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Russian Defense Ministry suggests US eliminate ground-based MK 41 launching systems

The US defense attache has been summoned to receive the ministry's note

MOSCOW, February 7. /TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry proposes the United States to destroy the MK 41 launching systems, target missiles and drones that violate the INF Treaty, the US defense attache has been summoned to receive the note, Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Thursday.

"The Russian Defense Ministry is inviting the US side, in the period prior to the termination of the INF Treaty, to take the necessary measures to return to strict compliance with the Treaty by destroying the ground-based MK 41 launching systems developed for launching Tomahawk cruise missiles, target missiles with characteristics similar to ground-based medium-and shorter-range missiles, destroying strike unmanned aerial vehicles falling within the definition of the ground-based missile term envisaged by the Treaty," the Defense Ministry said.

"The defense attache at the US Embassy in Moscow has been invited to the Russian Defense Ministry to be handed a note," the ministry stressed.

INF Treaty

On Friday, US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF Treaty starting February 2. Washington is determined to withdraw from the Treaty in six months' time unless Russia returns to "real and verifiable" compliance.

On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was likewise suspending its involvement in the treaty. He handed down instructions to refrain from initiating talks with Washington on the issue and stressed that the US needed to show readiness for an equal and substantive dialogue.

The US accused Russia of violating the treaty for the first time in July 2014. Since then, Washington has repeated its claims on numerous occasions, while Moscow has flatly denied them advancing counter-claims concerning compliance with the treaty.

The INF Treaty signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987, entered into force on June 1, 1988. It 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). By June 1991, the parties fulfilled their obligations under the treaty. The Soviet Union destroyed 1,846 missiles, and the United States - 846.