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    US Missiles' Deployment to Romania, Poland Banned Under INF Treaty - Moscow

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    The deployment of US missile defense systems in Romania and Poland is prohibited under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The INF Treaty, signed between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987 required both countries to eliminate all of their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (some 310 to 3,100 miles).

    "We are deeply concerned about the deployment of US missile defense systems at a base in Romania, and in future at a base in Poland, which is prohibited under the Treaty on Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles," the ministry said in an annual report.

    The ministry reiterated that Moscow would take all necessary steps to safeguard the country's security, as the deployment of US missile defense systems in Europe "is undoubtedly aimed to deter Russia."

    Over the past two years, NATO has been increasing the number of military drills near Russia’s borders while Washington has increased funding for the NATO Reassurance Initiative to support deploying up to 5,000 troops in Eastern Europe.

    Moscow has repeatedly warned that NATO's amassing of troops and equipment on Russian borders is provocative, contrary to previously reached agreements and can destabilize the region.

    Washington has repeatedly stated Moscow was not fulfilling its INF treaty obligations, claiming it tested a ground-launched cruise missile in supposed violation of the treaty’s terms.

    In December, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow believed the United States violated the bilateral arms control deal when it installed Mk 41 vertical launching systems in Eastern Europe. Several Mk 41s are currently stationed in Romania and were planned to be redeployed to Poland under the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA).

    When installed on warships, Mk 41s can be used for launching both SM-3 interceptor missiles and medium to range Tomahawk cruise missiles.

    Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the ministry’s department for non-proliferation and arms control, welcomed his US counterpart Rose Gottemoeller’s remarks last month on the intent to recommit to the INF at the "highest level." Ulyanov voiced hope that Washington would "more substantively" consider Moscow’s concerns with the INF Treaty’s implementation.

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    missile, Europe, Poland, United States, Russia, Romania
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