Statements of NATO concerning the steps aimed at deterring Russia are absurd in the context of the US’ decision to exit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said in response to a request by TASS to comment on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s statement.

“The paradox is that it is the US who exited the INF treaty, yet they plan to deter Russia. This is completely absurd,” the Russian diplomat stressed. “At the same time, we noticed that in some statements, leaders of NATO countries mentioned that the response must be not only military and technical, but also political. Namely, there have been talks on launching a new negotiation process,” he added.

“In any case, the military and technical response to be prepared by NATO will obviously not be aimed against the US, who are to blame for a sharp deterioration of the security situation, as one of the few elements determining the state of European security has been destroyed,” Grushko noted. “All these plans on increasing the alliance’s military potential, on giving it a new quality, will seriously complicate the situation in the sphere of security and create additional risks for the Russian Federation, to which we will respond to, if necessary, through military and technical measures as well. We will take note of these plans, if or when they will be published, in our defense budget planning,” the diplomat concluded.

Earlier, NATO defense ministers held a discussion in Brussels on the actions that the alliance plans to take after the INF Treaty fully ceases to be valid. On the outcomes of the discussion, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that NATO would apply deterrence measures against Russia only in six months, if the US definitively exits the treaty.

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