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US pullout from INF treaty would endanger nuclear arms control — analyst

June 28, 14:56 UTC+3 MOSCOW

A Russian expert comments on possible US' pullout from the INF treaty

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© AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

MOSCOW, June 28. /TASS/. The United States’ pullout from the treaty on the elimination of intermediate and shorter range missiles would be fraught with the risk of non-prolongation of the New START treaty and the collapse of the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons NPT, the science doyen of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute for US and Canadian Studies, Sergei Rogov, said at a round-table meeting at the Federation Council (upper house of the Russian parliament) devoted to the prospects of preserving the INF treaty.

"The situation is very grave. There are great risks the INF treaty may have the same plight as the ABM treaty. This may happen as early as next year," Rogov said. "In a situation like this it is very unlikely the New START may be preserved and continue to exist in vacuum. Its prolongation will turn out absolutely incredible," he believes.

Rogov warns this will be tantamount to the collapse of the nuclear arms control architecture Russia and the United States created at a certain point.

"But the NPT treaty would go down the drain, too. In a multipolar world free-for-all rivalry will begin, and this will be extremely dangerous," he concluded.

Background

In recent years Russia and the United States developed disagreements over compliance with the INF treaty of 1987. Either side accuses the other of being in breach of the treaty. Moscow has said more than once it wishes the agreement to say in effect.

In 2014, the United States accused Russia of developing a missile having a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. In 2017, US media mentioned the missile 9M729 (NATO’s reporting name SSC-8). Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that "the ground-based cruise missile 9M729 matches the terms of the treaty" and that the US side "failed to mention any specific instances of violations."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the United States tended to interpret very loosely the gist of the commitments under the treaty whenever it felt they were an obstruction to creating weapon systems it regarded as important.

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