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INF Treaty still salvageable, says Russian diplomat

A diplomat says there is still a chance to save the INF Treaty
Russian foreign ministry Roman Kanashuk/TASS
Russian foreign ministry
© Roman Kanashuk/TASS

GENEVA, April 24. /TASS/. There is still a chance to save the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty) despite its violations by the US, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department Vladimir Yermakov said in Geneva on Tuesday.

"We reaffirm our commitment to the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles," he said at a session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

According to Yermakov, "the US has violated the INF Treaty for years and, while trying to lay the burden of responsibility on Russia, it hereby seeks to somehow justify its desire to dismantle this treaty." "We would like to hope that there is still a chance to rescue the INF Treaty, and the US will be able to demonstrate the political will required for that," he stressed.

He also pointed to "Washington’s departure from the line aimed at ratifying the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)" and attempts to create conditions for their resumption. The Russian diplomat stressed that Washington’s actions deal a serious blow to that treaty creating an alarming situation in nuclear non-proliferation. "If other countries the CTBT’s entry into force depends on toe Washington’s line, that will pave the way for an unbridled arms race," Yermakov warned.

The United States for the first time accused Russia of violating the INF Treaty back in July 2014. Washington has since repeated this claim more than once. Moscow emphatically dismissed it saying US charges lacked details. For its part, Russia has hit back at the US with counterclaims that Washington violates the INF Treaty.

The INF Treaty was signed in Washington on December 8, 1987, and took effect on June 1, 1988. The INF Treaty eliminated operational and non-operational medium range (1,000-5,500 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers) ground-launched missiles. By June 1991, the Soviet Union had eliminated 1,846 missiles, while the United States rolled back its arsenal to 846.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 1996 was signed by 183 states and ratified by 166 countries, including Russia. However, the treaty has not yet entered into force because eight countries possessing nuclear weapons or having the potential to create them (Egypt, Israel, India, Iran, China, North Korea, Pakistan and the US) have not joined it. The treaty bans all nuclear explosions, for both civilian and military purposes, in all environments (in the atmosphere, in outer space, under water and below ground).