Russia warns the build up of US weapons near its borders risks a repeat of Cuban missile crisis
- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov threatened increased tensions
- Kremlin angry about increased US military activity on Eastern European border
- Pentagon approved $250 million in military aid to Ukraine against separatists
Washington’s deployment of land-based missile systems near Russia’s borders could lead to a standoff comparable to the Cuban missile crisis, an official warned.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov threatened an escalation ‘to the hilt’ if the weapon’s systems remain in place.
The Kremlin has been fiercely critical of US plans to deploy missile systems in eastern Europe, and of Washington’s withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) arms control treaty.
Ryabkov said: ‘If it really comes to deploying such systems on land, the situation will not just become complicated, it will escalate up to the hilt.’
US activity in Eastern Europe has increased in recent months, with the threat of military bases springing up in the region.
Washington’s deployment of land-based missile systems near Russia’s borders could lead to a standoff comparable to the Cuban missile crisis, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has warned. Pictured: Russian leader Vladimir Putin
Last week the Pentagon approved $250 million in military aid to Ukraine, which is still at war with Russian-backed separatists in the east of the country over the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
The Department of Defense said the support would include sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, counter-artillery radars, electronic warfare detection systems, night vision and military medical supplies.
Earlier this month President Trump said he would divert 1,000 more US troops of the 52,000 based in Germany to Poland, but stopped short of committing to a new American base in the country.
The US accused Russia of developing and deploying a cruise missile that violates provisions of the INF pact that ban production, testing and deployment of land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (310 to 3,410 miles).
In February the US gave notice of its intention to withdraw from the INF, setting the stage for it to terminate in six months unless Moscow returns to compliance. Russia has denied any breaches, and accused the US of violating the pact.
President Vladimir Putin then suspended Russia’s obligations under the terms of the INF treaty and said hold would remain in place ‘until the US ends its violations of the treaty or until it terminates.’
The Cuban Missile Crisis erupted in 1962 when Moscow responded to a U.S. missile deployment in Turkey by sending ballistic missiles to Cuba, sparking a standoff that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.