Russia said on Monday that it may deploy nuclear missiles in Europe because it claims NATO is doing the same.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russia’s state-run RIA news outlet that it saw “indirect indications” that NATO was nearing deployment of intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) in Europe, so it would be “forced” to do the same, Reuters reported.
“Lack of progress towards a political and diplomatic solution to this problem will lead to our response being of a military and technical military nature,” Ryabkov said.
“That is, it will be a confrontation, this will the next round, the appearance of such resources on our side. Right now there aren’t any, we have a unilateral moratorium. We call for NATO and the U.S. to join this moratorium,” Ryabkov added.
INF was banned via a 1987 treaty signed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, though it was abandoned by the Trump administration in 2019, citing years of Russia violating the pact.
Ryabkov claimed Russia now has a “complete lack of trust” in NATO.
“They don’t permit themselves to do anything that could somehow increase our security – they believe they can act as they need, to their advantage, and we simply have to swallow all this and deal with it. This is not going to continue.”
The U.S. and NATO have increased naval activity and aerial patrols in the region, which Russia has claimed is a “provocation” and separately threatened “dangerous consequences” for continuing that action.
Last week, Biden told reporters that putting U.S. troops on the ground was “not on the table.”
“The idea the United States is going to unilaterally use force to confront Russia from invading Ukraine is not on — in the cards right now,” Biden reiterated.
Biden held a video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week and said, “I made it very clear: If, in fact, he invades Ukraine, there will be severe consequences — severe consequences — and economic consequences like none he’s ever seen or ever have been seen, in terms of being imposed.”
The Group of Seven (G7) coalition consisting of the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, France, Italy, and Japan also released a joint statement on Sunday warning Russia of “massive consequences and severe cost” if it continued military aggression against Ukraine.