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Russia to Never Deploy Medium-Range Missiles in Europe Unless US Does – Lavrov

© Russian Ministry of DefenceIskander missile launch, Kapustin Yar, Russia, August 2019
Iskander missile launch, Kapustin Yar, Russia, August 2019 - Sputnik International
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ROME (Sputnik) - Russia will never be the first to deploy medium-range missiles in Europe after the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty ended but will respond in kind if the United States takes this step, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.
"We will never be the first to deploy this kind of armaments in any region unless it agrees to host similar US-made weapons. This position has not changed," he said after a meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio in Rome.

Lavrov lamented NATO’s refusal to back a moratorium proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on deploying short- and medium-range missiles in Europe.

"If practical steps are taken to build and deploy [such weapons in Europe] we will respond in kind but we will not be the first ones. Americans said they were not going to create a missile of this class but they have already tested one," he added.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron during a meeting at the Fort de Brégançon residence on 19 August 2019. - Sputnik International
Media Learns Macron's Reaction to Putin's Proposed Moratorium on Missiles in Europe
In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a proposal to the leaders of several countries, NATO members among them, to introduce a moratorium on deploying short- and intermediate-range missiles banned by the INF Treaty in Europe and other regions.

A month later, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said that if INF-covered missiles are deployed in Europe, this will force Moscow to retaliate.

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