MOSCOW, October 28. /TASS/. Moscow urges NATO to carefully study Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement on de-escalating tension around the deployment of intermediate-and shorter range missiles and his proposal on mutual inspections of facilities that cause the parties’ concern, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a commentary on Wednesday.
"We are urging at least to carefully study and analyze the Russian initiative for the beginning. We are ready to explain our proposals. We are still open for constructive work on minimizing the negative consequences of the collapse of the INF [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] Treaty on the basis of the principles of equal and indivisible security and the respect for the balance of the parties’ interests. We expect NATO members, in particular, Germany, to display responsibility," the ministry said.
Putin’s statement stipulates practical measures that would help remove the concerns of both Russia and NATO countries, the commentary says.
In this regard, Russia’s Foreign Ministry called "at least strange" the claims by German Foreign Ministry Spokesman Andrea Sasse that there was nothing new in the Russian initiative.
The statement by the German Foreign Ministry's spokesman that Russia allegedly quit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty at its sole discretion is "fundamentally wrong," the commentary says.
"Russia took no action to leave the treaty. It was the United States that unilaterally pulled out of the agreement, thus terminating it. In the meantime, Russia remained committed to the INF Treaty throughout its period of operation and systematically exerted efforts for preserving it up to the last moment. For the sake of resolving the existing counter-claims, we put forward a number of initiatives, which, if implemented, would have certainly allowed for preserving the treaty," Russia's Foreign Ministry stressed.
The INF Treaty banning Moscow and Washington from possessing land-based ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 km to 5,500 km was signed in 1987 and was terminated in August 2019. in September 2019, it was announced that Putin had put forward a proposal to the leaders of a number of countries, including NATO member states, to introduce a moratorium on deploying such missiles in Europe and other regions but the United States actually rejected this initiative.
On October 26, Putin reaffirmed Russia’s commitment to the moratorium on deploying land-based intermediate-and shorter-range missiles as long as "US-made missiles of similar classes are absent from the respective regions."
Putin also stressed the importance of Russia’s call on NATO countries for declaring a reciprocal moratorium and stated Moscow’s readiness "for further steps to minimize the negative consequences of the INF Treaty’s collapse, based on the principles of equal and indivisible security and respect for the balance of the parties’ interests."
The Russian president also proposed specific measures for de-escalating the situation.