News ID: 97707
Publish Date : 13 December 2021 - 21:42

MOSCOW (Dispatches) -- 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.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russia’s RIA news agency in an interview that Moscow would have to take the step if NATO refused to engage with it on preventing such an escalation.
His comments further raised the stakes in an East-West standoff in which Russia is demanding security guarantees from the West while the United States and its allies are warning Moscow to pull back from what they see as a possible invasion of Ukraine - something Ryabkov again denied was Russia’s intent.
Intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) in Europe were banned under a 1987 treaty agreed between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan in what was hailed at the time as a major easing of Cold War tensions. Washington quit the pact in 2019 after complaining for years of alleged Russian violations.
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.
NATO says there will be no new U.S. missiles in Europe and it is ready to deter new Russian missiles with a “measured” response that would only involve conventional weapons.
But Ryabkov said Russia had a “complete lack of trust” in NATO.
On Monday, European foreign ministers met to coordinate what they warn would be an unprecedented economic sanctions regime if Russia launches a new military assault into Ukraine.
Following a meeting of G7 ministers in Liverpool at the weekend, where the U.S. and major allies warned the Kremlin of “massive” consequences, the 27 EU ministers gathered in Brussels.
They were expected to approve a list of names and companies associated with Russia’s private military company Wagner to be added immediately to existing sanctions regimes.
And they were to signal their readiness to impose huge new measures targeting Russia’s economy if a troop build-up near the Ukrainian border leads to direct military action.
Berlin holds one of the most important cards in the sanctions deck, if it decides that President Vladimir Putin’s actions warrant blocking the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.
Asked about the threat to Ukraine before heading to Brussels, Baerbock told ZDF television that “in the event of further escalation, this gas pipeline could not come into service.”

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