VIENNA, December 8. /TASS/. All charges Russia is in breach of the intermediate nuclear force (INF) treaty with the United States are groundless and unworthy of attention, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference in Vienna following a meeting of the OSCE foreign ministers.
"I just see no reasons for us to commit any violations. The media writes (about these violations - TASS) without providing any evidence. Possibly, it’s not worth spending any time on this. President Vladimir Putin has more than once confirmed out commitment to the INF treaty."
Lavrov looked back on the history of the INF treaty.
"When the treaty was signed, the Soviet Union had only ground-launched intermediate range missiles, while the United States’ missiles were ground-, air-and sea-launched. By signing the treaty that outlawed and eliminated such ground-based missiles we disarmed ourselves to a large extent," he explained. Since then, he added, the efforts to upgrade the Russian armed forces have produced both sea-and air-launched missiles not prohibited under that treaty.
For the first time the United States accused Russia of violating the INF treaty in July 2014. Washington then repeated the charges more than once. Moscow strongly denied this, saying that the US accusations lacked specific facts. In turn, Russia has addressed the US with counter-charges regarding its compliance with the INF Treaty.
The INF Treaty was signed in Washington 30 years ago, on December 8, to take effect on June 1, 1988. In 1992, in the wake of the Soviet Union’s breakup the treaty turned multilateral, as Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine joined in (until the elimination of the missiles of this class). The INF Treaty applied to operational and non-operational ground-launched missiles having an intermediate range (1,000 to 5,500 kilometers) and shorter range (from 500 to 1,000 kilometers). The Soviet Union eliminated 1,846 missiles, and the United States, 846.