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    FILE - This Monday, Dec. 10, 2018, file photo provided by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) shows the launch of the U.S. military's land-based Aegis missile defense testing system, that later intercepted an intermediate range ballistic missile, from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the island of Kauai in Hawaii

    US Ambassador to Russia Confirms US Has No Plans to Deploy Missiles in Europe

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The United States has no plans to deploy intermediate-range and shorter-range ballistic missiles in Europe, since if Washington feels the need to deploy such weapons it is more likely to choose the Asia-Pacific region, outgoing US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman said in an interview with Echo of Moscow radio station.

    "There have been many bogus stories about it, but I haven't heard anything definite. By the way, this topic has not been raised at meetings with the Russian leadership. There is always a threat, and the United States is always to blame. But if I'm not mistaken, our new defense minister said this week that if there was a need in systems of this class, they were more likely to be deployed at the first island chain in the Asia-Pacific region, not in Europe," Huntsman said, when asked whether the United States planned to deploy new ballistic missiles in Europe.

    The plans to deploy the new US missiles to Europe were announced by Washington in light of a February 2019 warning that the country would withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which limited the development and production of ground-based rockets with ranges between 500 and 550 kilometres. Washington justified the decision, which became effective on 2 August 2019, by claiming that Russia had violated the accord by developing the 9M729 missile.

    Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations, provided the US and other countries with information about it, proving its compliance with the INF, but Washington turned blind eye to it and insisted on the missile's destruction.

    In turn, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced Moscow's plans to monitor US activities in developing and deploying ground-based intermediate- and short-range missiles. The ministry further added that if such deployments occur, Russia will take response measures aimed at ensuring the country's security.

    The Cold War-era treaty, which banned the deployment of ground-based nuclear weapons with a range of 500 to 5,500 km, was terminated starting 2 August at the initiative of the United States, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated earlier in the day.


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