Russia Rejects U.S. Demands on 9M729 Elimination
(Source: Forecast International; issued Jan 23, 2019)
Russia has rejected the U.S. demand for the elimination of the 9M729 cruise missile, as the two countries continue a spat over the INF Treaty.

Speaking at a briefing on the 9M729 missile, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, “The US delegation arrived in Geneva for inter-departmental consultations over the INF Treaty with the sole purpose to read out statements written in advance to the effect that Russia rejects the ultimatum demanding our unilateral concessions, implying verifiable elimination of all 9M729 missiles, their launchers and related equipment.”

He added, “Naturally, this kind of approach by no means looks like a diligent attempt at achieving a solution that would suit both sides and is absolutely unacceptable for us in gist and content.”

The U.S. and the Soviet Union signed the INF Treaty in 1987 and have remained compliant with its terms thereafter. The treaty eliminated ground-based launchers and missiles with ranges from 500 kilometers to 5,500 kilometers.

However, in recent years, the U.S. has claimed that a Russian missile under development is in violation of the treaty. According to the U.S., the Russian military flight-tested the 9M729 to a distance “well over” 500 kilometers from a fixed launcher – which is permissible under the agreement provided that the intention is to deploy the weapon at sea – and to distances under 500 kilometers from mobile launchers. Washington claims that, together, these two types of tests violate the INF Treaty’s provisions, as they indicate the system is for use on a ground-based launcher.

The U.S. has threatened to withdraw from the treaty in response and currently plans to leave on February 2, 2019.

On Wednesday, the Russian Defense and Foreign ministries jointly put on a briefing for foreign military attaches, displaying the 9M729 missile as well as its purported specifications. The missile was said to have a range of 480 kilometers, which is 10 kilometers less than the previous version, the 9M728.

Earlier in the week, the U.S. called on Russia to destroy the 9M729, but Moscow has thus far rejected the demands. The Russian government denies violating the INF Treaty and has urged the U.S. to negotiate on the matter. Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov noted, “The treaty needs to be preserved. It is up to the American side to make the choice.”

The negotiations “should be done with the mandatory mutual consideration of both parties’ interests and concerns and without any counterproductive ultimatums,” Ryabkov stressed.

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that, if the U.S. leaves the INF Treaty, Russia could put a ground-based missile launcher into service.


(EDITOR’S NOTE: Go to our “Word for Word” section for the Russian government’s Jan. 23 briefing to media and foreign military attachés on the 9M729 missile.)

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Washington’s Demand for Eliminating 9M729 Missile Unacceptable for Russia, Says Moscow
(Source: TASS; issued Jan 23, 2019)
KUBINKA, Moscow Region --- The United States’ demand for Russia’s verifiable elimination of all cruise missiles 9M729 are absolutely unacceptable for Russia, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told a joint news briefing by the Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry devoted to the 9M729 missile on Wednesday.

"The US delegation arrived in Geneva for inter-departmental consultations over the INF Treaty with the sole purpose: to read out statements written in advance to the effect that Russia rejects the ultimatum demanding our unilateral concessions implying verifiable elimination of all 9M729 missiles, their launchers and related equipment," he said. "Naturally, this kind of approach by no means looks like a diligent attempt at achieving a solution that would suit both sides and is absolutely unacceptable for us in gist and content.".

He stressed that Russia will demonstrate the 9M729 cruise missile to representatives of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), BRICS, the European Union and NATO.

"Representatives of CSTO states, BRICS, the European Union and NATO have been invited for the event today, along with representatives of certain other European and Asian countries," the diplomat said. "We set ourselves a task to provide foreign experts with an opportunity to make a true picture on their own," Ryabkov said.

The diplomat also expressed hope that explanations concerning the 9M729 cruise missile will give another chance to dialogue with the US on preserving the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

"We expect that the objective technical data provided by us and the arguments that have been cited will lead to the intensification of the thought process in the US, which will help give another chance to a dialogue aimed at preserving the INF Treaty. For our part, we continue to be ready for such work. It should be done with the mandatory mutual consideration of both parties’ interests and concerns and without any counterproductive ultimatums," he said.

"The treaty needs to be preserved. It is up to the American side to make the choice," Ryabkov stressed.

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Foreign Military Attaches, Media Get a Look at 9M729 for Iskander-M Launchers
(Source: TASS; issued Jan 23, 2019)
KUBINKA, Moscow Region --- The Russian Defense Ministry has demonstrated to foreign military attaches and Russian and foreign media the Iskander-M system armed with four 9M729 missiles and the missile’s transportation and launch container at a briefing held in the theme park Patriot.

"A special configuration of the self-propelled launcher was developed for the 9M729 missile. It accommodates four 9M729 missiles, while the previous launcher carries two 9M728 missiles," the commander of Russia’s Missile and Artillery Force, Lieutenant-General Mikhail Matveyevsky told a news briefing earlier.

He explained that the 9M729 missile was 530 mm longer than its predecessor, which required upgrading the Iskander-M launcher.

A source close to the event told TASS that US representatives did not attend Wednesday’s joint briefing of the Russian Foreign and Defense Ministries, which was dedicated to the 9M729 missile.

"There were no Americans at the briefing," the source said in response to a question.

The cruise missile 9M729 is a newer configuration of the cruise missile 9M728, which is part of the system Iskander-M. It was developed by the design bureau Novator in Yekaterinburg. The 9M729 missile has a higher yield warhead and a new control system for greater accuracy. Most parts and components of the 9M728 and 9M729 missiles are identical.

The United States claims that the range of the 9M729 missile exceeds the 500-kilometer restriction established under the INF Treaty. It demands that Russia should eliminate these missiles. Washington warns that otherwise it will quit the treaty.

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