The Kremlin on Thursday denied an accusation by a top US general that Russia violated an arms control treaty with Washington by deploying a land-based cruise missile system.
“Russia has been, remains and will continue to be committed to all its international obligations, including those resulting from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
“Therefore we do not agree with and reject any accusations on this point.”
General Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told US lawmakers on Wednesday that the missile system’s deployment “violates the spirit and intent” of the INF treaty, signed in 1987.
“The system itself presents a risk to most of our facilities in Europe,” Selva said at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.
The New York Times last month first reported the deployment of a ground-launched cruise missile unit of a type that contravenes the treaty.
It reported that the missile was moved from southern Russia to an operational base elsewhere in the country in December, citing a senior US official commenting on intelligence reports on condition of anonymity.
“We believe that the Russians have deliberately deployed it in order to pose a threat to NATO and to facilities within the NATO area of responsibility,” Selva said.
The treaty banning intermediate-range missiles from US and Russian arsenals was negotiated during the Cold War by president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
Peskov said that Russia would continue to uphold the treaty even though its situation is different from that of the US, since Washington does not have hostile countries within the range of such missiles.
“The situation with Russia and the situation with our Eurasian geopolitical position — we have a totally different architecture of possible threats to our security,” he said.
“Nevertheless Russia remains dedicated to its international obligations.”
Moscow has said that the missile defense system deployed by the United States in Poland and Romania could be used if necessary to launch missiles toward Russia.