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US categorical stance on INF remains unchanged — Russian diplomat

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov  Sergey Fadeichev/TASS
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov
© Sergey Fadeichev/TASS

GENEVA, January 15./TASS/. No progress has been reached on the INF Treaty issue after consultations of Russia and the US in Geneva due to Washington’s categorical position, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters after the talks.

"Generally, we have to state that there is no progress. The US has frozen in its position of uncompromising and categorical demands to Russia," he said. According to Ryabkov, these demands "are not substantiated by context and contain no elements of novelty that could allow us to expect rapprochement," he added.

"We believe that Russia strictly complies with the treaty, while the United States exacerbates tensions and is reluctant to listen to our arguments, Ryabkov said. "After the Geneva contacts we can see the United States’ clear intention to ruin the treaty," he stressed.

He emphasized that the responsibility for this "is fully with the US side, no matter how much the colleagues from Washington would try to ascribe to Russia actions not fitting within the terms of the treaty".

Russian-Us consultations on the INF Treaty continued more than two hours on Tuesday. The Russian delegation was led by Ryabkov, while the US delegation - by Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson.

US President Donald Trump said on October 20, 2018, that Washington would withdraw from the INF Treaty because Russia was violating the terms of the agreement.

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.