15:46 GMT05 August 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The real reason for the US withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) is China deploying 1,000 medium and short-range missiles preventing a US presence in neighbouring seas, former Russian Security Council Secretary Andrey Kokoshin told Sputnik in an interview Friday.

    "Evidently, the main target of the United States in connection with their withdrawal from this treaty is China. China, according to US estimates, set up a system of medium and short-range missiles of more than a thousand units aimed at the waters of the South China Sea and the East China Sea. It does not allow the United States to enter these waters with impunity using aircraft-carrier strike groups… Accordingly, the Chinese army set up a significant group of high-precision weapons, primarily ballistic missiles, which are capable of hitting US aircraft carriers and US military bases in the region", Kokoshin said.

    READ MORE: Next US President May Be Interested in Reviving INF Treaty — Ex-US Official

    He also stated that the Pentagon is planning to create a demonstration laser as part of a future orbital air defence system by the US.

    "The Pentagon has recently announced a special missile defence report. US President Donald Trump spoke on the same topic. This document, among other things, sets the task to investigate the possibility of creating space-based missile defence systems with the use of powerful energy-efficient and compact lasers in the future. In the near future, the Pentagon plans to create a so-called demonstration low-power laser", Kokoshin said.

    If the United States withdraws from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and deploys missiles in Europe, Russia will find an adequate response to this move quite soon, he assured.

    "I'm sure that an answer will be found if the United States deploys new 'eurorockets', and quite soon", Kokoshin said, stressing that Russia had the required technical and strategical capabilities. "However, the general level of strategic stability would decrease significantly due to a new 'action-counteraction' cycle", he added.

    Last October, Trump announced his country's intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty due to alleged violations by Russia. On 4 December, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Russia had 60 days to start to comply with the agreement, or, otherwise, the United States could leave the treaty on 2 February.

    Russia has refuted allegations of breaching the agreement, noting in turn that launchers on US defence systems in Europe were capable of firing cruise missiles at ranges banned by the accord.

    READ MORE: NATO Has Been Preparing For Collapse of INF Treaty for Months — Report

    The INF Treaty was signed between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987 and prohibited the development of ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometres (from 311 to 3,317 miles).


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    Russia, US, China, Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), missiles, defence
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