Russia has started developing an intermediate-range ground-based missile, said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov during a panel session of the 55th Munich Security Conference.
“Russia has begun the scientific and technical and development work in this regard, just like the US,” he said.
Ryabkov noted that, on 2 February, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia will not deploy short or intermediate-range missiles anywhere until American missiles appear there.
“The US must decide what to do next,” he emphasized, saying that it depends on Washington whether the security of Europe and the US will come under threat. “Russia will comply with its unilateral moratorium,” the diplomat said.
Moscow will respond immediately if Washington expresses the desire to discuss the situation surrounding the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Ryabkov promised.
“As things stand, we made a number of suggestions to our American colleagues on how to escape the situation [surrounding the INF], but there was no political desire on their part. And I suspect that this is related to the fact that Russia is treated as a revisionist force which is not worthy to sit at the same table as the US,” he observed.
“We are not fazed by this, but, as President Putin said, as soon as they are ready to consider this matter seriously, we will return to the topic. But this moment has not yet come, and when it comes, we will not delay it,” the diplomat added.
Ryabkov drew attention to the fact that during Putin’s address to the Federal Assembly last year, he presented several strategic weapons that were being developed. According to Ryabkov, this was due to the Bush Administration’s withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002.
“During a number of meetings on the highest level between Vladimir Putin and George Bush junior, the Russian party posed the question, ‘What do you think we should do to reestablish strategic balance? The answer was, ‘Do what you want, because the anti-missile defense system being created by the US is not directed against Russia’,” Ryabkov noted.
“Now, in the face of the upcoming US withdrawal from the INF, we must look how to balance the entire strategic stability system,” Ryabkov continued.