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Russia ready for dialogue with US if it revises its stance on INF Treaty — diplomat

On February 1, Trump and Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF Treaty

MOSCOW, February 7. /TASS/. Russia is open for a constructive dialogue with the United States if Washington revisits its destructive position on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said at a news conference on Thursday.

"Amid new threats created by Washington we will definitely take comprehensive measures to provide our own security," the high-profile diplomat said. "However, if the US revisits its destructive course and returns to commitment to the INF Treaty, Russia is open for a meaningful dialogue."

Russia expects the US to unveil its official proposals on the possibility of renewing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, he said.

"We have certainly seen the US president’s statement on the possibility of concluding a new treaty, which could be signed in a beautiful room, and the document should involve other countries as participants," Ryabkov said.

"As soon as our US colleagues are ready to hand over to us something like this in practical terms, we will certainly consider this with interest and I hope in a positive way," Ryabkov said. "So far, we haven’t seen anything except for a proposal to sign such a treaty in a beautiful room. Of course, we welcome this proposal."

The Russian Foreign Ministry sent a notification of Moscow’s suspension of the INF Treaty to the US embassy on February 4, he said. 

"In response to the US notification, we sent our notification to the US embassy on February 4," he said. "We strongly denied unfounded and non-specific allegations about our violations of the INF Treaty. We also notified the US that Russia would suspend its obligations under the Treaty until the United States returned to compliance or the Treaty terminated," Ryabkov pointed out. According to him, Moscow also stressed that "Washington did not take any steps to remedy its own violations of the Treaty."

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 applied to deployed and non-deployed ground-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers). Washington on many occasions accused Russia of violating the Treaty but Moscow strongly dismissed all accusations and expressed grievances concerning Washington’s non-compliance.

On February 1, Trump and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF Treaty starting February 2. Washington is determined to withdraw from the Treaty in six months unless Russia returns to "real and verifiable" compliance.

On February 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was also suspending the Treaty. He handed down instructions to refrain from initiating talks with Washington on the issue and stressed that the US needed to show readiness for an equal and substantive dialogue.

Russia is looking forward to receiving this detailed proposal for the agenda of these talks, he noted.