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German government official rejects idea of sanctioning Russia over INF Treaty

"I do not think that economic sanctions would lead to a change in behavior in this special case," Susanne Baumann said

WASHINGTON, March 13. /TASS/. Berlin rejects the idea of imposing economic sanctions on Russia over its alleged violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the German Government’s Commissioner for Disarmament and Arms Control Susanne Baumann said on Tuesday.

"I do not think that economic sanctions would lead to a change in behavior in this special case," she said, commenting on the possibility of slapping Russia with economic sanctions over its alleged non-compliance.

"Right now NATO is considering what countermeasures will be necessary, what adaptations will be necessary. So, a process has started, it has not come to an end, and we are in discussion with the NATO allies," the German diplomat told a conference at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) in Washington.

At the same time, she confirmed that the German government shared Washington’s opinion that Russia violated the 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 had accused Russia of violating the accord, but Moscow vehemently dismissed all accusations and, in its turn, expressed grievances over Washington’s non-compliance.

On February 1, US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF starting February 2. Washington is determined to withdraw from the treaty in six months unless Russia returns to "real and verifiable" compliance.

On February 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was also suspending the agreement. He handed down instructions to refrain from initiating talks with Washington on the issue and stressed that the US needed to show willingness for an equal and substantive dialogue. Putin signed a decree suspending Moscow’s compliance with the Treaty on March 4.