Russia says it is ‘preparing for war’ after US withdrawal from missile treaty

George Martin — Mail Online Oct 28, 2018

A Russian Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile system rolls through Red Square at night in preparation for a May Day parade. Click to enlarge

A Russian Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile system rolls through Red Square at night in preparation for a May Day parade. Click to enlarge

Russia has warned it is ‘preparing for war’ after US President Donald Trump announced he would be withdrawing from a landmark nuclear missile treaty this week.

Senior Russian arms control official Andrei Belousov made the declaration after Russia lost a vote at the UN to gather support from other nations for the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Reduction Treaty.

‘Here recently at the meeting, the United States said that Russia is preparing for war,’ Belusov said after the vote.

‘Yes, Russia is preparing for war, I have confirmed it.

‘We are preparing to defend our homeland, our territorial integrity, our principles, our values, our people – we are preparing for such a war.’

Belusov defended his fiery rhetoric by arguing Russia’s actions were simply a result of Trump’s aggression over the treaty.

He said: ‘Linguistically, this difference is in just one word, both in Russian and in English; Russia is preparing for war, and the US is preparing a war.

‘Otherwise, why would the United States withdraw from the treaty, build up its nuclear potential and adopt a new nuclear doctrine?’

The ballot on Friday found 31 countries in favor of supporting the treaty, 55 against and 54 abstaining.

Belousov said he didn’t understand the result, noting that most countries that abstained ‘are active supporters of nuclear disarmament’ and a significant number of those who voted against the procedural measure are in favor of preserving the INF treaty.

Russia ‘tried to send a serious signal to U.S. political circles about the danger of the course chosen by the current (U.S.) administration,’ he said. ‘We thought that such an initiative would be supported by all sensible forces.’

Trump has accused Russia of violating the 1987 INF treaty, which eliminates all ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500-5,500 kilometers (300-3,400 miles).

Speaking at a rally in Nevada, he said: ‘Russia has not, unfortunately, honoured the agreement so we’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out.

‘We’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to.’

In 2017, White House national security officials said Russia had deployed a cruise missile in violation of the treaty. Earlier, the Obama administration accused the Russians of violating the pact by developing and testing a prohibited cruise missile.

Russia has repeatedly denied that it has violated the treaty and has accused the United States of not being in compliance.

Wood repeated the U.S. accusations on Friday, telling the disarmament committee after the vote that for 5 1/2 years the United States has tried to engage Russia on the issue of treaty violations.

He said Moscow only recently admitted producing a ground-launched missile but maintained it didn’t violate the range limits.

‘We presented them with information to the contrary, but they continued to deny being in noncompliance with the treaty,’ Wood said.

‘But instead of responding to our engagement, we received denials and ridiculous accusations that it is the U.S. that is violating the treaty.’

Belousov, the deputy director of the Foreign Ministry’s Department of Nonproliferation and Arms Control, countered that ‘we have been making complaints about this since 2000’ to the United States but ‘they run from us.’

Belousov said Russia will go directly to the General Assembly and, possibly, if there is ‘a negative development of events and the U.S. withdrawal from the treaty, to the Security Council’ where both Russia and the U.S. have veto power on resolutions.