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Lavrov Denies Possible Return to Cold War with US

06 February, 2019, 09:30 | Author: Taylor George
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Russia's defence minister says the nation will develop land-based intermediate range missiles within two years.

President Donald Trump announced Friday the US was suspending its obligations under the INF treaty as of Saturday and starting a process to withdraw in six months. President Vladimir Putin said Russian Federation will develop new high-tech missiles, potentially signaling the start of a new technological arms race.

The INF treaty banned all missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (310 to 3,400 miles), a legacy of the end of the Cold War as last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and United States president Ronald Reagan sought to ease European fears of an arms race that would destroy their cities.

For its part, the USA of Donald Trump has stoked Russian anxieties over American intentions by withdrawing from a number of multilateral accords - including the Iran nuclear deal - pursuing superiority in sea- and air-launched missile systems, and talking up development of a new ground-launched cruise missile.

For example, Vershbow says the USA could negotiate with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partners on deploying a new sea- or air-launched cruise missile that could meet the provocation of Russia's ground-launched missile without requiring missile stationing on reluctant allies' territory.

On February 1, US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington's obligations under the INF Treaty starting February 2. The INF Treaty was signed in 1987, at the end of the Cold War, and aimed primarily at reducing the threat of a nuclear war in Europe.

In December, Putin said if Washington abandoned the treaty, Russia's seaborne Kalibr and air-launched Kh-101 cruise missiles - as well as cutting-edge hypersonic Kinzhal (Dagger) missiles would be converted for ground launch.

The U.S. withdrawal from the INF may trigger new conflicts between Washington and Beijing.

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"The character and the timing of the works provide an irrefutable proof that the US administration had chose to pull out of the INF treaty years before making unfounded claims of Russian violations", it said.

China's missile forces are a pillar of its national security strategy aimed at removing the influence of USA forces in the Asia-Pacific region. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, announcing the decision at a news conference, said that Washington still wanted to engage in arms control negotiations with Russian Federation and hoped Moscow would come into compliance.

Defence experts say converting seaborne and air-launched missile systems for ground use will be advantageous for Russian Federation since producing such missiles will be cheaper and quicker.

"Unfortunately, the countries of the alliance were not ready for meaningful dialogue on the Mk-41 launchers, which are located in Romania, and will appear in Poland next year, in violation of the INF Treaty".

The INF treaty was the first arms control measure to ban an entire class of weapons: ground-launched cruise missiles with a range of between 500 and 5,500km.

"Over the same period we will also have to create a land-based missile system with a long-range hypersonic missile", he said. Or talks with Russian Federation could produce a commitment to limit the ground-launched missile's deployment.

Earlier last week USA intelligence officials called attention to efforts by China and Russian Federation to expand their global influence, particularly in Asia and the Middle East.

While France is signatory of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, it remains committed to modernising its existing nuclear warheads by 2035. Russian Federation is trying, despite a struggling economy, sanctions and a limited ability to build an armed force the size or quality of that of the old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, to match the Americans and the Chinese.

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