On Sunday, the Russian defense minister said his government does not plan to install missiles in Europe unless the United States deploys them.
In a statement broadcast on Rossiya-24 and picked up by Reuters, Sergei Shoigu said: “We still stick to that. Unless there are such systems in Europe (deployed by Washington), we won’t do anything there.”
This announcement comes just weeks after the United States withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty on August 2, first signed in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Secretary-General Mikhail Gorbachev.
The agreement was aimed at reducing the ability of both countries to launch an unannounced nuclear attack and prohibited the development of any land-based missile with a range of between 310 and 3,400 miles.
Washington claimed six months ago that Russia had broken the treaty by deploying a type of missile not permitted, referring to the Novator 9M729 (SSC-8, according to NATO classification) and that it violates the treaty exceeding the range of 310 miles.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on August 2 that President Donald Trump wants to begin “a new chapter in search of a new era of arms control” that goes beyond bilateral treaties, such as the one signed with Moscow, and encourages the participation of other powers, such as Beijing.
“From now on, the United States urges Russia and China to join us in this opportunity to deliver real security results to our countries and the entire world,” Pompeo said.
Beijing is not a party to any disarmament treaty and currently has the “largest and most diverse missile force in the world, with an inventory of more than 2,000 ballistic and cruise missiles,” Harry Harris, former head of the U.S. Armed Forces Pacific Command, told the Senate in April 2017.
Since President Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the treaty in October 2018, he has been pointing out that China is an important factor in that decision.