“The United States have already decided everything”

“The United States have already decided everything”

Deputy foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov about the us ultimatum on missiles of intermediate and shorter-range missiles.

It has been over two weeks since the US Secretary of state Mike Pompeo put forward Russia 60-day ultimatum on the Treaty on the elimination of intermediate and shorter-range missiles (the INF Treaty). If Moscow will not destroy a cruise missile ground-based 9М729, which, in Washington’s opinion, violates the agreement, the US will come out of this bilateral agreement, which is one of the pillars of the system of arms control. About whether there is a chance to save the Treaty, Deputy foreign Minister of Russia Sergei Ryabkov told the correspondent of “Kommersant” Elena Chernenko.

— Moscow is ready to accept the ultimatum of Washington and to destroy or modify a “rocket-intruder” 9М729?

— I don’t want to talk about this and other steps of Washington in such terms as “ultimatum”. I believe in the US administration are still politicians are aware that talking to Russia in the language of blackmail is pointless and counterproductive. Therefore I propose to reject the propaganda hype, which the United States cover the actions taken in connection with the INF Treaty, and dismantle their essence from a practical point of view.

In this context the statement of the American side on December 4, that if Russia continues to violate the Treaty, the US within 60 days after February 2, will suspend performance of its obligations and will start a six-month period prior to withdrawal from the agreement, does not bring almost nothing new in the situation — in international legal sense, either in terms of military and political consequences.


— I will explain. First of all, you need to understand what really pause in the implementation of the INF Treaty is nothing as liquidation and verification procedures were completed in 2000.

By and large, the contract can only blatantly violate the production and deployment of prohibited classes of missile systems.

Washington argues that the period of suspension of the contract is not going to produce and deploy such weapons. However, it was not without a fair share of slyness.

First, despite the fact that the advanced weapons of the kind the Americans have not yet created a corresponding R & d that the INF Treaty is not directly forbidden, conducted in the United States in full swing.

The newsis not unique. Russia has shown the latest weapons

Secondly, in Europe there are already and continue to accommodate existing items prohibited under the agreement ballistic missile. In particular, in the complexes Aegis Ashore land-based deployed universal launchers Mk-41 that allows the combat use of cruise missiles, medium-range Tomahawk.

So the time in Washington don’t lose. Certainly, we will continue to closely monitor and analyze the development of such programs, and if necessary to take them into account in their own defense construction in terms of responses.

Another important aspect is that for its part Russia strictly adheres to the INF Treaty and did not admit any violations, including attributed to us Americans. Accordingly, selected U.S. legal justification for the alleged suspension, namely a reference to a fundamental breach of contract by Russia, is absolutely untenable.

Thus, the decision in Washington is negligible from a legal point of view, the INF Treaty will continue to apply even after the expiration of the designated Americans 60 days, remaining binding on all parties.

— But if Russia does not fulfill the terms of the ultimatum, in early February, Washington will start the process of withdrawal from the Treaty.

Washington in October said publicly that it will withdraw from the Treaty. Through bilateral channels us at a high political level confirmed that this decision is final and is not an invitation to dialogue.

He wasn’t particularly hiding that it’s not so much the problems between the US and Russia, as in the desire of Americans in General to get rid of inconvenient Treaty restrictions.

According to them, the INF Treaty limits significantly the military capabilities of States projected on countries with arsenals of ground-based intermediate-range and representing in the eyes of Washington a threat to American interests. Directly points to China, Iran and North Korea.

Fact is, the United States, from your point of view, and do not expect that Russia will fulfill their ultimatum?

— We have to assume that regardless of the opinions and actions of Russia, the other parties to the Treaty and third countries, the United States will deliberately move in the direction of its denunciation. And their plans for the suspension of the INF Treaty is nothing more than political games with public opinion and key NATO allies, who, it seems, persuaded Washington to take a two-month pause. This time, the Americans apparently intend to spend on the military-technical preparations and attempts to redirect us critical reaction of at least part of the world community. I would like to be wrong, but inexorably the facts speak in favor of this version.

— The Russian military a few days ago appealed to the Pentagon with a proposal to hold consultations. The response is received?

— No, as far as I know, the answer was never received.

— Russia plans to carry out actions to prevent the collapse of the Treaty?

— We have initiated within the framework of the UN General Assembly draft resolution in defense of the INF Treaty. When it comes to a vote, it will be interesting to see how to behave in the country, positioning themselves as active supporters of maintaining the current system of arms control, and those who argue in favor of forced advance in the field of nuclear disarmament, until the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. I’m talking in particular about the countries—parties to the Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. Many of these countries previously, when the issue was considered in the format of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly — “hiding” for the explanation that Russia allegedly violated procedures. But as we could at the time to comply with the temporary regulations, if the application of Donald trump and explanation us all that is happening, his assistant for homeland security, John Bolton, followed two days after the expiry of the formal deadline for submitting resolutions? Now it will be interesting to see how someone will behave, and what are the assurances that these countries insist on the inviolability of the system of arms control. If this is really their position, then they should support our project.

