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US pushing world to another Cuban Missile Crisis - Russian MP

Alexei Pushkov commented on the Trump's initiative to withdraw from the INF Treaty

BELGRADE, October 22. /TASS/. The United States is pushing the world towards another missile crisis like the one of October 1962, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Sunday.

"If, having withdrawn from the IBM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) Treaty, the United States (and all this is happening through its initiative) will withdraw from the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty and will not extend the New START Treaty, we will find ourselves at ground zero, at a point that led to the Cuban Missile Crisis," Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the commission for information policy and relations with the media of Russia’s Federation Council upper parliament house, told TASS.

"The danger is that the United States is pushing the world to another Cuban Missile Crisis. Back then we were lucky to avoid an exchange of nuclear strikes, and only God knows what all this may end up in now," he said.

"As for [US President Donald] Trump’s statement, I want to say two things. We remember situations when Trump uttered some statements but they were followed by nothing. So, it is too early to say that the United States has already withdrawn from the treaty. But, naturally, such things are to be tackled seriously when they are announced by the president. Second, it is a very dangerous step as it is the second blow on the system of strategic stability and nuclear security which was regulated by three most important agreements between Moscow and Washington. They are the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty). These are the three pillars supporting global nuclear stability," he said.

"The United States withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2001. If Trump’s decision is irreversible and will be realized in reality, it will mean that the United States is quitting the second of the three vital treaties, with only New START staying in place. I know that there are politicians in the United States who think that the New START should also be abandoned. Its term expires in 2021. In case the United States withdraws from this treaty, we will find ourselves in a situation of the cold war when we had no treaties at all and when there was no regulation of nuclear arms race," Pushkov stressed.

On Saturday, US President Donald Trump said that Washington would withdraw from the INF Treaty because Russia was violating the terms of the agreement. At the same time, he did not rule out signing a new agreement on intermediate-range nuclear forces with Moscow and Beijing if Russia and China provide guarantees of halting the production of such weapons.

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).

The US accused Russia of violating the treaty for the first time in July 2014. Since then, Washington has been repeating its claims on many occasions, while Moscow has been rejecting them and advancing counter-claims concerning the implementation of the treaty by the US side, such as testing longer-range missiles and deploying elements of its missile defense system that could be used to launch intermediate-range missiles.

US’ 43rd President George Bush Jr. formally notified about Washington’s withdrawal from the IBM Treaty on December 13, 2001. The country officially withdrew from it on H=June 13, 2002.