Russia's decision to develop weapons previously banned by a now-defunct deal was only a reciprocal measure amid steps taken by Washington, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a conference on non-proliferation in Moscow.
The minister stressed that NATO is making it clear that it will not agree to a moratorium on short- and intermediate-range missile deployment in Europe.
The INF Treaty, signed by the US and the Soviet Union in 1987, was terminated on 2 August at Washington's initiative after the country formally suspended its INF obligations six months earlier. Both countries had repeatedly accused each other of violating the deal, which banned any ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometres (310 to 3,417 miles).
Dialogue on New START
Lavrov also said that the United States is acting provocatively when it says that dialogue with Russia on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is only possible if China joins the dialogue.
The New START, signed in 2010, is currently the only remaining arms reduction treaty between Russia and the US. While it expires in 2021, the US has not yet announced plans to extend the pact. Instead of that, it has expressed a willingness to engage China in the dialogue in order to sign a new trilateral deal. Beijing, meanwhile, has rejected the idea.
Reaction to Macron's Comments on NATO 'Brain Death'
The Russian Foreign Minister also expressed his belief that Emmanuel Macron as the leader of a NATO member state is capable of assessing the state of the alliance.
"It is in our best interest, as per our foreign policy is to develop equal and mutually beneficial cooperation with NATO and it won't take long to do this as soon as NATO 'gets well’”, Lavrov said.
Earlier this week, President Macron told The Economist that the bloc has lost its internal coordination and is currently “brain-dead”.
He also noted that Europe needs to view itself as a self-sustainable geopolitical power, or else "it won't be able to control its fate".