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US remains committed to arms control despite INF treaty ultimatum — ambassador

December 07, 3:13 UTC+3 WASHINGTON

"But we need a reliable partner, and do not have one in Russia on INF," Jon Huntsman added

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US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman

US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman

© Anton Balashov/TASS

WASHINGTON, December 7. /TASS/. The US decision to unilaterally terminate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty does not mean that Washington withdraws from its arms control commitments, US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman said on Thursday.

"This also does not mean we are walking away from arms control. We are doing this to preserve the viability and integrity of arms control agreements more broadly," the US diplomat said. "We remain committed to arms control."

"But we need a reliable partner, and do not have one in Russia on INF," Huntsman added.

INF Treaty issue

Back in July 2014, Washington accused Moscow for the first time of violating the INF Treaty, which was signed in Washington on December 8, 1987, and took effect on June 1, 1988. Since then, the US has repeated this claim more than once.

Russia strongly dismissed the accusations and struck back at the US with counterclaims, saying the United States also has been blatantly violating the treaty by deploying at its bases in Europe multi-purpose Mk-41 vertical launching systems, which can also be used to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles. Besides, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Col. Gen. Alexander Fomin said in mid-August that Washington had made a decision earlier this year to finance a project to build mobile launching systems for land-based cruise missiles with the range of 500-5,500 km, which also fall under the treaty’s limits.

On December 4, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said after the meeting of NATO defense ministers that his country would stop honoring its commitments under the treaty, if Russia fails to return to compliance with that accord within 60 days. Russian President Vladimir Putin replied on December 5 that Washington has failed to present any evidence of Russia’s non-compliance. He added that although Moscow would like to have the treaty preserved, it would adequately respond if the US chooses to terminate it unilaterally.

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