Ambassador Anatoly Antonov's answer to a media question
Dear Ambassador Antonov, would you please comment on the statement made by National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien on October 28 at the Hudson Institute on the issue of ground-based shorter- and intermediate-range missiles? He claimed that hypersonic weapons and ballistic missiles being developed by Washington could be deployed “if necessary in Europe to deter the Russians.”
Anatoly Antonov: Such intentions threaten to destabilize both regional and global security, and lead to increased confrontational potential. 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.
A constructive alternative to such destabilizing plans is the additional steps proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on October 26 to de-escalate the situation in Europe in the wake of the termination of the INF Treaty. The initiative substantiates our previous year’s call for NATO countries to declare a counter-moratorium (similar to the Russian one) on ground-based shorter- and intermediate-range missiles which would be supported by mutual verification measures. In addition, we are ready, in the spirit of good will, to continue not to deploy 9M729 missiles – that were fully compliant with the INF Treaty – in European Russia provided that NATO countries do not field the weapons previously banned by the INF Treaty in Europe.
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.