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US has been violating INF Treaty for years, says Russian defense ministry spokesman

The Russian ministry categorically denies "ungrounded allegations about Russia’s violating its liabilities under this treaty", the spokesman recalled

MOSCOW, February 7. /TASS/. The United States has been violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) for years, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Thursday.

"We would like to stress that the United States has been violating provisions of the INF Treaty for years and has actually created all the conditions for the production of missiles banned by the treaty," he said, adding that the American side has been doing nothing to eliminate violations of its own liabilities under the treaty.

"The Russian defense ministry categorically denies ungrounded allegations about Russia’s violating its liabilities under this treaty. The United States’ statements have nothing to do with the real state of things," he stressed.

Last Friday, US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that Washington would suspend its liabilities under the INF Treaty starting February 2 and would quit it within six months if Russia did not come into compliance with the agreement.

A day later, on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded in kind, saying that Moscow would suspend the Cold War-era treaty. Moreover, he told the ministers not to initiate disarmament talks with Washington, underscoring that the United States should become "mature enough" for equal and meaningful dialogue. Putin pointed out that Russia would start work on the development of new weapons in response to US similar steps. In particular, work will start on a new hypersonic ground-launched medium-range missile.

The US began accusing Russia of breaking the treaty in July 2014. Since then, Washington has been repeating its allegations on many occasions, whereas Moscow has been rejecting them and advancing counter-claims concerning the implementation of the treaty by the US.

The INF, or the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, Treaty was signed between the former Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987 and entered into force on June 1, 1988. In 1992, following the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the treaty was multilateralized with the former Soviet republics - Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine - as successors. The INF Treaty covered deployed and non-deployed ground-based short-range missiles (from 500 to 1,000 kilometers) and intermediate-range missiles (from 1,000 to 5,500 kilometers).