— The Agency Nikkei reported, citing sources, that Russia invited China to join the negotiations on the fate of the INF Treaty. Is it really so?

— I can not confirm this information.

We are very grateful to China for its consistent support of our line for the preservation of the INF Treaty, including in the UN and other international forums. And we are in Beijing the dialogue.

Attempts to make the INF Treaty a multilateral, if not universal, do have been made, but many years ago.

— You are talking about Moscow’s initiative 2007-2008?

— Yeah, then we with our Chinese colleagues also conducted a dialogue. But now we have new proposals to Beijing to do, especially on the entry into some negotiations that aren’t there. I think there is either a confusion, or someone is trying to create a sensation out of nowhere.

Director of national intelligence Daniel Coates, finally, presented a vision of the American side of how exactly Russia violated the INF Treaty. According to him, the first “rocket-intruder” 9М729 has been tested the target at a distance of over 500 km, which is allowed by the contract, but only if the rocket is scheduled to travel by air or sea-based. And then the same alleged missile has been tested from a mobile launcher, but on the permitted contract range. The sequence of tests described in the United States, would indeed constitute a breach of contract. How can you comment?

— I repeat — we strongly reject the us accusations of Russia’s violation of the Treaty. These allegations remain completely unsubstantiated. After five years of discussion of this problem, States have not presented any concrete evidence of our guilt.

Want to say: Russia does not produce it and had no missiles covered by the INF Treaty and having forbidden on it range. This fully applies to the rocket 9М729, a clear indication that we had to pull out of the US for several years.

I would like to draw attention to causes distortion of the whole situation that we see in news reports on the Department’s website. There is, in particular, argues that Russia is constantly changing his story. But to change history, it is necessary first to formulate. And we for several years could not achieve U.S. history. As soon as we heard what kind of missile it is, we gave the Americans information about what in this respect was done and what was not done.

Washington does not hurry with the response to our repeated requests to name the test launches, which have caused the American side concern. We achieved this within five years, but the dates gave us only five days before the announcement of the US intention to withdraw from the contract when a decision on his denunciation, we need to understand has already taken place. These Americans have demonstrated a complete lack of interest in clarifying the matter. Five years, they were just buying time and deliberately brought the situation to a deadlock.

— And the Americans eventually opened to the Russian side information about the basis on which they have drawn conclusions about the “wrong” rocket?

— No, the US did not provide us data on the basis of which they identified the range launches our rockets, and came to the conclusion that in these cases it is tested that rocket 9М729. And such information is fundamentally important for the subject of military-technical parsing problems.

We during the expert consultation explained to Americans that their assumptions about the duration and nature of the testing activity with respect to the rocket 9М729 wrong. We have designated them a real time frame of testing. We also pointed out the fallacy of the views of Washington on the types of launchers, which carried out flight tests of the specified missile. In addition, we stressed that Americans of the area at the Kapustin Yar were conducted a considerable number of test launches of missiles of different purposes and different classes using different types of launchers. At the same time consistently and fully comply with the requirements of the INF Treaty.

— In the Western media reported that the US has some intelligence data on the Russian rocket.

Professionals it is clear that the serious and complex issues in the field of arms control is not decided on the basis of vague intelligence. The more that we know what links US to that information. Passed it many times. We therefore difficult to assess whether the cryptic information, as we understand it, distributed by the Americans, including NATO, fabricated or incorrect. The fact, however, is that to put them together with our military experts and the professional analysis of the United States absolutely do not want.

— Let me ask again for clarity: that is, Russia has not tested a missile with 9М729 permanent installation on banned by the INF Treaty range (500-5500 km)?

— We have provided US with information and arguments showing that the missile 9М729, which is the subject of their concerns, for such a range was not tested.

— Why Moscow can not spend the American side, the rocket demonstration 9М729? Perhaps it would remove some of the concerns of the United States. Could it be this involved previously used in the framework of the INF Treaty in the format of the inspection?

— The inspection regime for the INF Treaty was tailored to the objective of eliminating a specific weapons that existed at the time of the parties. As I have already noted, the liquidation and verification procedures in respect of these systems was completed many years ago, and the contract in this part are fully met. As for the demonstration of missiles, there are several aspects. The INF Treaty from us does not require it. There are no other obligations that would apply to this case.

Thus, demonstration of missiles, the Americans would be a manifestation on our part of increased transparency for the scope of the contract.

