental ballistic missile, a requirement set by our agreements, the U.S. has been using them as the targets for interceptor missiles, which is prohibited by the INF Treaty. But the Americans have rejected these complaints," the general said.
When asked whether or not the INF Treaty meets Russia's interests in today's realities, Buzhinsky said that specialists are divided over this matter.
"Today many countries, including our nearest neighbors, have a large stockpile of small- and intermediate-range missiles. The U.S. and Russia, however, assumed mutual obligations not to have such missiles. Some experts doubt the advisability of these measures. On the other hand, the Americans, should they decide to place such missile in Poland, for example, may significantly reduce the flight-in time of missiles toward targets in Russian territory. That is why one needs to thoroughly analyze all arguments when assessing the importance of the INF Treaty," the general said.
U.S. officials said earlier U.S. President Barack Obama had informed his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a letter on Monday of Washington's determination that Moscow broke the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The U.S. also said that if Russia failed to continue to obey the 1987 treaty, the U.S. could hold consultations with its allies concerning this matter.
Associated Press has reported that "the Obama administration has expressed its concern over possible violations before, but this is the first time that the administration has formally accused Russia of violating the treaty."
The INF Treaty banned all U.S. and Russian land-based ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 1,000 and 5,500 kilometers and ranges between 500 and 1,000 kilometers.
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