WASHINTON, February 2. /TASS/. Washington has already informed Moscow, in writing, about conditions for the restart of talks with Russia on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), an official from the National Security Council of the White House told TASS on Saturday.
Asked by a TASS correspondent to comment on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s words that Moscow would stay ready to talks on the INF Treaty in case the US became "mature enough," the White House official said, "We have provided Russia, in writing, specific steps it could take to return to compliance and save the INF Treaty."
"Only the complete and verifiable destruction of Russia’s 9M729 missiles, launchers, and associated equipment will resolve Russia’s violation," he added answering a question about Washington’s readiness to initiate a new dialogue on the agreement.
Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that Moscow would suspend the Cold War-era treaty. He ordered to stop attempts to initiate talks on the INF Treaty until the American partners "are not mature enough." Putin pointed out that Moscow’s proposals in that field were on the table, as before, while the doors remain open to negotiations.
Later on Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed that Washington had officially informed Moscow of suspending the INF Treaty and the start of withdrawal procedure in a notice from the US Department of State.
On February 1, 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.
History of the 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. 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. Inspection activity ended in May 2001.
In 1992, the INF Treaty became multilateral after the Soviet Union’s collapse. Along with the United States and Russia, the former Soviet republics of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine became the parties to the agreement.