The deputy head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergei Ryabkov said that if the US adopts new sanctions "in the context of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces [INF] Treaty" the meeting of the Special control commission on this agreement might not happen. His statement was published on the official website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"As for the attempts to frighten us with sanctions again, they are simply ridiculous," Ryabkov said. He noted that pressure on Russia in the economic and military spheres would not work. "They should at last get rid of their illusions, so that we can stop wasting time and engage in joint improvement of the relations that reached a state of deep crisis in recent years due to America’s fault," the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister said.
Ryabkov recalled that if the US ceases to comply with the provisions of the INF Treaty, Russia will be forced to give a "mirror response," as President Vladimir Putin said.
Ryabkov reiterated that by accusing Russia of violating the treaty, the US "dismisses" the question of their obligations. He cited as an example missile defense systems installed on the American air base of Deveslu in Romania. Ryabkov said that they could launch not only interceptor missiles, but also Tomahawks.
On Saturday, December 9, the Politico newspaper quoted a senior official in the US presidential administration saying that President Donald Trump had approved a package of sanctions against Russia for Moscow’s alleged violation of the terms of the treaty on the elimination of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles.
According to the source, the restrictions were developed by the Ministry of Trade. The ministry wants to introduce new sanctions against those companies that helped to develop cruise missiles prohibited by the treaty. The source of the publication noted that the decision on new sanctions was made by the National Security Council (SNB).
On Friday, December 8, US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Shannon, in an interview with the Kommersant newspaper, accused Russia of violating the INF Treaty. According to him, despite the agreement, Moscow has produced and deployed a missile system. Shannon said that because of this, the US began to think about a military solution to counteract Russia.