Published On: Fri, Oct 25th, 2019

Nuclear warning: Trump’s INF withdrawal may spark arms race, warns Russia’s defence chief | World | News

And he has also described the prospect of a permanent US military base on Polish soil as “counterproductive” – warning stood ready to take “retaliatory measures”. The pulled out of the treaty, signed by Mikhail Gorbachev and in 1987, earlier this year, accusing Russia of violating the ban on ground-based ballistic and cruise missiles with a range in excess of 310 miles (500km).

The United States pulled out of the treaty, signed by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan in 1987, earlier this year, accusing Russia of violating the ban on ground-based ballistic and cruise missiles with a range in excess of 310 miles (500km).

Mr Shoigu said: “The US withdrawal from the INF jeopardises the system of global strategic stability and may trigger a new arms race, remarkably not only in the European region, but in the Asia-Pacific region as well.”

His comments build on remarks made last week during a plenary session of the Xiangshan Forum on security in Beijing, in which he suggested the US had deliberately sabotaged the treaty.

Sergei Shoigu

Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu (Image: GETTY)

Vladimir Putin

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (Image: GETTY)

He explained: “We are convinced that the real reason behind Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the INF treaty was to hold back China and Russia.

“There are grounds to believe that US strike capabilities previously banned under the INF Treaty are highly likely to be deployed in Asia Pacific and Europe to increase tensions.

“Such a decision will lead to an arms race, to the growth of a potential for conflict, will raise the probability of incidents.

READ MORE: Putin fury as Russian nuclear submarine forced to abort missile launch

US President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump (Image: GETTY)

He claimed the US had accused Moscow of breaking the terms of the treaty in order to “prepare for its destruction ahead of time”.

Suggesting “international relations are in a state of degradation,” Mr Shoigu said global security was worsening due to “the US refusal to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and its unilateral withdrawal from the INF Treaty.”

During his Belarussia trip, Mr Shoigu also had stark words of warning in relation to neighbouring Poland.

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Sergei Shoigu

Sergei Shoigu believes the scrapping of the treaty was a deliberate move by the USA (Image: GETTY)


Poland and Belarussia share a border (Image: GETTY)

He said: “The plans of the Polish government to host a permanent US military base in its territory are counterproductive and do not contribute to stability and national security.

“In this regard, we will have to take retaliatory measures and be ready to neutralise any possible military threat in all directions.”

Speaking last week, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said he regretted the US decision to withdraw from the INF treaty.

Interviewed by journalists prior to a visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, he said: “I think it was a mistake and that they could have gone a different path.

Countries with nuclear weapons

Countries with nuclear weapons (Image: Daily Express)

“I do understand the US concerns. While other countries are free to enhance their defences, Russia and the US have tied their own hands with this treaty.

“However, I still believe it was not worth ruining the deal; I believe there were other ways out of the situation.”

He also urged Mr Trump to back a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) to replace the one which is due to expire in 2021, in order to prevent a race to acquire strategic nuclear weapons.

He added: “The new START Treaty is actually the only treaty that we have to prevent us from falling back into a full-scale arms race.

“To make sure it is extended, we need to be working on it right now. We have already submitted our proposals; they are on the table of the US administration. There has been no answer so far.

“If this treaty is not extended, the world will have no means of limiting the number of offensive weapons, and this is bad news.

“The situation will change, globally. It will become more precarious, and the world will be less safe and a much less predictable place than today.”

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