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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Russia to take tit-for-tat measures if US deploys new missiles in Europe: Lavrov

Iran Press TV

Mon Dec 31, 2018 08:03AM

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warns that his country will be left with no choice but to adopt "tit-for-tat" measures if Washington goes ahead with the plan to kill a key Cold War-era arms control treaty and deploys new missiles in Europe.

In an interview with the Rossiya-1 channel published on Monday, Lavrov slammed the European states for voting on December 21 against a Moscow-drafted UN General Assembly resolution aimed at preserving the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

Russia had drafted that resolution weeks after Washington announced the plan to abandon the INF, which was signed towards the end of Cold War in 1987 by then President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and put a ban on the deployment of ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (311 to 3,417 miles).

The proposed resolution called on the US and Russia to continue bilateral consultations on adherence to their obligations under the INF and renew dialog on strategic issues for further progress in nuclear disarmament.

Lavrov further said, "We have heard the largest amount of concerns over the US' unilateral exit from this Treaty in Europe," the minister noted. "However, the entire EU has voted against our offer, that is, basically, in favor of the INF Treaty ceasing to exist and in favor of the recurring threat of placement of US missiles in Europe banned under this Treaty."

"The next step, of course, would be the Russian Federation's tit-for-tat response," the Russian minister warned. "It is not our choice, but the EU capitals have to understand the threat to the security of the Europeans themselves."

The top Russian diplomat criticized Europe for failing to act independently and kowtowing to the US at the cost of their own interests.

"Unfortunately, our European colleagues, whose independence we wish to be reflected in their actions, are not very ready for it and follow the US even when it goes directly against their interests," Lavrov said.

Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the US was making nuclear war more likely by threatening to leave the INF, warning that his country could easily develop and deploy land-based intermediate-range missiles should Washington act on its threat.

Over the past months, the White House has been repeatedly accusing the Kremlin of violating the INF. Moscow, for its part, strongly rejected such allegations, calling them unfounded.

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