At this stage we have not developed the feeling that such a step would be justified from both a political and technical point of view.

Why? What’s the problem?

— Showing the rocket would look like an undesirable precedent at a particularly Intrusive visits the US of trying to “enlighten” the Russian developments, the groundwork in the field of rocketry. For example, during the expert consultation process, we were asked to inform Washington not only about the timing and the areas of all testing missiles 9М729, but also about what the missile system was tested for outlined by the American side long period on the specified polygon. Such requests far beyond our contractual obligations, even though we already showed in the dialogue with the Americans for more transparency in excess of the requirements of the INF Treaty.

If you follow this logic, then give the finger, arm bite: the United States will continue to require us to show virtually any military equipment, which is something they did not like.

This would involve disclosure of sensitive information the country, which on a doctrinal level puts Russia in first place among the external threats.

Furthermore, transparency may not be a one-way street. Americans suitable, however, its application is highly selective, even in cases when it is directly derived from the existing agreements. So, for example, the Treaty on measures for the further reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms (start Treaty.— “B”) provides certain verification procedures with respect to launchers of ballistic missiles on submarines (SLBMs.— “B”), which, of course, are inside the hulls of submarines. These provisions have been agreed and ratified by the United States. However, the possibility of their practical implementation is often blocked by the refusal of the Americans to allow our representatives inside their submarines, citing the Intrusive nature of such procedures.

Therefore, to talk in such circumstances, unilateral transparency measures and increasing trust from our side is extremely difficult.

— A US General asked him to show them a missile?

— No, you didn’t. Instead, categorically suggested, in fact demanded, to destroy it check the way. Not to look at our rocket, was started all this multi-way game.

We believe that Americans all have already decided.

— According to Daniel Coates, Russia no longer wishes to be bound by the restrictions of the INF Treaty and wants to be able to strike European countries—members of NATO.

— As a diplomat I am, by definition, is prone to discussing ways of strengthening international security and resolution of problems by politico-diplomatic methods. I would not overly focus on the analysis of who is who and what means of warfare are able to hit. This is best left to a professional conversation between military.

I can only reiterate what has been mentioned to us at different levels: Russia threatens no one, but has all the necessary forces and means to repel any aggressor. Of course, this includes defence planning and appropriate military-technical support to respond to the potential attack under different scenarios.

In recent years, in order to maintain strategic and regional balance, taking into account relevant military dangers and threats in Russia made efforts to the improvement and expansion of our defence capabilities in the field of the most modern, including high precision, weapons. Within limits of transparency, we inform the public and other countries. It allows to count on the presence of the rational-minded military experts fully understand that in the absence of radical change in the security environment — both in Europe and in the world in General, Russia has everything you need to without violation of obligations under international agreements currently in force to fully protect the interests of their own safety.

And if a single agreement — the INF Treaty — will be less?

In the United States and European countries should realize that Russia cannot and will not ignore a possible deployment of American ground-based missiles of intermediate and shorter-range missiles that threaten us and our allies, when such missiles Washington will appear. We will have to take effective measures compensatory nature. I would like to caution against pushing a situation to the emergence of a new “missile crisis”, what, convinced, not interested no sensible country.

— The US authorities have assured that they have no plans to deploy intermediate range missiles in Europe. That such weapons don’t show up, says NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. You believe them?

— On the background of acute trust deficit in our current relations with the US and NATO is hardly necessary to speak about any faith on the word in political and military matters of direct relevance to the fundamental interests of national security. Even if we assume that today the plans of Washington and its allies no, we can’t rule out such ideas and plans tomorrow — taking into account the deep changes for the worst security conditions in the Euro-Atlantic area, steady anti-Russian sentiment of the us Congress and manifestations of the prevailing Russophobic NATO.

It is clear that the political agreements and even legally binding agreements are also unable in the current environment to give a permanent guarantee, as we see on the example of the collapse of the INF Treaty in Washington. However, in the case of achieving at least a framework of understandings on sensitive security aspects and their subsequent codification, as a rule, you can count on in the foreseeable future, some stabilizing predictability and mutual restraint.

However, access to any hypothetical arrangement of this kind is only possible in a systemic and equitable dialogue.

At the moment we, unfortunately, do not see the willingness of Washington and its allies to cooperate with us based on equality and take account of the legitimate interests of Russia.

Besides, colleagues in the United States is clearly not in a hurry to restore the formats of a full-fledged dialogue between the military, which is critical to solving problems in this area.

— Talking about hypothetical agreements, you mean a kind of joint statement or agreement on intermediate-range and shorter-range, even if they are at the sides appear, will not be stationed in Europe and the European part of Russia?

