Lavrov Warns Against "Militarist Rhetoric" On INF Treaty
Strong reaction against US charges that Russia is in violation of the INF Treaty continue to come out of official Moscow. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday, that the U.S. has failed to provide any proof of Russian breaches of the treaty and added that Moscow is ready for an "honest but specific dialogue." He stressed, Russia "has no intention to break the treaty." When asked about the hints in the press that the US might respond by installing nuclear missiles in Europe, Lavrov warned that "building up militarist rhetoric is absolutely counterproductive and harmful."
Lavrov said that the US has never provided any hard evidence to the Russians that can be addressed during consultations between the two governments. "They only say, 'You test-launched a rocket, you know what we are talking about,'" he said. "But this is not a serious talk. We will be ready to consider concrete evidence that gives Americans grounds to think that we violated something," Lavrov stressed.
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov charged, Tuesday, that the real reason the US is making the allegation against Russia is to justify its own military plans.
"Apparently, the US is ramping up the issue of Russian violations to justify their own ostensibly responsive military action that would be aimed at ensuring American leadership in confrontation with the mythical Russian military threat that Washington drums up regardless of all facts to the contrary," Antonov said.
In its coverage of Antonov's remarks, RT notes that Russia has complained to the US about the Mk41 vertical launchers being used in the NATO BMD installations in Romania and Poland. The Mk41 is the same system used to launch Tomahawk missiles from US Navy ships. According to the Russian argument, that, therefore, makes their installation on land a violation of the INF treaty, even if no cruise missiles are installed.