Majority of Russians do not believe US accusations of INF violations

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MOSCOW, Russia – A total of 74% of Russian citizens believe that Washington’s allegations of violations of Russia in the Middle East Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) are unfounded. This was revealed by a survey conducted by the Russian Center for Public Opinion (VtsIOM), released on Monday.

On Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States had suspended its obligations under the INF Treaty and had started a process of withdrawal that would last for six months, unless Russia fulfilled its obligations to the pact again. Moscow, in response to the measures and accusations it considers untrue, suspended its participation in the Treaty.

The survey results indicate that only 12% of respondents rated the charges as reasonable. Meanwhile, 66 percent of respondents believe that Russian accusations of US violations within the INF are fact-based, and another 18 percent believe otherwise.

According to the survey, 63% of Russians want the Russian government to make efforts to preserve the Treaty and 21% believe that the position should be contrary to the agreement. The survey also revealed that 84% of respondents were aware of the arms deal.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents were aware of Washington’s intentions to leave the agreement. When asked which side of the agreement would be most interested in preserving the treaty, 33% said it was Russia and 10% said it was the United States.

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Still, 29% said that both sides had the same interest in ensuring the agreement, while 15% believed that neither the US nor Russia is interested in maintaining INF.

The survey was conducted on January 22, 2019 and heard 1,600 people aged 18 years or over. The margin of error of the survey is 2.5%.

The INF Treaty, signed in 1987 by the then Soviet Union and also by the United States, banned all ballistic land missiles ranging between 498 km (310 miles) and 5,471 km (3,400 miles). The US accuses Russia of producing weapons that violate the agreement, while Moscow denies the allegations that there is no evidence to support them.

Russia also complains that US defense systems in Europe are equipped with launchers capable of launching cruise missiles that violate the agreement.

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