MOSCOW, Russia – Moscow will maintain no obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), if the United States forsakes it, said Vladimir Ermakov, head of the Department of Non-Proliferation and Armaments Control at the Russian Foreign Ministry.
“Washington must take into account that if the US leaves the INF Treaty, this agreement will no longer be in force and all responsibility for the destruction of one of the pillars of strategic stability will be with the United States,” he said.
In his words, this is precisely what Moscow is now trying to explain to Washington and perhaps “at least this will cause the North American side to sensibly assess the situation and not destroy the INF Treaty, which remains one of the positive examples of nuclear disarmament and of missiles.”
At the same time, the diplomat indicated that the United States had drawn up plans to withdraw from the agreement in the early 2000s, immediately after Washington had abandoned the ABM treaty.
“In the last two decades, we have tried to persuade them not to do so. When enough serious violations on the part of the Americans have accumulated that are incompatible with the treaty, they have decided not to take responsibility for the destruction of the INF, but to blame Russia,” he explained.
Recently, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States would suspend its membership of the INF Treaty in 60 days unless Russia returned to full compliance with the agreement. Russia has repeatedly denied that it violated the treaty.
In that connection, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters that the United States has not yet provided any evidence to support allegations that Russia is violating the INF Treaty. Putin also said that if the United States wants to develop weapons prohibited by the agreement, Russia will follow suit.
The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 between the Soviet Union and the United States. The agreement obliges the parties to destroy their ballistic and cruise missiles launched from the ground, with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.