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Russia Ready for Mirror Measures If US Deploys Arms Banned Under INF in Europe

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UNITED NATIONS, (Sputnik) - Russia is ready to take mirror measures if the United States deploys weapons banned under the terms of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in Europe, Vladimir Ermakov, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's non-proliferation and arms control department, said in an interview.
The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's non-proliferation and arms control department gave an interview where he outlined Moscow’ policy stance on nuclear disarmament, ban of nuclear tests and stressed that Russia adheres to international treaties yet will take mirror measures to possible new nuclear tests by US.
"The bottom line is that Russia’s unilateral moratorium on the deployment of ground-based INF missiles is directly linked to US actions in this area. The unequivocal formulations about the inevitability of our mirror countermeasures, used by the Russian leadership when declaring the mentioned moratorium, leave no room for other interpretations," Ermakov said.
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Russia believes that the United States is not abandoning the idea of conducting a full-fledged nuclear test as part of the modernization of its nuclear arsenal, Vladimir Ermakov added.
"Washington continues to maintain its Nevada [nuclear] test site on high alert. We believe that the Americans are not giving up the idea of conducting a full-fledged nuclear test as part of the modernization of their nuclear arsenal," Ermakov said.
Without ratifying the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), the US unceremoniously dictates to its full participants how this treaty should be implemented and also demands that other states create certain conditions for Washington’s possible full accession to the CTBT, the diplomat said, adding that this cannot continue indefinitely.

On Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

Russia will continue to fulfill its obligations under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in the event of the withdrawal of the treaty's ratification, Vladimir Ermakov, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's non-proliferation and arms control department, said in an interview with Russian journalists.

"If the corresponding bill [on the ratification's withdrawal] is adopted, Russia remains a state that has signed the treaty, with all the ensuing rights and obligations. Our country will also continue to observe the moratorium on nuclear tests, introduced by a decree ... in 1992," Ermakov said.

The withdrawal of ratification does not undermine Russia's constructive approach to the CTBT and does not mean that Moscow intends to resume nuclear tests, the diplomat said.
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"Russia ratified the CTBT in 2000 and has since waited patiently for the United States to take a similar step. However, there are no prospects that Washington intends to do this," Ermakov said, adding that Russia does not take seriously explanations that the US has problems with ratification by its Congress.
Commenting on the deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus and a possible withdrawal of the CTBT ratification, the diplomat said that this rectifies the imbalance in the strategic sphere that was introduced by the US.
Ermakov stressed that Russia will not conduct nuclear tests first and will resort to them only if the United States takes such a step first.

"As Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his address to the Russian Federal Assembly on February 21, 2023, we will not be the first to conduct nuclear tests. Russia will do this only if the United States takes such a step first," Ermakov said, commenting on a possible withdrawal of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty's ratification.

On Western Satellites Used by Ukraine

Western quasi-civilian satellites in space used in conflicts can become a legitimate target for a retaliatory strike, Vladimir Ermakov said in an interview with Russian journalists.
The United States and Ukraine have repeatedly stated that they cooperate in providing data from US satellites for the needs of the Ukrainian armed forces. Such services were included in one of the packages of military assistance to Kiev.

"Quasi-civilian infrastructure [in space] can quite logically be a legitimate target for a retaliatory strike," Ermakov said.

As a result of the actions of Western countries, the sustainability of peaceful space activities is exposed to unjustified risks, as well as numerous socio-economic processes on Earth, on which the well-being of people depends, primarily in developing countries, the diplomat said.
"Obviously, the United States and its allies are not entirely aware that such activities actually constitute indirect participation in armed conflicts," he added.
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