GENEVA, January 15. /TASS/. Moscow has offered to take a series of measures to raise Washington’s grievances concerning the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) in return for steps in relation to unmanned aerial vehicles, target missiles and the Mk-41 launching systems, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters on Tuesday, following Russian-US consultations on the INF Treaty in Geneva.
"We took advantage of today’s consultations to suggest a series of specific measures aimed at ensuring transparency in connection with the 9M729 missile that in our view would make it possible to raise any US grievances concerning the missile’s inconsistency with the Treaty," he said. "However, we are only ready to ensure this level of transparency if the US shows similar willingness to remove our concerns in relation to the use of target missiles, combat drones and the possible use of the Mk-41 launching systems in Europe for launching not only interceptor missiles but also cruise missiles and even ballistic ones," the senior Russian diplomat pointed out.
INF Treaty situation
The INF Treaty, signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987, 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 the recent years, Washington has been repeatedly accusing Russia of violating the treaty. Moscow strongly dismissed the accusations and voiced its own claims concerning Washington’s non-compliance.
On October 20, 2018, US President Donald Trump said that Washington would pull out of the INF Treaty because Russia had allegedly violated it. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said it was a dangerous move. Berlin and Beijing criticized Washington, while London voiced its support for the US, and NATO laid the blame for Trump’s decision on Russia.
US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said on December 4, 2018, that Washington would suspend its obligations under the Treaty unless Moscow returned to "full and verifiable" compliance within 60 days. On December 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters that Washington had not provided evidence proving Moscow’s violations of the document. He also said that Russia called for maintaining the Treaty but if the United States pulled out of it, Moscow would have to give an appropriate response.