In this image released by the US Department of Defense, a Tomahawk land attack missile is fired on April 14, 2018. Russia said the US has begun preparing to transfer MK-70 launcher missile systems, previously prohibited under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, to Europe. The MK-70 launcher can be used to fire SM-6 missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles. (PHOTO / AFP)
MOSCOW - Moscow will closely monitor US steps to deploy weapons systems previously banned by the arms-control Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in Europe, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Wednesday.
"We are closely monitoring any US steps to implement destabilizing plans that involve the deployment of these weapons," Zakharova said during her weekly press briefing.
She noted that this was particularly significant, considering Russia's moratorium on deploying intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles.
"I would like to remind you that the viability of the Russian moratorium is directly linked to the emergence of (these) American missiles ... in the relevant regions," Zakharova said.
In this Dec 8, 1987 file photo, then US President Ronald Reagan (right) shakes hands with then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev after the two leaders signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty to eliminate intermediate-range missiles during a ceremony in the White House East Room in Washington. (PHOTO / AP)
Zakharova clarified that the weapon system under discussion was the containerized MK-70 launcher. The system, not only used for SM-6 missiles, has been adapted and can be used to fire long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles.
She said that Washington has begun preparing to transfer these missile systems, previously prohibited under the INF treaty, to Europe.
In 2019, the United States officially announced its withdrawal from the INF Treaty.
The United States and the former Soviet Union signed the INF Treaty in 1987, which prohibited possessing, developing and testing ground-launched missiles with a range of 500-5,500 km.
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