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Russia to discuss INF at talks with US, says diplomat

A Russian diplomat plans to voice Russia’s position on the situation around the INF Treaty at the upcoming talks with US Under Secretary of State Andrea Thompson

BEIJING, January 29./TASS/. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov intends to once again voice Russia’s position on the situation around the INF Treaty at the upcoming talks in Beijing with US Under Secretary of State Andrea Thompson.

"The situation is very alarming, there are no signs of readiness to deal with the substantive aspect of this problem, namely to discuss, among other things, proposals for mutual transparency - there are no signs of readiness for this, which, of course, is alarming, given that the deadline for the ultimatum issued by the American side expires on February 2," Ryabkov stressed.

"A meeting (with Andrea Thompson) will take place, but concrete time has not been coordinated as of today," the senior diplomat said.

"We will anyway state everything we consider necessary in the light of the developments," the diplomat said when asked whether the situation around the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty will be discussed at a meeting with Thompson.

"We have also paid attention to an interview of Ms Thompson with one of our radio stations, which inspires absolutely no optimism," Ryabkov pointed out. "Nevertheless, we will continue our focused and concrete work," he stressed.

On January 15, Russia and the US held inter-agency consultations on the INF Treaty in Geneva. Ryabkov said following the meeting that the US had not even tried to bring the positions of the parties closer, making it clear that it was determined to implement its plans to destroy the Treaty.

Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson, who led the US delegation, in turn, once again accused Russia of non-compliance with the document and said that Washington would start the process of pulling out of the INF Treaty on February 2, unless Moscow dismantled the 9M729 missile. Moscow said this was unacceptable. In the following days, Thompson made a number of strong statements, continuing to accuse Russia of non-compliance with the INF Treaty.


INF Treaty situation


The INF Treaty, signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987, took effect on June 1, 1988. It applies to deployed and non-deployed ground-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers). In the recent years, Washington has been repeatedly accusing Russia of violating the treaty. Moscow strongly dismissed the accusations and voiced its own claims concerning Washington’s non-compliance.

On October 20, 2018, US President Donald Trump said that Washington would pull out of the INF Treaty because Russia had allegedly violated it. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said it was a dangerous move. Berlin and Beijing criticized Washington, while London voiced its support for the US, and NATO laid the blame for Trump’s decision on Russia.

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said on December 4, 2018, that Washington would suspend its obligations under the Treaty unless Moscow returned to "full and verifiable" compliance within 60 days. On December 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters that Washington had not provided evidence proving Moscow’s violations of the document. He also said that Russia called for maintaining the Treaty but if the United States pulled out of it, Moscow would have to give an appropriate response.