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Putin: INF Treaty outdated but US used far-fetched pretexts to withdraw from it

As the Russian leader noted, "the US unilateral withdrawal from the INF Treaty remains the most pressing and discussed issue" of bilateral relations

MOSCOW, February 20. /TASS/. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty has become outdated but the United States has used far-fetched accusations against Russia to withdraw from it, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his annual Address to both houses of the national parliament on Wednesday.

As the Russian leader noted, "the US unilateral withdrawal from the INF Treaty remains the most pressing and discussed issue of the Russian-American relations today."

"Yes, indeed, serious changes have taken place in the world since the treaty was concluded in 1987," the head of the Russian state said.

"Many countries developed and continue developing these armaments while Russia and the United States have not done this as we have voluntarily imposed restrictions on ourselves. This state of affairs, of course, can raise questions," the Russian leader said.

"But the American partners should have said this honestly instead of using far-fetched accusations against Russia for substantiating their unilateral withdrawal from the treaty," Putin stressed.

"They should have better done this like they did in 2002 when they openly and honestly withdrew from the ABM Treaty. It is another question of whether this is good or bad. I believe this is bad but they did this and that’s all and they should have acted likewise in this case - they should have acted precisely honestly," the Russian leader said.

"But how are they acting in actual fact? They are themselves violating everything and then looking for justification and finding culprits," the Russian president said.

"What’s more, they are also mobilizing their satellites," Putin said.

Launchers in Europe

The United States blatantly ignored the provisions of the INF Treaty by deploying missile launchers in Romania and Poland, Putin said.

"The US first started developing and using intermediate range missiles it deceitfully called targets for missile defenses. Then it began to deploy the Mk-41 universal launchers in Europe, capable of using Tomahawk intermediate range cruise missiles for combat purposes," he said.

"By doing all this, the United States blatantly ignored the provisions contained in articles 4 and 6 of the INF Treaty."

As the Russian leader said, pursuant to point 1, article 4 of the INF Treaty, "each Party shall eliminate all its intermediate-range missiles and launchers of such missiles, so that no such missiles and launchers shall be possessed by either Party."

Point 1 of article 6 stipulates that "upon entry into force of this Treaty and thereafter, neither Party shall produce or flight-test any intermediate-range missiles or produce any stages of such missiles or any launchers of such missiles," the Russian leader stressed.

"By launching intermediate-range target missiles and deploying in Romania and Poland launchers capable of using Tomahawk cruise missiles, the US "has directly and flagrantly violated these requirements of the Treaty," Putin said.