MOSCOW, August 2. /TASS/. NATO’s support for the United States’ withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty completely discredits the North Atlantic Alliance politically, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told TASS on Friday.
According to him, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg repeats such statements every two days. "I certainly agree that practice makes perfect, and we will continue to reiterate our stance so that Stoltenberg eventually understands that by following the US example in spreading misinformation, NATO is completely discrediting itself as a political organization," the senior Russian diplomat pointed out.
The US formally withdrew from the INF Treaty on August 2.
NATO released a statement earlier that "Russia today remains in violation of the INF Treaty, despite years of US and Allied engagement, including a final opportunity over six months to honor its Treaty obligations." "As a result, the United States decision to withdraw from the Treaty, a decision fully supported by NATO Allies, is now taking effect," the statement added.
INF: from inception to suspension
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, 2019, US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF starting on February 2. Washington claimed its determination to withdraw from the treaty in six months unless Russia returned 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. On July 3, the head of state signed the decree into law after it had been approved by both houses of parliament.
On August 2, the Russian Foreign Ministry officially confirmed that the operation of the Intermediate Nuclear Force Treaty has been terminated at the initiative of the United States.