Moscow will not be taking any steps within the next days to reverse its policy concerning the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said in a televised interview with Sky News on Tuesday.
“We are not going to change anything in our policy in the days to come. We have never done so before, not since we have received a very straightforward US ultimatum,” Ryabkov said.
He also stressed that there was no enough trust in relations between Russia and NATO to accept earnest pledges of NATO member countries not to deploy intermediate-range missiles after the treaty is terminated. “The more NATO says it has no intentions, plans, the less we believe so,” the diplomat noted.
“In terms of Europe, we do think it would be appropriate for NATO and Russia to consider actions in parallel. As of now, we only heard what Secretary General of NATO, Mr. [Jens] Stoltenberg and what individual countries said, that there are no actual plans or intentions to deploy nuclear armed intermediate-range missiles,” he added.
“But for us, an eventual deployment of conventionally armed missiles will be equally destabilizing because, number one, as you exactly rightly said, there is no trust, there is no confidence. Russia does not believe NATO. Russia thinks that what NATO says is disinformation, deliberate hybrid warfare,” Ryabkov added.
On 1 February 2019, US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF starting February 2. Washington is determined to withdraw from the treaty in six months unless Russia returns to “real and verifiable” compliance.
On February 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was also suspending the agreement.