Russia has voiced concern about the allocation by the United States Congress of funds for the US military to develop new missiles.
The US Senate and House of Representatives finalized the US military budget for 2018, in which some $58 million is expected to be earmarked for a program to develop a non-nuclear ground-based cruise missile with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.
In an interview with Kommersant on Friday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said the new US missile development program raised concern about Washington’s commitment to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, signed 30 years ago. “Certain provisions of the draft budget for US defense spending, which includes a provision allowing developing a ground-based cruise missile… increases our concerns over the true intentions of the US side,” Ryabkov said. He said Russia remained committed to the INF Treaty and was determined to implement it in full, adding, however, that if the US violated the deal, Moscow would take retaliatory measures.
“We should wait for the final text” of the budget to decide what to do, Ryabkov said. The INF Treaty was signed between the United States and the former Soviet Union on December 8, 1987. The accord covered deployed and non-deployed ground-based short-range missiles (from 500 to 1,000 kilometers) and intermediate-range missiles (from 1,000 to 5,500 kilometers). The former Soviet Union eliminated 1,846 such missiles and the United States 846 ones under the treaty.
Russia and the US have had strained relations over the Ukrainian conflict and the US-led NATO’s military expansion toward Russian borders. Washington has also accused Moscow of meddling in the 2016 presidential election in the US.—Agencies