MOSCOW, June 18. /TASS/. Russia’s State Duma (the lower house of parliament) has passed a bill suspending the country’s compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty submitted by President Vladimir Putin. A total of 417 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill, while one abstained from voting.
According to the document, Russia is suspending its compliance with the Treaty but may resume it in accordance with the president’s decision. The document will enter into force on the day of its publication.
The Federation Council (the upper house of parliament) may consider the bill on June 26.
"We are making this decision based on the need to protect our national interests," State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin told reporters following the vote. "The United States has unilaterally suspended the Treaty, putting the entire global security system at risk," he pointed out.
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.
Putin signed a decree suspending Moscow’s compliance with the Treaty on March 4.