Russia to Retaliate If US Deploys Intermediate-Range Missiles to Asia

The US is eyeing a new missile system in the western Pacific to confront China

Russia said it would take measures if the US deployed medium-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific after a proposal to Congress from the US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) requested funds for a network of missiles in the region to confront China.

Moscow fears that this missile system could mean the US deploys weapons previously banned by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which the Trump administration withdrew from in 2019.

“The deployment of US intermediate and shorter-range missiles of whatever configuration in various parts of the world, including the Asia-Pacific region, would have an extremely destabilizing effect from the standpoint of international and regional security,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday. “The emergence of more missile threats will certainly entail our retaliation.”

The INF treaty prohibited land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500km to 5,500 km. INDOPACOM wants funds for what it describes as “highly survivable, precision-strike fires” that can “support the air and maritime maneuver from distances greater than 500 km,” suggesting they could be missiles previously banned by the INF.

INDOPACOM wants this missile system to be placed along the First Island Chain, which stretches from Okinawa down to Taiwan. Reports from Japanese media said the US and Japan could start negotiating housing these missiles on Japanese islands.

“We have drawn attention to reports in Japanese media that Tokyo and Washington could soon hold discussions on the prospects for the deployment of US missiles in Japan,” Zakharova said. “Judging by the context, the weapons being discussed are most likely those in the medium-range, ground-based category.”

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.