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Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov Tells Putin, ‘All in All, the Situation Is Quite Alarming’

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EIRNS—In an exchange among Russian President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, published on the Kremlin website over the weekend and in which Putin announced the adoption of symmetrical steps by Russia to answer the U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty, Lavrov presented the following evaluation to Putin:

“All in all, the situation is quite alarming. Let me reiterate that the decision taken by the United States on the INF Treaty is of course a matter of serious concern for the entire world, especially for Europe. Nevertheless, the Europeans followed in the footsteps of the United States with all NATO members speaking out in explicit support of the position adopted by the United States to refrain from any discussions on mutual concerns. All we hear are groundless ultimatums requiring us to take unilateral measures without any evidence to support unfounded accusations.”

Lavrov further stated that the U.S. itself had violated the INF Treaty by the deployment of its Aegis Ashore system in 2014.

“This is an outright violation of the Treaty. Launchers of this kind have already been deployed in Romania, and preparations are underway to deploy them in Poland, as well as Japan.... There is no doubt that these developments make things worse overall in the sphere of nuclear disarmament and strategic stability. It all started with the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, when the U.S. decided to withdraw from it in 2002, as you know all too well.”

After listening to the reports by Lavrov and Shoigu, Putin announced that Russia would adopt a symmetrical response of withdrawal from the INF and engaging in R&D of its own intermediate range systems, and then declared: “At the same time, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that we must not and will not let ourselves be drawn into an expensive arms race.”

Putin also announced that there would be a change implemented at the review held every six months

“of the state defense order with the commanders of the Armed Forces and the defense sector representatives. Starting this year, I propose modifying this format. I want to see how efforts to deploy our systems are progressing. This refers to the Kinzhal hypersonic air-launched ballistic missile, the Peresvet combat laser weapon, which has already been delivered to the army, and the Avangard system, which is now in serial production, having completed the test phase. I want to see how the production of the Sarmat missile is advancing alongside preparations for placing it on combat duty. Several days ago, you reported to me on the completion of a key stage in testing the Poseidon multipurpose strategic unmanned underwater vehicle. We have to look at how these efforts are advancing. We are aware of the plans by some countries to deploy weapons in outer space. I want to hear a report on how this threat can be neutralized.”