Russia “has no hostile intention against Romania,” Ambassador of Russia in Bucharest Valery Kuzmin
(photo L) told a press conference on Thursday.
Ambassador Valery Kuzmin talked about the premises of the Russia-Romania relationship, in the context of “a good neighborhood.”
“No unfriendly, hostile action is planned and I assure you that Russia has no hostile, aggressive intention against Romania as long as we believe that it is our neighbor country and the best way in which one can establish relations with the neighbors is to provide the conditions of a good neighborhood,” the diplomat stated.
Ambassador Kuzmin was asked, in the context in which Russia and the US announced that they are dropping out the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), whether or not Romania will become a “military target” for Russia, taking into account that our country houses the NATO missile defence system in Deveselu.
“In Russia, the INF Treaty has not been considered to be beneficial for the defence of the country,” Kuzmin pointed out.
The diplomat stated that from a military point of view “for the moment, nothing will change,” but he talked about the fact that the US anti-missile system would be directed against Russia.
“The Americans (…) have said for over a decade that their anti-missile system is not directed toward Russia, but recently, when talking about the plans regarding the arms race in outer space, they admitted that it is directed against Russia,” the Russian diplomat stated.
The Russian Defence Minister proposed the US on Thursday to destroy the Mk-41 missile launchers of the anti-missile defence system in Romania, which would have breached the INF Treaty, the Spokesperson of the Ministry, Major General Igor Konasenkov stated, as quoted by the TASS Russian News Agency.
Last Monday, Washington which accused Moscow of breaching the INF Treaty regarding the development and deploy of its new Novator 9M729 missile capable to carry nuclear warheads, gave it a 60-day ultimatum to destroy it in a verifiable manner, warning that otherwise, it would start the withdrawal procedure from the agreement on 2 February.
Moscow rejects the US allegations and argues the missile has a “480km” range, thus, it fits the agreement. Moreover, Russia accused the US of breaching the INF Treaty by anti-missile components in Romania, which are also to be installed in Poland.
The Russian-American consultations on this topic haven’t led to any progress and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced last Friday that the US is withdrawing from the INF Treaty, signed back in 1987 with Russia.
In response, the next day, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia too suspends its participation in the INF Treaty and ordered the Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers not to initiate negotiations with the US side until “our partners will have sufficient maturity to carry out a dialogue from equal to equal.”
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed on 8 December 1987 in Washington by former Soviet leader Mihail Gorbaciov and former US President Ronald Reagan, prohibits Russia and the US to use missile with ranges between 500 and 5,500 km. The withdrawal from the agreement of both signatory parties officially enters into force in six months.
If I were to say, in short, what we need – it’s the political benevolence of Bucharest authorities
Russia, Romania relations could have been much better, with the “political benevolence” of the Bucharest authorities,” Russian Federation Ambassador Valery Kuzmin told a press conference on Thursday.
“For the moment, our relation is the same as last year and, in short, I’d say that it could have been a lot better,” Kuzmin said.
He told about the moment before he took the mission in Bucharest: “I remember the message I received in 2016, when I left for Bucharest, from the Minister and from my President. They promised me an easy life and said that we should make efforts for better relations between our states.”
The Russian Ambassador said that, in order for that objective to be reached, there is need of “political benevolence.”
“If I were to say what we need, in short – is the political benevolence of the Bucharest authorities. In our troubled world, with all those treaties being broken, turning to nothing overnight, (…) it is hard to make predictions in the long run. But we must stay optimistic,” he said.
According to Valery Kuzmin, trade exchanges between Romania and the Russian Federation increased by 20 per cent. In 2018, the estimates indicated trade exchanges worth 5 billion US dollars between the two countries, said the diplomat.