WASHINGTON, February 2. /TASS/. The United States will stay ready to reconsider its withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) and still reserves the right to revoke its notice of withdrawal from the agreement within six months, an official of the US Department of State told TASS on Saturday.
TASS requested the official representative to comment on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s words that Moscow would suspend its participation in the INF Treaty following Washington’s step, but would stay ready for corresponding talks in case the United States was "mature enough."
"The United States retains the right to revoke its notice of withdrawal from the Treaty before the end of this six month period, and we would be prepared to consider doing so should Russia return to full and verifiable compliance," a US Department of State official said.
"But absent such a change in Russia’s conduct, our decision to withdraw from the Treaty will stand, and the Treaty will end," he added.
On Friday, US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that Washington would suspend its liabilities under the INF Treaty starting February 2 and would quit it within six months if Russia did not come into compliance with the agreement.
A day later, on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded in kind, saying that Moscow would suspend the Cold War-era treaty. Moreover, he told the ministers not to initiate disarmament talks with Washington, underscoring that the United States should become "mature enough" for equal and meaningful dialogue. Putin pointed out that Russia would start work on the development of new weapons in response to US similar steps. In particular, work will start on a new hypersonic ground-launched medium-range missile.
The US began accusing Russia of breaking the treaty in July 2014. Since then, Washington has been repeating its allegations on many occasions, whereas Moscow has been rejecting them and advancing counter-claims concerning the implementation of the treaty by the US.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987, entered into force on June 1, 1988. 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). By June 1991, the sides had met their obligations under the treaty, as the Soviet Union had destroyed 1,846 missiles and the United States - 846.