Russia’s nuclear forces
© Sputnik / Russia’s Defense Ministry
Russia’s nuclear forces in training.
Accusations by Washington that Moscow had violated the INF Treaty were actually an attempt by the US to obtain classified data on missile projects that were developed by Russia, the country's deputy foreign minister has said.

In view of those accusations, Moscow "received several question lists" from the US, according to Sergey Ryabkov.

"The subject of many questions by the Americans far exceeded Russia's obligations as part of the treaty, and were rightly perceived by us as an attempt to 'scan' our newest missile developments," he told a briefing in Moscow.

The Americans even pressed Russia to reveal the dates on which tests of a certain class of missile were carried out, "so that the US side could themselves pinpoint the questionable launches," he added. "In other words, for a long time we were asked to 'solve the puzzle' from various scattered elements and then to name the missile, which the US believed didn't conform with the INF Treaty."

The deputy foreign minister said that such an approach was about making Russia "confess to the violation, which it did not commit." Moscow had no other choice but to "reject such an intrusive attempt."

At the same, the Americans "haven't presented any real piece of evidence confirming our violations of the INF Treaty," Ryabkov pointed out.

Russia has no munitions that violate the INF Treaty, he confirmed. The 9М729 missile, which was the subject of concern from Washington, wasn't developed or tested to reach the distances outlawed by the accord, he added.

Despite the US clearly being out of line, Moscow still "showed some transparency in the spirit of good will," but this didn't change the American stance in any way, the Russian diplomat said.

"They have decided everything for themselves a long time ago, the only thing they wanted from Russia is a confession of its guilt," he added.

Comment: That's an accurate assessment. The U.S. has become what they used to hate: just like the Soviets, they presume guilt, their sense of justice is barbaric, and they use torture to coerce confessions for pre-determined guilt.

In late October, Donald Trump warned that Washington was considering unilateral withdrawal from the INF Treaty because "Russia has not adhered to the agreement," either in form or in spirit. However, the announcement hasn't yet been followed by any concrete steps. The US leader also promised that the country would keep boosting its nuclear arsenal until Russia and China "come to their senses."

Ryabkov warned that, with the course of action chosen by the US administration, "we can't exclude a collapse of the whole system of arms control, which took decades to build."

However, the deputy FM affirmed that Russia's nuclear doctrine remains unchanged and is purely defensive in nature. There are only two "hypothetical scenarios" in which nuclear arms could be used by Russia, he explained. "The first one is the use of nuclear weapons or other types of weapons of mass destruction against Russia. The second is an [act of] aggression against Russia with the use of conventional weapons on such a scale that the very existence of our state is threatened."

The situation around the INF Treaty will be discussed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump when they meet on the sidelines of the upcoming G20 summit in Argentina, Ryabkov said.