RIGA, September 30. /TASS/. It was a mistake that there was no dialogue between Europe and Russia over arms reductions, French President Emmanuel Macron said at a joint news conference with Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins on Wednesday.
"The disarmament agreements were concluded between the United States and Russia and we were not even a party to them, but in the recent 15 years those agreements have been scrapped," he said. "We are no longer protected. In particular, it concerns the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty that the United States quitted. And what is instead? Nothing."
According to Macron, "It could have happened as Europe failed to build dialogue with Russia over the Europe-related disarmament issues." "It was a mistake," he believes.
"We will never resolve the issues of disarmament and protection of Europe without discussing them with Russia," Macron stressed.
The French president concluded that Europe should build its own dialogue with Moscow instead of delegating the issue to NATO.
On August 2, 2019 the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was terminated at the US initiative. Washington argued that Russia had refused to meet the US ultimatum-like demand for eliminating new generation cruise missiles 9M729, which the United States and its NATO allies see as a violation of the treaty. Moscow dismissed these charges, saying that the technical parameters of the 9M729 missile were within the INF Treaty’s permissible parameters and put forward its own counterclaims over Washington’s non-compliance, for instance, referring to the US missile defense system in Europe.
The US warned back on February 2, 2019 about its intention to quit the treaty. It said it could do so in accordance with Article 15 of the treaty unless Russia met its demands, which first and foremost included the destruction of 9M729 missiles. Moscow rejected Washington’s steps as absolutely unacceptable ultimatums.
John Bolton, who was the US national security adviser at the time, admitted later that Washington’s decision-making had been influenced also by the factor that China was not a party to the INF Treaty.
In September 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the leaders of several countries, including NATO member states, with a proposal for imposing a moratorium on the deployment of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles in Europe and other regions. The United States consequently turned this initiative down.