Andrei Belousov, deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Department of Nonproliferation and Arms Control, commented on the US unilateral withdrawal from the INF Treaty by saying that Washington is "preparing a war," and that Russia has to get ready to defend its territory, principles and values.
"Recently at a meeting [of the committee], the US stated that Russia is preparing for war. Yes, Russia is preparing for war, I can confirm it," Belousov said after a failed UN First Committee vote on Russia's resolution in support of the INF.
"We are preparing to defend our homeland, our territorial integrity, our principles, our values, our people — we are preparing for such a war," he added.
"Linguistically, this difference is in just one word, both in Russian and in English: Russia is preparing for war, and the US is preparing a war," Belousov said. "Otherwise, why would the United States withdraw from the treaty, build up its nuclear potential [and] adopt a new nuclear doctrine?"
Belousov, commenting on the failed UN committee vote on Russia's draft resolution, warned that refusal to introduce the draft could seriously affect world security.
"If the United States comes out of the treaty and starts building up its nuclear potential in an uncontrolled manner, we will face another reality," he said, adding that the procedural issues the UN focused on in recent days will seem insignificant.
Last Saturday, US President Donald Trump announced his country's intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty over Russia's alleged violations of the accord.
On Friday, Russia introduced a draft resolution to preserve the INF to the UN General Assembly's First Committee, tasked with disarmament and international security. However, the committee voted against reviewing the draft, with 55 countries voting against the draft resolution, 31 nations supporting it, and 54 abstaining from the vote.
Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Belousov commented that Russia has had questions for the US regarding the implementation of the treaty since well before 2000.