Russia Could Deploy Missiles Capable of Targeting 'Whole Territory of European Countries,' Ambassador Warns

Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov warned that his nation would "be forced" to deploy missiles capable of targeting the entirety of Europe if the United States were to position new missiles on the territory of allied European nations.

"We are very much concerned that after the decision of the United States to withdraw from the INF [Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces] treaty, missiles could be deployed on the territory of [America's] European allies," Antonov said Monday, The Moscow Times reported.

"We will be forced to deploy our missiles," the ambassador continued as he spoke at the Henry L. Stimson Center, a Washington security think tank, displaying a map of Europe. "And here you will see that the whole territory of European countries will be covered."

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Military specialists walk past a Russian Topol intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at the exposition field in Kubinka Patriot Park outside Moscow, Russia on August 22, 2017. ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images

The Donald Trump administration formally announced its intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty at the beginning of February. The decades-old pact was signed by former President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, but it remained in effect under the Russian Federation following the Soviet Union's collapse.

Washington accused Moscow of violating the agreement's terms, but Russian President Vladimir Putin's government pushed back, alleging the U.S. had disregarded the treaty. The Soviet-era deal banned ground-launched nuclear and conventional missiles with ranges from 310 miles to 3,417 miles.

On Monday, Putin signed a decree formally suspending Russia's participation in the treaty. The Russian leader also warned last month that his nation's missiles could be turned on U.S. "decision-making centers" if the U.S. were to deploy more missiles throughout Europe.

"We don't want confrontation, particularly with such a global power as the U.S.," he said at the time. "I'm saying this clearly and openly. Russia will be forced to deploy weapons that can be used…against the decision-making centers that are behind the missile systems which threaten us."

Russian Defense Ministry officials show off Russia's 9M729 cruise missile at the military Patriot Park outside Moscow on January 23 VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images

Over the weekend, Russian Armed Forces and First Deputy Defense Minister Army General Valery Gerasimov raised concerns about Washington's move to withdraw from the INF Treaty. He suggested that other arms agreements could be abandoned as well.

"In 2002 the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Their next step after demonstratively suspending their participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty could be the withdrawal from the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty," he said, Russia's Tass news agency reported.

Gerasimov also warned that Trump's announcement of a new Space Force "may lead to an escalation of the military-political situation and emergence of new threats." The general said that his country would "respond with reciprocal and asymmetrical measures."

Russia Could Deploy Missiles Capable of Targeting 'Whole Territory of European Countries,' Ambassador Warns | World