BRUSSELS, December 4. /TASS/. The NATO Foreign Ministers have urged Russia to urgently return to full and verifiable compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), pointing out that it is now up to Moscow to preserve the deal, according to a statement issued on Tuesday.
"We call on Russia to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance. It is now up to Russia to preserve the INF Treaty," reads the statement. The diplomats stated that they "strongly support the finding of the United States that Russia is in material breach of its obligations under the INF Treaty." Russia has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security, the NATO Foreign Ministers added citing the US finding.
In the meantime, the NATO Foreign Ministers have once again expressed confidence that the US "fully abides by the Treaty."
US President Donald Trump publicly announced plans to pull out of the INF Treaty on October 20 and October 22. Washington has not yet handed over an official notification on the issue to Moscow. However, Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton, said on October 31 that this notification would follow "in due course".
US Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, Andrea Thompson, said on November 15 that the US administration has not made a final decision as of yet on whether Washington should withdraw from the INF Treaty.
The first time that the US had accused Russia of violating the INF Treaty was back in July 2014. After that Washington has repeated its allegations several times, with which Moscow does not agree, striking back at Washington with counterclaims.
The INF Treaty was signed between the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987 in Washington, DC and took effect on June 1, 1988. 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.