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Russian diplomat comments on Washington's INF pullout

On February 2, the United States will suspend the implementation of its obligations under the Treaty

MOSCOW, February 1. /TASS/. It is still unclear if Washington will send a formal notice of its withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) to Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Rossiya-24 TV channel.

"On February 2, the United States will suspend the implementation of obligations under the Treaty. It is a serious step, which means that Washington will in fact be free from any kind of restrictions stemming from the Treaty. However, there will be no formal withdrawal on February 2. The question is if the Americans will take the next step, sending a withdrawal notice to us," the senior Russian diplomat pointed out.

INF Treaty issue

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).

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.

On January 15, Russia and the US held inter-agency consultations on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (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. The US State Department's Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson, 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, which, according to Washington, violates the Treaty.