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Russia ready for consultations with US on INF Treaty

Moscow is ready for dialogue, if the US is ready for dialogue, the diplomat stressed
Russian Foreign Ministry  Valery Sharifulin/TASS
Russian Foreign Ministry
© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

NEW DELHI, January 9. /TASS/. Moscow is ready for consultations with the United States on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty at the level of the military and diplomats, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters on Wednesday.

"We are deeply concerned about the situation around the Treaty. There are many chances that the United States will withdraw from the INF Treaty in the near future," Ryabkov said.

"Like earlier, we are ready for dialogue, if the US is ready for this," Ryabkov said. "We are ready for consultations at the level of the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry and the Security Councils," he said, noting that these consultations may be held in the format of a joint commission or in any form convenient for the US.

"If this happens tomorrow, we will be ready tomorrow. But this should be dialogue on an equal basis," the high-ranking diplomat said. "But all concerns may be resolved if dialogue is held on the basis of equality and mutual respect."

Situation around INF Treaty

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was signed between the former Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987 and entered into force on June 1, 1988. 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.

US President Donald Trump said on October 20 that Washington would withdraw from the INF Treaty because Russia was violating the terms of the agreement. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov described this decision as a dangerous step. Washington’s decision came under criticism from Berlin and Beijing. However London expressed support to the US’ stance and NATO placed responsibility for Trump’s decision on Russia which, it claims, may violate the treaty.

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said after a NATO ministerial meeting on December 4 that his country would stop fulfilling its liabilities under the INF Treaty unless Russia returned to "full and verifiable" compliance with it within 60 days. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on the following day that the US side had provided no evidence to prove Russia’s alleged violations of the treaty. He stressed that Russia is against dismantling this treaty but will have to react correspondingly if the United States withdraws from it.