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Putin suggests discussing US intention to withdraw from INF Treaty at meeting with Bolton

MOSCOW, October 23. /TASS/. At a meeting with US National Security Adviser John Bolton, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested exchanging opinions on strategic issues and the issues of disarmament.

"Of course, it will be very useful to exchange opinions with you on the issues of strategic stability, the issues of disarmament and on regional conflicts," the Russian president said.

"We know and we talk much about the US unilateral withdrawal from the anti-ballistic missile treaty and recently we have heard about the US intention to quit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty," he said.

"We know about the doubts in the [US] administration about the need to extend the New START Treaty and we hear about the intention to deploy some elements of the missile shield in outer space," Putin added.

Last Saturday, US President Donald Trump said that Washington would withdraw from the INF Treaty because Russia, in his opinion, was violating the terms of the agreement. At the same time, he did not rule out signing a new agreement on intermediate-range nuclear forces with Moscow and Beijing if Russia and China provide guarantees of halting the development of such weapons.

The INF Treaty was concluded in Washington on December 8, 1987 and took effect on June 1, 1988. The INF Treaty eliminated operational and non-operational medium range (1,000-5,500 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers) ground-launched missiles. The Soviet Union eliminated 1,846 missiles, and the United States, 846.

The United States accused Russia of violating the INF Treaty for the first time in July 2014. Since then, Washington has been repeating these accusations while Moscow has been categorically rejecting them. On July 8, 2017, an initiative was submitted to the US Congress to impose sanctions on Russia for violating the INF Treaty.