Moscow is very concerned about the possibility of rapid conversion of American complexes into attacking. “By deploying universal Mk-41 launchers capable of launching medium-range missiles at Aegis Ashore sites, the United States seriously undermines the INF Treaty,” said Russia’s permanent representative to NATO Alexander Grushko.
How does the threat to Russia look like in reality, how we can answer the US?
“The problem is that the US missile defense systems are deployed on the Mk-41 naval launchers, which have been used for many years by the US Navy to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles,” said the reserve colonel, a member of the Expert Council of the Collegium of the Russian Federation Military-Industrial Commission Victor Murakhovsky. – Under the treaty on the INF Treaty signed by the USSR and the USA in 1988, the countries pledged not to produce, test or deploy ground-based missiles like Tomahawk. Their use is limited to air and sea use. But in fact, medium-range missiles, which are used in the Navy, do not differ from missiles placed on the ground, other than the basing platform. Therefore, the deployment of American launchers for Tomahawk in Europe, indeed, poses a threat to the Russian Federation.
“It is clear that in its present form the Aegis Ashore object in Romania is equipped with SM-3 anti-missiles in the modification of Block 1B. They are physically and technically unable to intercept our intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are based in the European part of Russia” – said Colonel of the Reserve, Member of the Expert Council of the College of the Military-Industrial Commission of the Russian Federation Viktor Murakhovsky.
The treaty does not in any way limit cruise missiles deployed on sea and air carriers. And we see the deployment of US and NATO naval formations with cruise missiles on board in the Mediterranean, the Baltic Sea, the Barents and the North Seas, as well as periodic calls of such ships to the Black Sea. And we must understand: the US and its allies with the help of such missiles without problems cover the entire European part of Russia.
Moreover, we see the deployment on a rotational basis of NATO aviation at the airfields of the Baltic states. What kind of agreements are there on the INF, if the flying time of the combat aircraft from the airfield of Emari (Estonia) to St. Petersburg is about 10 minutes ?! These missiles, I note, equipped with surface ships and US submarines, which are on duty not only in the European seas, but also in the Far East.
There is still a moment. Some of our neighbors are actively developing this niche of weapons – medium-range ballistic missiles – and they are not even going to stop. I mean China, Pakistan, Iran, the DPRK.
And for us, it turns out, this class of weapons is closed for absolutely formal reasons, which do not work today. They worked in conditions of confrontation of the largest military groups in Europe, but today these conditions are not there, and the INF Treaty only binds our hands. Member of the Expert Council of the board of the Military-Industrial Commission of the Russian Federation Viktor Murakhovsky.