MOSCOW, Russia – According to the Russian Foreign Minister, Russia is ready to try and save the Treaty of Intermediate Nuclear Forces.
At the same time, he noted that Russia will not ignore the emergence of new US missiles in case of its exit from the INF Treaty and could strengthen its defense potential.
“We have to warn: we cannot and will not ignore the emergence of new US missiles that pose a threat to us and our allies. There should be no doubt that we have what is necessary to guarantee our own security, besides being able to strengthen our defense potential,” Lavrov said.
The abandonment of the treaty by the US could seriously undermine international security and strategic stability, he added.
“However, Russia, like any rational country, has no interest in the arms race and in a new ‘missile crisis’,” said Russia’s foreign minister.
According to him, if there are still forces in the US that advocate using Washington’s advanced pause to find ways to save the INF Treaty, “we will be open to it.”
“We appeal to abandon the attempts of blackmail and the repetition of unfounded accusations, in favor of constructive work on the mutual concerns that exist. We officially proposed to begin this work in the recent letter of Sergei Shoigu to the head of the Pentagon; repeatedly asked to begin a professional dialogue on the INF Treaty and the contacts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the Department of State. For now, there is no response,” he said.
According to him, at the Helsinki summit on July 16, Russia made concrete proposals regarding strategic stability and arms control.
“Unfortunately, on the US side, we do not see the will to negotiate with us. They flee from dialogue, do not offer any guarantees. We are ready to work in various formats with the participation of all countries that recognize their responsibility for peace and security,” said the minister.
The US political line, which leads to an arms race, could provoke a situation in which the cost of a mistake would be fatal, the Russian diplomat emphasized.
“We have to realize that Washington and its allies, insisting on their own geopolitical ambitions, are not ready to adapt to global realities, which are not changing in their favor. Hence the desire to restrict these processes in every way and a greater aggression in foreign affairs than before. The confrontation escalates, channels of dialogue are frozen,” said the minister, noting that steps to destroy the major international agreements on strategic stability are particularly worrisome.
The Russian minister stressed that this line of confrontation based on force will inevitably lead to a greater imbalance of global security architecture and contributes to the arms race.
A war between Russia and the US could be catastrophic for humanity, Lavrov emphasized.
“I think everybody in the world understands well: an armed conflict involving the two main nuclear powers – Russia and the United States – will have catastrophic consequences for humanity. There is no doubt that there will be no winners in a nuclear war and that it will should never be triggered,” he said.
Lavrov added that despite different positions, Russia and Western countries have a huge share of responsibility for the future of humanity and called on Western leaders to act predictably and strictly comply with international law.
The minister noted that as the US election campaign of 2020 approaches, some politicians in Washington will try to pull the “Russian letter” out of the sleeve even more insistently.
“I hope this does not further weaken bilateral relations, whose status is no longer the best,” he said.
The main problem of Russian-American relations, according to the Russian minister, is that, for the US establishment, they have no value in themselves, Russia is seen as an object, which is demonized to discipline Europe and maintain the Euro-Atlantic bond.
“We value the relations we have established with any country, and we are willing to act in the same way with the US. The potential for constructive bilateral interaction is immense, I think our people deserve better than what we have now,” Lavrov said.
As for high-level contacts, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires that he is open to meeting with the US president as soon as the US side is ready. It is still difficult to say where and when this meeting could happen, he concluded.