Russia remains committed to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), although the situation has changed significantly in the world since this document was signed, and almost 30 countries hold such weapons today, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov has said.
"One cannot fail to admit that the military and political situation in Europe and the world in general has changed drastically over the past three decades. First, the Warsaw Pact, which maintained quantitative parity in terms of weapons between the Soviet Union and NATO, ceased to exist. Second, Russia no longer has the military potential that the Soviet Union had during the Cold War. Third, only France and China held intermediate- and short-range missiles in 1987 along with the Soviet Union and the U.S. Today the number of countries that have such missiles is almost 300. Most of them are located in the immediate vicinity of Russia," Antonov said in an interview published in the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper on Thursday.
"Last year a meeting with representatives of the defense industry, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin noted that the decision of [then Soviet leader] Mikhail Segeyevich Gorbachev to sign this treaty is "disputable to say the least", although he added that Russia would continue to adhere to this document," he said.
However, Russia cannot ignore that both the United States and NATO "are actively deploying a global missile defense shield", the deputy minister added.
"Its European segment includes interceptor missiles, which are launched with the help of universal launch systems MK-41. Such systems are used by the U.S. Navy to launch Tomahawk long-range cruise missiles. Nothing has virtually changed in terms of U.S. security since the treaty came into force. All conflict areas in the world in which the U.S. "has a hand" are located quite far from the borders of the United States," Antonov said.
The Russian deputy minister also said he was puzzled by the U.S. Department of State's latest report on international compliance with arms control agreements, claiming that in 2013 Russia had no questions concerning Washington's compliance with the INF Treaty.
"It is a distortion of the real state of affairs, to say the least," Antonov said.
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