NATO dismisses Russian accusations surrounding nuclear missile deployment
The head of NATO on Tuesday shot down suggestions from Russia that the organization was planning on deploying long-range missiles in Europe.
On Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov claimed there were “indirect indications” that NATO intended on deploying intermediate-range missiles, those with a range of 500 to 5,000 kilometers, which have been banned in Europe under a 1987 treaty.
Speaking to reporters, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg pointed to Moscow’s numerous reported violations of that agreement, saying the alliance has no plans of following suit.
“The proposal from Russia on a moratorium is not credible because we had a ban and they violated that ban,” Stoltenberg said, according to Reuters.
“So unless Russia in a verifiable way destroys all its SSC-8 missiles, which are those missiles that violated the INF treaty, then it is not credible when they now propose a ban on something they actually have already started to deploy,” he added.
In his remarks on Monday, Ryabkov appeared to suggest that NATO was neglecting diplomatic measures of deescalation and said Moscow may be forced to deploy its own nuclear missiles.
“Lack of progress towards a political and diplomatic solution to this problem will lead to our response being of a military and technical military nature,” Ryabkov said.
The international community has come out strongly against Russia’s military buildup at the Ukraine border, with NATO warning last month that a “high price” would be paid if Ukraine is invaded.
“Honest and sustainable deescalation steps, which can only go via the route of talks, are all the more important now. I will not tire of stressing that the door to such talks is still open to Russia,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said at the time.
The Group of Seven (G-7) countries on Sunday released a statement calling on Russia to “de-escalate, pursue diplomatic channels, and abide by its international commitments on transparency of military activities.”
“We reconfirm our support for the efforts of France and Germany in the Normandy Format to achieve full implementation of the Minsk Agreements in order to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine,” said the G-7.