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US to send note to post-Soviet republics on suspension of INF treaty obligations

The United States will send a written diplomatic note to Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine on the suspension of its obligations under the INF Treaty

WASHINGTON, February 1. /TASS/. The United States will send a written diplomatic note to Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine on the suspension of its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a member of the US administration said during a phone briefing with reporters.

The US official stated that they would notify Russia officially via a diplomatic note, in which they would inform Russian officials about their decision to apply Article 15 of the INF Treaty.

Another US official, who participated in the briefing, added that diplomatic notes would also be sent to Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

According to the member of the US administration, Russia has time to respond and to fulfill Washington’s demands to eliminate the missiles that are allegedly in its possession.

Earlier, US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the US suspends their obligations under the INF Treaty starting February 2. If the Russian Federation fails to comply with US demands within six months, the US will exit the treaty definitively.

The INF Treaty

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 accused Russia of violating the Treaty but Moscow strongly dismissed all accusations and expressed grievances concerning Washington’s non-compliance.

Pompeo said on December 4, 2018, that Washington would suspend its obligations under the Treaty unless Moscow returned to compliance within 60 days. On December 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters that Washington had not provided evidence proving Moscow’s violations of the document. He also said that Russia called for maintaining the Treaty but if the United States pulled out of it, Moscow would have to give an appropriate response.