Cuba Soviet ships
© Global Look Press / Schulman-Sachs
Soviet ships en route to Cuba, 1962.
Washington will provoke explosive tensions, reminiscent of the darkest moments of the Cold War, if it sends missiles close to Russia's border after suspending the INF Treaty, a senior diplomat in Moscow warned.

If Washington deploys short or mid-range ground-based missiles along Russia's borders, the situation "will not only become complicated, it will escalate to the maximum level," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told lawmakers on Monday.

"We can end up in a missile crisis not just similar to the one we had in the 1980s, but to the Cuban Missile Crisis [in 1962]."

The diplomat was commenting on the demise of the landmark 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) between Moscow and Washington. The deal banned owning and testing of all ground-based missiles with a range of up to 5,500km (3,420 miles), as well as their launchers.

Last year, the US announced the suspension of its obligations under the treaty, alleging that Russia secretly violates it. Moscow strongly denied the allegations and accused the US of conducting tests, illegal under the INF Treaty, which Washington likewise denied. In February, Russia suspended its participation in the agreement in "a mirror response" to the US' actions.

Speaking on Monday, Ryabkov said that Moscow stands ready to continue taking "a responsible approach" to the situation but will do everything to "firmly maintain its own national security and the security of our allies in the changing environment."