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U.S. Envoy Rejects Putin’s Proposal To Avoid Another Missile Crisis in Europe

Oct. 31, 2020 (EIRNS)—U.S. presidential envoy for arms control Marshall Billingslea has rejected Russian proposals to reduce missile tensions in Europe in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty. “Russia seems to now regret destroying the INF Treaty by cheating for more than a decade,” he tweeted yesterday in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal of Oct. 26 for mutual inspection measures of Russian missile bases and NATO BMD installations. “The United States and our Allies have seen this before. It didn’t work in the ’80s. It won’t work now.” Then he attached the link to a document entitled “Soviet Strategy To Derail INF Deployment: An Intelligence Assessment,” which appears to be dated in February 1983!

The Russian Embassy in Washington replied with the answer given by Ambassador Anatoly Antonov on Oct. 28 to a question from a reporter who asked him to comment on National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien’s statement at the Hudson Institute in which he claimed that the United States will deploy hypersonic missiles to Europe to “deter” Russia.

“Such intentions threaten to destabilize both regional and global security, and lead to increased confrontational potential,” Antonov said. “We believe that the official had no grounds to draw the parallel with the early-1980s missile crisis in Europe resulting in the signing of the INF Treaty. If Washington is truly interested in ‘real arms control,’ there is no need to ramp up the missile arms race in Europe.” He pointed to Putin’s proposal as a

“constructive alternative ... to de-escalate the situation in Europe in the wake of the termination of the INF Treaty” and he rejected the parallel some have been making to the Euromissiles crisis that led to the signing of the INF Treaty. “Russia is ready to pursue joint efforts with foreign partners to prevent a new missile arms race in Europe and other regions of the world,”

Antonov concluded.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, during her regular press briefing on Oct. 29, had some advice to give to the U.S. side also in response to O’Brien’s threat. “Considering the statements U.S. politicians allow themselves, I would like to advise the American political elite to deter itself rather than Russia,” she said. “The perseverance of the United States in its efforts to create pre-requisites for the emergence of a new missile crisis in Europe cannot but cause profound and sincere bewilderment,” Zakharova said.

“The only thing Washington manages to deter by such methods relates to any feeble efforts by Europeans to display independence and try to establish constructive relations with Russia in the sphere of security and stability,” Zakharova continued. “To all appearances, this is the goal Washington is pursuing now.”

Zakharova also accused the Europeans of rejecting Putin’s proposal without giving it due consideration. “I would like to draw your attention to how hastily some European NATO members, without even going into the essence of the Russian proposals, rejected them,” she said. She observed that Moscow characterized the situation in the missile sphere as a crisis. “And the United States and its NATO allies, who unconditionally support Washington, bear full responsibility for it,” she stressed. “We hope for a constructive reaction. Russia remains open to equal work to minimize the negative consequences of the collapse—I emphasize, through the fault of the United States—of the INF Treaty and to restore confidence.”

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