"The United States has long been claiming that we are allegedly exceeding the limits of the Treaty prohibiting the deployment of cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. But there is an interesting pattern — just as with the well-known statements about 'Russian meddling in the US elections,' no real evidence is provided … In other words, the accusations are absolutely unsubstantiated, they are not supported either by the technical characteristics of the launcher allegedly not meeting the Treaty, nor by flight telemetry data. And it is understandable why — because it simply does not exist," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Saturday.
The deputy foreign minister has explained that the US growing "anti-Russian campaign" is an indicator of US wish to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), with Washington appearing to be looking for a pretext and trying to create its own ideas for the introduction of new sanctions against Moscow, adding that the dissolution of the document would deal a hard blow to the global nuclear non-proliferation regime.
"So anti-Russian propaganda campaign in the context of the INF treaty looks increasingly like an attempt to project US issues onto another entity. Its increase may be a sign of Washington readying to withdraw from this treaty just as it withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty," Ryabkov said.
The high-ranking has yet again reiterated Moscow's commitment to the deal, "On our side, we are fully committed to the treaty, always have rigorously implemented it and are ready to continue to do so. However, if one side stops to comply with it, we will have, as Russian President Vladimir Putin said previously, to issue a mirror-like response."
INF Treaty and Anti-Russia Sanctions
The statement was made in wake of the reported approval of new sanctions against Russia by US President Donald Trump earlier in the day over the alleged violations of the INF deal. The move followed the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's accusations made in September, regarding the alleged violations of the treaty, a claim which has been repeatedly denied and called groundless by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Moscow has also warned the United States against trying to talk to Russia with the language of ultimatums, or to exert military and political pressure.
The 1987 INF treaty prohibits the development, deployment and testing of ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles with ranges between 300 and 3,400 miles.