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US intends to terminate INF Treaty, says Russia's PM

According to Dmitry Medvedev, "no one knows what will happen next"
Dmitry Medvedev  Igor Lenkin/TASS
Dmitry Medvedev
© Igor Lenkin/TASS

LUXEMBOURG, March 6. /TASS/. The US is not just suspending but terminating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a press conference following talks with his Luxembourgish counterpart Xavier Bettel.

"I just wonder is it better to bring up mutual grievances, hold discussions and find some solutions or to just terminate the Treaty? This is what the Americans did: they used a far-fetched excuse - at least Russia sees it as such - and said they were suspending the document but in fact everyone understands that they have terminated the Treaty, which was important for ensuring global security and strategic stability," the Russian prime minister noted.

"No one knows what will happen next," Medvedev went on to say. "They say we need to gather everyone together to resolve issues. But it is clearly impossible to bring countries together and make an agreement," he noted. "Furthermore, the Treaty should now involve more countries but they won’t come to the negotiating table because they are comfortable with the state of things," the Russian prime minister pointed out.

Medvedev is confident that Washington’s pullout from the INF Treaty undermines global security. According to the prime minister, the issue concerns not only Europe but the entire world because apart from deployed missiles, decision-making centers will also be targeted.

"No country should behave like this. The United States’ unilateral withdrawal has in fact undermined global security, there can be no doubt about it," he emphasized.

INF: from inception to suspension

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). Washington on many occasions had accused Russia of violating the accord, but Moscow vehemently dismissed all accusations and, in its turn, expressed grievances over Washington’s non-compliance.

On February 1, US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF 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 agreement. He handed down instructions to refrain from initiating talks with Washington on the issue and stressed that the US needed to show willingness for an equal and substantive dialogue.