MOSCOW, December 5. /TASS/. The Kremlin believes that Washington manipulates the facts, accusing Russia of breaching the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, but its true goal is to withdraw from the arms control deal, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
"This is whipping up tensions and manipulating the facts in order to use them to disguise the US true goals of leaving the INF," Peskov said.
US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced on Tuesday at the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels that the US would stop adhering to the treaty unless Russia returned to compliance with it within 60 days. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance gave Russia the last chance to save the arms control deal but "must also start preparing for a world without the Treaty." The NATO foreign ministers passed a statement expressing full support for the US steps and placed the responsibility for the INF Treaty’s future on Russia.
On October 20, US President Donald Trump said that Washington would withdraw from the INF Treaty because Russia had allegedly violated it. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov called this decision a dangerous move. Berlin and Beijing criticized Washington, London voiced its support for the US, while NATO laid the blame for Trump’s decision on Russia.
The INF deal was concluded on December 8, 1987, and took effect on June 1, 1988. It applies to deployed and non-deployed ground-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers). In recent years, Washington has repeatedly accused Russia of violating the treaty. Moscow strongly dismissed the accusations and voiced its own counterclaims against Washington’s non-compliance.