US redeployment of nukes to Poland would violate NATO accord: Russia
Iran Press TV
Tuesday, 19 May 2020 5:08 PM
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the redeployment of US nuclear weapons from Germany to Poland would be a direct violation of a Russia-NATO agreement.
The top Russian diplomat made the comment during a presser held following a meeting of the Council of Baltic Sea States, which was held through videoconferencing on Tuesday, Sputnik reported.
Lavrov stressed that the redeployment of the American weapons to Poland would violate the Russia-NATO founding act of 1997.
"This would be a direct violation of the Founding Act on Mutual Relations between Russia and NATO, in which NATO undertook not to place nuclear weapons in the territory of new members of the North Atlantic Alliance, either at that moment or in the future," the Russian foreign minister said.
He also expressed doubt that that mechanism was being "implemented in practical terms."
Russian officials have time and again warned in the past that the provocative decision made by some Eastern European neighbors of Russia to host US-made strategic systems, including parts of America's Aegis Ashore missile defense system, will make those countries possible targets for Russia's strategic nuclear response in the event of a war.
Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova criticized the redeployment, warning that the move would further damage the already-strained relations between Russia and NATO and would escalate tensions.
"We hope that Washington and Warsaw recognize the dangerous nature of such statements, which exacerbate an already difficult period of relations between Russia and NATO, and threaten the very basis of European security, weakened as a result of unilateral steps by the United States, first and foremost through their exit from the INF Treaty," she said.
The landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) between the US and Russia collapsed last year after Washington pulled out. The INF had banned all land-based missiles with the range of up to 5,500 kilometers.
The withdrawal from the agreement came after Washington accused Moscow of secretly violating it. Russia, which repeatedly rejected the allegation, stopped implementing the INF after the US pullout.
Elsewhere in her remarks, Zakharova urged Washington to return its nuclear warheads from Eastern Europe to US territory for the sake of boosting security in the continent, adding that Moscow had taken that step "a long time ago."
She referred to the 1990s pullout of Soviet and Russian nuclear weapons from Central and Eastern Europe.
Comments by Lavrov and Zakharova came three days after US Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher indicated that the US might redeploy the atomic weapons in Germany to Poland.
The US has been deploying missiles in Eastern Europe and near Russia's western borders, a provocative move repeatedly denounced by Moscow.
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