The US was in breach of the INF treaty for years, the Russia’s defense ministry told the summoned US diplomat, calling on the US to destroy cruise missile launchpads, target-missiles and attack drones to return to INF compliance.
The Ministry of Defense (MOD) summoned the US military attaché in Moscow on Wednesday to hand him the treaty-related memo.
The Russian side suggested that the Americans “return to strict compliance” with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty before it expires in six months.
In order to achieve this, the US must “destroy its Mk-41 universal launchers, designed for launching Tomahawk cruise missiles and target missiles,” which in fact have the same specifications as ground-based medium- and shorter-range ballistic missiles prohibited by the INF.
The American attack drones should also be disposed of because they fall under the definition of “land-based cruise missile” in accordance with the deal, the ministry added.
In early February, Washington unilaterally withdrew from the INF deal, which had been the cornerstone of European security since 1987. The US accused Russia of building prohibited missiles, but said that it may return to the accord if Moscow eliminates the violation within the next 180 days.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that it “categorically denies groundless claims of Russia violating its obligations under the treaty.”
“The US accusations are false,” Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, the ministry’s spokesman, said.