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Washington’s demand for eliminating 9M729 missile unacceptable for Russia, says Moscow

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stressed that the 9M729 cruise missile issue will provide another chance for dialogue with the US to save the INF deal

KUBINKA /Moscow Region/, January 23. /TASS/. The United States’ demand for Russia’s verifiable elimination of all cruise missiles 9M729 are absolutely unacceptable for Russia, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told a joint news briefing by the Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry devoted to the 9M729 missile on Wednesday.

"The US delegation arrived in Geneva for inter-departmental consultations over the INF Treaty with the sole purpose: to read out statements written in advance to the effect that Russia rejects the ultimatum demanding our unilateral concessions implying verifiable elimination of all 9M729 missiles, their launchers and related equipment," he said. "Naturally, this kind of approach by no means looks like a diligent attempt at achieving a solution that would suit both sides and is absolutely unacceptable for us in gist and content.".

He stressed that Russia will demonstrate the 9M729 cruise missile to representatives of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), BRICS, the European Union and NATO.

"Representatives of CSTO states, BRICS, the European Union and NATO have been invited for the event today, along with representatives of certain other European and Asian countries," the diplomat said. "We set ourselves a task to provide foreign experts with an opportunity to make a true picture on their own," Ryabkov said.

The diplomat also expressed hope that explanations concerning the 9M729 cruise missile will give another chance to dialogue with the US on preserving the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

"We expect that the objective technical data provided by us and the arguments that have been cited will lead to the intensification of the thought process in the US, which will help give another chance to a dialogue aimed at preserving the INF Treaty. For our part, we continue to be ready for such work. It should be done with the mandatory mutual consideration of both parties’ interests and concerns and without any counterproductive ultimatums," he said.

"The treaty needs to be preserved. It is up to the American side to make the choice," Ryabkov stressed.