Moscow is open for dialogue with Washington to ensure strategic stability, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.
According to him, the current level of relations between Russia and the United States is improper for the two largest nuclear powers.
The minister stressed that Moscow is open "for work, for dialogue, for counter steps to ensure a higher level of security," RIA Novosti reports.
He said that containment of Russia and China is the real objective behind the U.S. withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty. "We are convinced that the real reason behind the U.S. unilateral withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is to contain the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation," the Russian defense minister told a plenary session of the Xiangshan Forum on security.
According to him, "the treaty no longer met the U.S. interests amid growing military and economic power of China, Russia’s restoring defense potential and expansion of military and military-technical cooperation between the two countries.".
The minister noted that the U.S. "was preparing to destroy" the INF Treaty "well in advance" by accusing Russia of violating it.
"They were creating unmanned strike aerial vehicles, used intermediate-range ballistic missiles as targets and deployed Mark 41 Vertical Launching System initially developed to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles. This is further confirmed by the fact that 16 days after the treaty was terminated a land-based cruise missile test was conducted with this missile striking a target further than 500 km away according to U.S. statements," Shoigu recalled.
He underlined that "a multi-level security system that used to ensure stability and balance of power for many years is now being destroyed" in the arms control sphere. "This is the U.S. refusal to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and its unilateral withdrawal from the INF Treaty," Shoigu said.
According to him, the likelihood of the United States deploying its missiles previously banned under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in Europe and Asia Pacific is high.
"There are grounds to believe that U.S. strike capabilities previously banned under the INF Treaty are highly likely to be deployed in Asia Pacific and Europe to foment tensions. Such a decision will inevitably lead to an arms race, increased conflict potential and will instigate incident possibility," TASS cited Shoigu as saying.
Moreover, the Russian defence minister stressed that "the countries that agree to host short-and intermediate-range missiles on its territories will essentially become hostages to U.S. policies," "Russia opposes such a scenario," he said.
In this regard, the minister said that Russia is ready for dialogue to preserve regional stability, developing confidence-building measures and cooperating will all interested parties.
The President of the National Strategy Institute, Mikhail Remizov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that there are prerequisites for Washington to start a dialogue with Moscow. "Their interest in this is stimulated by new types of weapons, in particular, hypersonic missile systems and other innovations presented in President Vladimir Putin's 2018 speech. But first they want make sure that Russia is not just talking about the development, but about the systems accepted for operation and capable of solving combat missions," he said.
"As for medium and shorter-range missiles, unfortunately, there is no reason for dialogue, since the topic is of concern to Europeans, but not Americans. Therefore, we can hardly expect any progress here. Extension of the new START is also a big question, it is also worth noting that the current treaty does not impose obligations on either side — neither Russia, nor the United States – that would critically limit the development of strategic offensive weapons. The new START allows both the modernization of arsenals and the development of new systems. Therefore, the U.S. may either abandon the contract extension, or save it, depending on the overall political situation," Mikhail Remizov noted.
"The most important global security issue that Russia and the U.S. need to agree on is the prevention of random incidents. That is, of course, they may not be completely random. When such a game goes on, it is very difficult to predict the situation and it is difficult to manage it," the President of the National Strategy Institute said.
Director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov, expressed confidence that the United States will not engage in dialogue on global security with Russia in the foreseeable future. "The United States has taken a political course to achieve complete military dominance. Washington's achievement of military-technological predominance is a matter of time if Russia doesn't finance science and technology enough," the expert warned.
"The same applies to China, which has recently been striving to make a breakthrough in the field of science and technology. The U.S. wants to use the moment, while their competitors are lagging behind, and bring this technological gap to the military plane. This is an absolutely clear and intelligible strategy. because of which the United States is not interested in a dialogue with Russia on arms restrictions now," the director of the Institute of Political Studies added.
At the same time, the topic of reloading the new START treaty and a new agreement on intermediate and shorter-range missiles is becoming increasingly relevant. “The INF Treaty must, in fact, be re-developed and signed. There are huge threats in the area of cybersecurity, which may cause a very serious blow to security as a whole, and removing these threats requires substantial negotiations, as well as on non-interference in internal politics. However, I think the U.S. will not negotiate in this area," Sergey Markov concluded.