09:13 GMT16 June 2021
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    Europe and Asia-Pacific are falling hostage to Washington's unpredictable missile defense policy; the deployment of Mk-41 launchers in Europe breaches the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, the Russian General Staff said.

    BEIJING (Sputnik) — European and Asia-Pacific regions population falls hostage to unpredictable US actions in the area of missile defense, the first deputy chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff said Tuesday.

    "The system is controlled entirely by the Americans. Pentagon will decide who and when to protect. The population of Europe and the Asia-Pacific region is becoming a hostage to the unpredictable actions of the United States in the sphere of missile defense," Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznikhir said at the Xiangshan Forum.

    He added that Washington was not seeking to build a common defense with its allies but rather wanted to share the financial costs with them and use their territories for the benefit of the United States.

    US Deployment of Mk-41 Launchers in Romania, Poland Violates INF Treaty

    The deployment of Mk-41 launching systems in Poland and Romania by the Unites States is in breach of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, as the systems are capable of launching long-range missiles, the first deputy chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff said Tuesday.

    “The Mk-41 launching systems deployed at US vessels, apart from Standard Missile 3 missiles, are used to launch long-range, subsonic cruise missile Tomahawk. Exactly these launchers are deployed at bases in Poland and Romania. The use of ship-based cruise missile launchers in a land-based variant is a violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty by the United States,” Poznikhir said.

    The INF treaty prohibits the deployment of ground-launched cruise missiles with a range capability of 500 kilometers and Tomahawk missiles have a range of 2,500 kilometers, he added.

    “Thus, US cruise missiles may threaten almost the entire European Russia,”  Poznikhir stressed.

    Two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors are launched during a successful intercept test.
    © REUTERS / U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency/Handout
    The 1987 INF treaty prohibits the development, deployment or testing of ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles with ranges between 300 and 3,400 miles.

    In May, the United States activated its Aegis ashore ballistic missile defense system (BMDS) in Romania equipped with the Mk-41 launcher. The Russian Foreign Ministry called the deployment of Mk-41 Vertical Launching Systems (VLS) in Europe "a relatively new and rather serious violation of the INF Treaty." Moscow claims Mk-41 is capable of launching the Tomahawk long-range cruise missiles. Such a capability is prohibited by the INF Treaty.

    Another Aegis ashore site is under construction in Poland. These sites are parts of the US-designated ballistic missile defense system in Europe, approved in 2010 during a NATO summit in Lisbon.


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    missile defense, MK-41 Vertical Launching Systems, INF treaty, Russian General Staff, Viktor Poznikhir, Asia-Pacific, Europe, US, Russia
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