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Russia vows response to US’ withdrawal from INF Treaty — diplomat

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that the US would suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty on February 2

MOSCOW, February 1. /TASS/. Moscow reserves the right to take measures to respond to Washington’s suspension of its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) from February 2, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.

"Moscow reserves the right to a corresponding reactions and response measures [following the US’ withdrawal from the INF Treaty]. Naturally, it will be done," she said in an interview with the 60 Minutes program on the Rossiya-1 television channel.

"As a matter of fact it is only a part of America’s general concept of breaking down and abandoning a great number of international agreements," she said. "So, it is not about Russia’s guilt of violating this treaty, it is not about China or any other factor of international security. It is about the United States’ strategy of waiving international liabilities in various spheres.".

US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said earlier on Friday that starting from February 2 Washington was suspending its liabilities under the INF Treaty and would quit it in six months if Russia fails to comply with its demands.

Situation around INF Treaty

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.

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.

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said 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.