I’m talking about the fact that the very hypothetical potential of reaching certain agreements with respect to the INF Treaty today, it remains illusive. But we the door to dialogue is not closed. We have repeatedly affirmed the US, including recently. Willingness to really seek a solution to the questions asked there. But to confess that we did not commit, we do not intend to.

— The United States announced that Russia is equipped with a new missile a few battalions. Is it really so?

— Of course, I do control arms, but I would like to remind you that I represent the Ministry of foreign Affairs, not Ministry of defense. So the question is somewhat the wrong address.

The only thing I can confirm — this missile in the armed forces of the Russian Federation really exists. There is no secret in this. Our military colleagues have explained to the Americans that we are, in fact, is about the development of the modernization of the existing armed cruise missile complex “Iskander-M”. In the progress of its modifications are addressed primarily to improving the efficiency of the warhead. This resulted in some other changes which, however, did not lead to increased range of this missile products in excess of the INF Treaty limits.

It was reported to us about specific combat rocket during doctrines “the West-2017,” when the missile was launched at maximum range and flew about 480 km, which is fully consistent with the limitations under the contract.

— Many experts say that with political will, it would be possible to find a technical way of settlement of mutual claims Russia and US to each other in the framework of the INF Treaty. What do you think?

— Hypothetically speaking, if there is political will, you can threaten on any, even the most ambitious tasks. However, the caveat is that such a will should be clearly expressed on both sides. This we do from our American colleagues do not observe. I would like to emphasize once again that the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Treaty has been identified to us as not subject to revision.

However, for its part leave the door open for substantive, constructive, and aimed at mutually acceptable outcomes of a dialogue on finding ways of preserving the INF Treaty. In this case must necessarily be taken into account Russian concerns. Let me remind you that we are hampered by the lack of Americans have the desire to tackle the assumption on their part the violation of the Treaty, which include the already mentioned ground deployment launchers Mk-41 and other well-known claims.

Ready for discussions on a wider agenda with discussion on a range of issues of strategic stability and arms control. On the Russian-American summit in Helsinki on 16 July gave specific suggestions on enhancing the dialogue and its possible formats.

— The United States said something?

— No, we still have not received, from which we conclude that the United States is not now desire to negotiate with us on an equal footing. It’s sad.

— You have repeatedly said that the gap of the INF Treaty may be adversely affected by the fate of the start Treaty. Why? Will Russia continue to offer the United States to extend the start Treaty, if they come out of the INF Treaty?

— It is obvious that in the case of the scrapping of the INF Treaty there was a new reality that threatens to further degradation of the situation in the field of international security. Will be destroyed one of the pillars in the architecture of control over missile and nuclear arms, which allowed its time to develop and conclude a new start Treaty.

We of course take into account those signals which arrive from the American side. In Washington, the attitude to start, to put it mildly, ambiguous. There are different points of view. In particular, in the U.S. Congress, attempts are regularly made to link the fate of these two treaties. In the forefront again raised the alleged Russian violations of the INF Treaty. Problems of compliance with both agreements with the United States us lawmakers deliberately not notice.

In fact, at this stage, the Americans systematically creates uncertainty around the prospects of extending the start Treaty. Perhaps in this way they are trying to further push us to achieve concessions.

Anyway, our offer to seriously discuss issues related to the possible extension of the start Treaty remains in force. The Americans know it.

Will continue to assess the feasibility of such a step, comprehensively considering the General political situation and the state of Affairs in the strategic sphere. And of course, for the extension of the contract will not be permitted to resolve the anomalous situation with the withdrawal of the US from counting it a significant part of their strategic tools.

From the interview I conclude that from the point of view of Moscow, the blame for the collapse of the INF Treaty lies in Washington. But if you believe the representatives of the United States, the situation is exactly the opposite. Recently, the state Department said that Americans nearly 30 times one way or another raised the question about the future of this agreement in communicating with our Russian colleagues. Now, according to the United States, the ball is on Russia’s side.

Americans can turn black into white and white for black. Sometimes they label our position or call it misinformation, even plainly without having learned. Now they say that over 30 times raised the question of the INF Treaty in the negotiations with us, but it’s not even propaganda, it is trying to sell air. If I were to list all those instances when we called on Americans not to engage in megaphone diplomacy, and really discuss the issues, if I’ll tell you what kind we gave them the documents and that they were offered, I assure you, the statistics are not in favor of the United States. Our figure will be much more impressive. But the conversation in the spirit of “the fool” not worthy of serious people. When the Americans do not have substantive arguments, starts juggling that gives external credibility to their position, which is thoroughly empty. We don’t see the US willingness to really tackle this problem.

HelpWhat you need to know about the Treaty of elimination of intermediate-range and shorter-range

History, essence and the importance of the Treaty — in the material “Kommersant”.

Read more