Russia says it may be forced to deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe

Russia says it may be forced to deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe

Dec 13, 2021: Russia has said it could be forced to deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe, in response to what it fears NATO plans to do.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency on Monday that Moscow would have to take the step if NATO refused to engage with it to prevent such tensions.

His comments further fueled the stalemate in the East and West, with Russia demanding security guarantees from the West and the United States and its allies warning Moscow against any attack on Ukraine and a refusal by Russia to take a step back.

The 1987 agreement reached between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US President Ronald Reagan banned the Intermediate Range nuclear Forces (INF) in Europe, which was hailed as a major easing of Cold War tensions at the time. Washington withdrew from the agreement in 2019 after years of complaining about Russia’s alleged violations.

Ryabkov said there were “indirect indications” that NATO was moving closer to redeploying INF, including its restoration last month of the 56th Artillery Command which operated nuclear-capable Pershing missiles during the Cold War.

“Lack of progress towards a political and diplomatic solution to this problem will lead to our response being of a military and technical military nature,” Ryabkov said.

“That is, it will be a confrontation, this will the next round, the appearance of such resources on our side. Right now there aren’t any, we have a unilateral moratorium. We call for NATO and the US to join this moratorium.”

NATO says there will be no new US missiles in Europe and is ready to intercept new Russian missiles with a “measured” response that would include only conventional weapons. But Ryabkov said Russia had a “complete lack of confidence” in NATO.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden held two hours of talks last week on the Ukraine crisis and Moscow’s demand for what it calls legally binding security guarantees from the West.

Ryabkov said Russia would present its follow-up proposals to the US, and possibly also to other NATO countries, in the coming weeks.

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