(by Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge) – Following a month of ratcheting US-Russia tensions and tit-for-tat accusations and posturing over Ukraine, the Kremlin has issued it’s biggest threat yet, on Monday saying it might now be forced to deploy nuclear missiles in Europe. This raises the stakes significantly higher in the standoff which was sparked by widespread Western media reports alleging that Putin is preparing an “invasion” of Eastern Ukraine by calling up tens of thousands of extra troops near Crimea and the border region.
“Russia said on Monday it may be forced to deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe in response to what it sees as NATO’s plans to do the same,” Reuters reports of the new remarks by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. He told Russia’s RIA news agency in a fresh interview that “Moscow would have to take the step if NATO refused to engage with it on preventing such an escalation.”
Ryabkov said that Russia believes NATO has been signaling it is moving closer to its own redeployment of intermediate-range nuclear forces in Europe. The INF Treaty, signed in 1987 between Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan, was designed to prevent just such a nuclear weapons standoff scenario on European soil. The United States formally suspended its participation in the INF Treaty under Trump on February 2 2019 amid Russian and as well as global warnings that Washington’s exit would trigger a new post-Cold War era ‘arms race’.
The Kremlin is now citing a “complete lack of trust” and specific indicators of NATO preparing to build-up previously banned weapons in Europe:
Ryabkov said there were “indirect indications” that NATO was moving closer to re-deploying INF, including its restoration last month of the 56th Artillery Command which operated nuclear-capable Pershing missiles during the Cold War.
He added: “Lack of progress towards a political and diplomatic solution to this problem will lead to our response being of a military and technical military nature.”
“That is, it will be a confrontation, this will the next round, the appearance of such resources on our side. Right now there aren’t any, we have a unilateral moratorium. We call for NATO and the US to join this moratorium.” Read Full Article >