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Dialogue with US on nuclear-missile weapons is Russia’s priority task, says expert

January 17, 16:42 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The US first accused Russia of violating the INF Treaty in July 2014

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© AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

MOSCOW, January 17. /TASS/. Russia and the United States should maintain cooperation on the issue of nuclear-missile weapons, this is a priority task, the director general of the Russian International Affairs Council said on Wednesday in comments on Russian-American relations.

"Our priority task is not to allow the Russian-American arms control regime break up completely. The most important task for today is to preserve the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), extend the New START treaty. Of course, this is also cooperation of Russia and the US on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, as well as efforts not to let the nuclear deal with Iran fail and to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula to the extent possible," said Andrei Kortunov.

"I think we must try to extend the existing spheres of cooperation, to restore communication channels, which is what our Ambassador in Washington, Mr. Antonov, is actively engaged in. Evidently, we have possibilities for cooperation within multilateral organizations," the political analyst said.

The US first accused Russia of violating the INF Treaty in July 2014. Since then, Washington has repeatedly voiced these accusations, to which Russia strongly objected, noting that US furnished no concrete facts in its statements. Russia is advancing counterclaims to the US as to its abidance by the treaty.

The INF Treaty was concluded in Washington on December 8, 1987 and took effect on June 1, 1988. In 1992, in the wake of the Soviet Union’s breakup, the treaty turned multilateral. Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine joined the United States and Russia as co-signatories (until the full elimination of their own missiles of the relevant class). The INF Treaty eliminated operational and non-operational medium range (1,000-5,500 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers) ground-launched missiles. The Soviet Union eliminated 1,846 missiles, and the United States, 846.

The New START treaty entered into force on February 5, 2011. It stipulates for the signatories to reduce their nuclear arsenal in such a manner that, seven years after its entry into effect, each had not more than a total of 700 deployed nuclear weapons-configured intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (ICBM and SLBM respectively) and strategic bombers, a total of 1,550 warheads for them and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed launchers on ICBMs, SLBMs and strategic bombers. The treaty is expected to be extended this year.

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