MOSCOW, Russia – US claims about Russia’s failure to comply with the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) are incorrect and provocative, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.
According to the diplomat, the current US stance on the treaty is incomprehensible to Russia. It is unclear whether Washington wants to end the treaty or wants to work to keep it in tandem with Russia.
“We do not understand the meaning of the current US stance: whether our colleagues in Washington want us to work to maintain the treaty, or whether they, after all, have definitely decided that after suspending the treaty – which was concretely and clearly announced that they are going to abandon it officially and completely during the last consultations [in Geneva]. We do not understand the US position on this issue,” he said.
Ryabkov underlined that Russia also has pretensions regarding the failure to observe the INF Treaty by Washington.
He recalled that the Russian claims are linked to “known problems with missile targets, drones, as well as Aegis Ashore systems facilities in Europe, where universal platforms can launch not only interceptor missiles but also land-based means of attack – whether they are cruise missiles or ballistic missiles. ”
“So putting the question of how Russia plans to comply with the treaty would be, on the US side, at least incorrect and, calling things by their real names, provocative,” the vice chancellor stressed.
He said that US claims about Russia’s non-observance of the INF Treaty are unfounded and that Washington continues to present its counterparts with false information about Russia’s alleged violation of the treaty.
On January 16, the US Deputy Secretary of State stated that the US will suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty on February 2 if Russia does not provide evidence that it is complying with the agreement.
The INF Treaty, signed by Washington and Moscow in 1987, has no expiration date and prohibits parties from having ballistic missiles or cruise missiles ranging between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.
In recent years, Moscow and Washington have regularly accused themselves of violating the INF Treaty. Russia has repeatedly stated that it strictly fulfills all the obligations of the terms of the agreement. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that Russia has serious questions about the implementation of the Treaty by the Americans themselves. According to him, the US charges are unfounded, since the 9M729 missile was tested within the scope allowed by the agreement.