Russian Defence Ministry Top Officials On Us Decision To Withdraw From Abm Treaty

The top brass of the Russian defence ministry deem the US decision to quit the ABM Treaty as a mistake and have no intention to take any tough measures with regard to this move. Russian defence minister Sergei Ivanov said as much at a meeting with Colonel General Nikolai Solovets, chief commander of the Strategic Missile Force /SMF/. First of all, I'd like to emphasise that the defence ministry does not plan to take any hasty, open or secret, measures in response to the US withdrawal from the Treaty, Ivanov stressed. He also reminded the audience that plans of the SMF development had been drafted long before the United States made such a decision. Sergei Ivanov re-affirmed that the US decision in no way influenced national military security of Russia. The minister acknowledged, however, that the US unilateral pullout created some vacuum from the viewpoint of strategic stability. We expect this vacuum to be filled in, including with the help of a Russia-US treaty seeking to drastically cut strategic offensive weapons under strict international control and verification, the defence minister said.