UNITED NATIONS, December 21. /TASS/. The United Nations General Assembly on Friday voted down a Russia-initiated resolution in support of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty).
Forty-three nations voted for the document, forty-six were against and another seventy-eight abstained.
Among those who voted against the resolution were the United States, the European Union nations, Japan, Turkey, Israel and Ukraine. The document was supported by China, member nations of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Iran, Syria and a number of Latin American countries.
The key idea of the Russian draft is that the treaty is to be supported as one of the cornerstones of European and international security. The document calls on the signatories to the treaty, i.e. Russia and the United States, to continue consultations to keep it in place.
Addressing the UN General Assembly meeting, Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dmitry Polyansky said that the INF Treaty was a major step to nuclear disarmament and is topical even today. "A threat to the treaty’s existence emerged this October when the United States announced its plans to unilaterally withdraw from it," he recalled and warned that the breakdown of the treaty is fraught with another round of a full-scale arms race.
Apart from that, he noted that Moscow never stopped trying to "figure out the essence of the United States’ claims."
Meanwhile, explaining their voting, representatives of the United States and the European Union said they don’t think this resolution can help keep the treaty in place.
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. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov described this decision as a dangerous step. Washington’s decision came under criticism from Berlin and Beijing. However London expressed support to the US’ stance and NATO placed responsibility for Trump’s decision on Russia which, it claims, may violate the treaty.
US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said after a NATO ministerial meeting 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.