Sat Apr 29, 2017 6:15PM
The file photo shows a view of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The file photo shows a view of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Russia has criticized the United States for deploying ballistic missile systems in Romania and plans for placing similar systems in Poland, saying the deployments would violate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INFT) signed between the US and the Soviet Union in late 1980s.

"The undeniable fact is that this is a gross violation of the INFT obligations," Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The US began operating its land-based missile system in Romania in 2016, a mission which has reportedly cost USD 800 million. Washington also plans to deploy a similar system in Poland.

Washington has defended the deployments as a bid to protect itself and Europe from what it calls Russia’s ‘threats.’ The US military buildup in Eastern Europe is, however, perceived as an effort to curb Russia’s influence.

Polish and US soldiers look at a Patriot missile battery during joint exercises at the military grounds in Sochaczew, near Warsaw, March 21, 2015. (Photo by Reuters)

In 1987, the US and the Soviet Union signed the INFT, which required them to eliminate their nuclear and conventional short- and medium-range missiles.

Tensions have been high between the US and Russia since a conflict began in Ukraine three years ago.

Washington and its allies have imposed several rounds of economic sanctions on Moscow since the strategic Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, controlled by Ukraine, rejoined Russia following a referendum in March 2014.

The West also accuses Russia of involvement in a conflict in Ukraine’s eastern region. Russia denies the allegation, maintaining that the US and its allies are using the crisis in Ukraine to contain Russia’s increasing power in the region.