Russia disappointed by US missile testing plans which aggravate global security situation: Putin
MOSCOW: Earlier, after Sunday’s missile test at a US test range in California, Russia and China formally requested a UN Security Council meeting to discuss Washington’s plans to test and deploy new medium-range ground-based missiles.
Russia regrets the US effort to develop and build missiles which violate the (now defunct) Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, since this has the potential to aggravate the global security situation, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.
“We are disappointed by what we see. Testing of ground-based medium-range missiles are a violation of the INF Treaty, and aggravate the security situation generally and that of Europe in particular,” Putin said, speaking to reporters in a joint press conference with Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto on Wednesday.
Putin said Russia is concerned that the US could deploy its new ground-based cruise missiles in Romania and Poland, emphasising that Moscow would see such a deployment as a direct threat to its security.
Moscow will take the appropriate and reciprocal steps if the US moves forward with such plans, but remains ready to engage in dialogue with both its US and European partners on this issue, Putin added.
Also Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov echoed Putin’s concerns, saying Sunday’s test of a ground-based medium-range missile by the US was a risk to global strategic stability, and adding that such testing could spark a global arms race.
“We have said for many years that when the US decided to deploy these systems as part of its missile defence shield in Europe that the MK-41 was suitable not only for launching anti-ballistic missiles, but for offensive cruise missiles, and had emphasised that this would be a direct violation of the INF,” Lavrov said, speaking with his German counterpart Heiko Maas.
“The day before yesterday, it was from an installation of this type that a piece of weaponry was tested which falls under the prohibitions of the INF treaty, and this installation has been deployed in Romania for several years now,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov added that Russia has called on the US side to take concrete steps to save the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which is currently set to expire in 2021, with that treaty now the last major Russian-US strategic arms agreement still in place after the US’s withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 and Washington’s exit from the INF earlier this month.
“There aren’t many agreements left in this sphere (arms control), and they must be cherished,” Lavrov stressed. “We have called on the US to take concret steps to ensure its extension, and are now waiting for an answer,” he added.
Some US officials, including Trump national security advisor John Bolton, have recently said that Washington probably wouldn’t extend New Start, with Bolton calling the agreement “flawed” since it “did not cover short-range tactical nuclear weapons or new Russian delivery systems.” (Sputnik)