Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said he fears “things will turn nasty” should the US decision spark a new arms race at a time of increasing global tensions. The US and Soviet Union signed the INF treaty in 1987 in an historic move that effectively removed nuclear weapons from Europe and signalled the beginning of the end of the Cold War.
But Donald Trump has pulled the US out of the accord after accusing Russia of committing repeated violations and Mr Lukashenko fears the security of Belarus could be compromised as a result.
He said: “It is a catastrophe, particularly for us.
“I am afraid the Americans will grab the fleeting opportunity and deploy the missiles in Europe after breaking the treaty.
“If they do, things will turn nasty for us, too. Because together with Russia, we will have to think of reciprocal measures.”
He continued: “It would be unavoidable if this happened. It would be even worse if, God forbid, missiles were deployed in Ukraine.
“This is why I am wholeheartedly against dissolving the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
“We pursue a peace-loving policy. We don’t need scuffles between major powers, from which, judging from history, we’ve always suffered.
“This is why we don’t need this slaughter, this fight, particularly now around the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.”
Mr Lukashenko said he believes NATO is keen to deploy missiles in Europe.
He said: “It seems to me that although NATO claims they are not going to deploy these missiles in Europe, they are running a bluff.
“Otherwise, why would they withdraw? Why did they have to destroy this treaty?
“They should have come to terms with China and make it part of the treaty if China was the focus of it.”