Russia warns US against deploying new missiles to Europe

MOSCOW — A senior Russian diplomat warns that the planned US withdrawal from a Cold War-era arms control pact could critically upset stability in Europe.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov says that if the US deploys intermediate-range missiles in Europe after opting out of the treaty banning their use, it will allow Washington to reach targets deep inside Russia.

US President Donald Trump declared his intention last month to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty over alleged Russian violations. Moscow has denied breaching the pact and accused Washington of violating it.

Ryabkov warns that if the US stations the currently banned missiles in Europe, Russia will have to mount an “efficient response.” He does not elaborate.

“We won’t be able to turn a blind eye to the potential deployment of new US missiles on the territories where they may threaten Russia,” he says, adding that such intermediate-range missiles would tilt the existing strategic balance between Russia and the US. “We would very much want not to get to the point of new missile crises. No one will benefit from those developments.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that if the US deploys intermediate-range missiles in Europe, Russia will have to target the nations that would host them.

— AP

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