The US ambitions have put the world on the brink of a new arms race that can easily spiral out of control, warned the Russian envoy to the UN. Washington responded by blaming Moscow for the INF treaty’s collapse.
“Are you aware of the fact that all of us have found ourselves just one step away from an uncontrolled arms race, because of the US geopolitical ambitions?” Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, said at the emergency session of the Security Council that Moscow and Beijing convened on Thursday, in the wake of the US missile tests.
“This a source of great concern for us, but apparently not for the US.”
Washington apparently planned to leave Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty long before announcing its withdrawal from the 1987 agreement back in February, Polyanskiy added, since this is the only way it could have tested a new ground-launched cruise missile that violated the accord mere weeks after it officially expired.
The launcher used in the test was the same one installed in Aegis Ashore missile defense batteries in Romania and Poland. When the first of those systems was placed in 2016, Moscow expressed its concerns over their capability to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles in violation of the INF treaty. The US assured Russia at the time the Aegis systems did not have such features.
“Now these suspicions are confirmed,” Polyanskiy said,
The Russian diplomat also rebuked US allies in Europe for their reluctance to support Moscow’s efforts in strengthening the treaty, back when it could have still been saved. In December 2018, Russia introduced a draft resolution to the UNSC that sought to enhance international support for the treaty, without any no criticism of the US. Yet, the western nations did not back it.
“Are you happy that you pressed the red button at that time?” the Russian diplomat said, addressing the European nations. Their inaction, he argued, has thrown back the security situation in Europe to the times before the INF, when short- and mid-range nuclear missiles were stationed on the continent.
Washington maintained its was Russia that “materially breached” the treaty by developing and allegedly deploying “multiple battalions” of missile systems the US allege are violating the INF. Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations and even invited international inspections of the system in question – but no one took it up on the offer.
The acting US envoy to the UN, Jonathan Cohen, called the latest missile test a “prudent response” to the “aggressive strategies” pursued by Russia and China, which he blamed for the “deteriorating security environment” in the world.
After withdrawing from the INF treaty, Washington hinted it would like to re-negotiate the deal and include China into it. Beijing ‘s envoy to UN said it has “no interest in participating in trilateral disarmament talks” right now and insisted that the primary responsibility for the arms control rests with the powers possessing the largest nuclear arsenals.
(Source: Russia Today)